Cavalier Corner

December 2018

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24 CAVALIER CORNER BY MIKE SCANDURA P RIOR TO THE NAVY DIVING Invite Nov. 15‑17 in Annapolis, Md., Virginia head diving coach Drew Livingston was asked if third‑year Sydney Dusel might surpass her already noteworthy accomplishments before graduation. "Absolutely," Livingston said. "Not to put the carriage in front of the horse, but Sydney's going to surprise a lot of people on a very large scale this year. "In doing that, she's going to leave UVA feeling good about what she's done." At the Navy Diving Invite, Dusel broke her own school record when she placed first on the 1‑meter board (335 points). She also won the platform diving (248.9 points). She has al‑ ready been named the ACC Diver of the Week twice in the first seven chances of the season. "I thought I was capable of accomplish‑ ing it, but I was surprised I got it twice in a few weeks," said Dusel, who was a two‑ time Illinois state champion and a prep All‑ American at Naperville Central. Even though this is Livingston's first sea‑ son as diving coach, he knew why head coach Todd DeSorbo and his staff recruited Dusel. "I think the biggest factor for her was that she felt at home here more so than any other place she went to," Livingston explained. "That tells you she's a team player more than anything else. On top of that, if you watch her recruiting film she had a lot of potential coming in and had room to grow. "She has a high ceiling and really wanted to be part of our swimming and diving team, which made her a perfect fit for our program." Earlier this season, Dusel won the 3‑meter board (319.55, 0.23 points off her school record set in 2017) at the SMU Classic Oct. 12‑13. Combined with her second‑place finish on the 1‑meter board, she tied Miami's Alicia Bragg as the diving point total winner at the event. She also captured the 1‑meter and 3‑meter boards (the latter with a career‑ best score of 342.30) against Louisville. Moreover, last season, she advanced to the NCAA Championships in all three dives after she placed third in the 1‑meter and 3‑meter competitions at the NCAA Zone A Champi‑ onships. At the NCAA Championships, she placed among the top 36 in all three events, led by a 21st‑place showing in the 3‑meter. Dusel was effusive when it came to why she wanted to enroll at Virginia. "I think the biggest thing was the team dy‑ namics," she said. "The swimmers and divers were like one team. My two priorities were ac‑ ademics and diving. I wanted to find a school that would enable me to balance both of those. "I saw UVA was the ACC champion nine years in a row and that was something I wanted to be a part of. Plus, here we're all one team and one family." That Dusel was concerned about academ‑ ics is underscored by the fact that twice already she has been named to the CSCAA Scholar All‑American Team and the ACC Academic Honor Roll. "My major is the McIntire School of Commerce," she said. "I'm looking to con‑ centrate in marketing and information tech‑ nology with a track in data analytics. I think the biggest thing is time management. When you apply to the business school, it's impor‑ tant to have good grades. I try to do my best on each test. You have to build up your GPA each year, and I have to utilize my tutors." Although Dusel participates in three events, Livingston knows which dive is her best. "It's the 3‑meter, hands down," the coach said. "That was the one event where she didn't have the most confidence at the be‑ ginning of the year, but she's gone 100 per‑ cent at making that her best event." Dusel was quick to credit Livingston with helping her improve her technique. "What I think Drew is good at is focusing on the little things and bad things I've got‑ ten into," she said. "He's good at looking at the small things. One example is my head position in my dive. He saw I got in a bad habit and that's a big part of why my dives are going as well as they're going. "He's really good at overcoming hurdles leading up to your dives. He spends a lot of time trying to perfect each dive such as your approach before you take off." Despite her accomplishments, Livings‑ ton is convinced Dusel has yet to reach her potential. "She found herself in a really good spot last year in that she was on the fringe of be‑ ing in the top 16, which gets you All‑Amer‑ ica honors," he said. "She got to that level but didn't perform as well as she wanted to. "She had one or two meets last year where that quality came out. But it's tough to make it happen on the most important stage. I've found the best divers have a short memory when they fail. "You have to be able pat yourself on the back when you do well and you need confi‑ dence every time you step on the board. She has every one of those traits." Dusel has one specific goal before she graduates. "I want to score a lot of points in the NCAAs because I've never scored there before," she said. "I'm hoping I can get top eight at the NCAAs and be happy with every dive that I do." STEADY IMPROVEMENT Sydney Dusel Experienced Plenty Of Success Last Year, But Is Still Striving To Reach Her Full Potential "I've found the best divers have a short memory when they fail. You have to be able pat yourself on the back when you do well and you need confidence every time you step on the board. She has every one of those traits." HEAD DIVING COACH DREW LIVINGSTON ON DUSEL Dusel qualified for the NCAA Championships in all three dives last year, finishing 21st in the 3-meter, 24th in the platform and 36th in the 1-meter. PHOTO COURTESY UVA

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