University of Pittsburgh diver Krista Jones feels as if she’s gradually improved as her sophomore season has gone on.
In a matter of days, the Greenwood graduate will be given the opportunity to prove it.
Jones, who has emerged as the Panthers’ top female platform diver, seeks a top-10 finish at the upcoming Atlantic Coast Conference Championships scheduled to start Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C.
Coming off a 26th-place ACC finish in the 10-meter platform as a freshman, Jones feels she’s better prepared this time around.
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“With diving, it’s more about the small details,” she said. “In scoring it looks like I’m doing about as well as last year, but I do feel as if I’m getting better.”
In the majority of college meets, divers only compete in the 1- and 3-meter springboard events. The ACC and other large meets usually include platform diving competition.
Since Pitt has a platform structure as part of its facility, Jones is able to work daily on her specialty.
Platform divers can choose from heights of 5, 7 and 10 meters. At the ACC meet, Jones is expected to perform her two main dives — a back two-and-a-half somersault with a half-twist and a back armstand double somersault with a half-twist.
In Pitt’s most recent competition, the Western PA Invitational, Jones placed second in the 3-meter springboard and fourth in the 1-meter springboard.
A gymnast from age 4 through elementary school, Jones switched to diving in middle school and first made a name for herself with an 18th-place finish at the state meet as a Greenwood sophomore. She improved her standing as a junior (10th) and again as a senior (fifth).
Clemson, Florida Gulf Coast and Arkansas were among the other colleges vying for Jones’ services before she signed with the Panthers.
“When I came here for my visit, everyone on the team was very welcoming. It felt like home,” Jones said. “There’s a lot to do in Pittsburgh outside of diving. There’s always something going on, and I like that.”
First-year Pitt diving coach Katie Hazelton can’t help but be impressed with the season Jones is having.
“The biggest thing for platform diving is that it’s really scary,” Hazelton said. “It takes a very specific kind of athlete, and Krista is brave. She’s definitely increased the degree of difficulty in her dives.
“Krista is one of my hardest-working divers. We’ve been working really hard on her entry into the water and her consistency. For us, the biggest thing is that Krista scores points at the ACC meet. The top 24 score points, and I believe she can finish in the top 16.”
Name: Krista Jones
Family: Parents Bob and Bela; sister Ushma, 30
High school: Greenwood (2016)