May 16, 2013 1:21 AM
Arizona rising senior Samantha Pickens opened up competition at the USA Diving World Championship Trials with an impressive first-place finish in the 1m springboard at the Florida State University Morcom Aquatics Center on Tuesday.
With the first-place finish, Pickens qualified to represent Team USA at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, as well as the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia. Pickens scored 537.00 points to edge University of Iowa alum and Team USA member Deidre Freeman, who finished second with 532.90 points. Pickens outlasted 20 total competitors and eight finalists in the event.
Approximately 100 of the best divers in the United States will converge on Tallahassee, Fla., for the six-day meet. The top two finishers after finals in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events, platform and 3-meter and 10-meter synchronized will advance to the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, as well as the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
Pickens will also compete in the 3-meter springboard event. The prelims and semifinals of the 3m are scheduled for Friday with the finals coming on Monday. In addition, Pickens will also compete in the 3m synchronized event.
Pickens became the first Arizona female to win a national title in diving as she took home the 1m championship at the NCAAs in Indianapolis. Pickens was impressive in prelims as she was the top seed and then continued the momentum in the finals with several impressive dives. She scored 348.45 in the finals to win the 1m competition.
She is also coming off an impressive fourth place finish in the 3m at the FINA Grand Prix Canada Cup. Pickens scored 305.90 points, highlighted by 67.50 points on each of her last two dives - a reverse 2 ½ pike and a front 2 ½ with a twist - in her first senior international final. She was the highest finisher by a member of the U.S. squad.
Live results will be available at DiveMeets.com.