INDIANAPOLIS – Junior diver Briadam Herrera picked up the third All-America honor of his career Thursday night with a fifth-place finish in the 1-meter springboard at the 2017 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
Herrera, who was an All-American in both the 1-meter and 3-meter at last year’s NCAA Championships in Atlanta, was seeded first after the morning’s preliminary round, where he delivered a dazzling score of 424.20.
He earned one of just eight coveted spots in the final to clinch the All-America recognition with a dominant early showing.
"This is the best he's ever dived. He's at the top of his game," head coach Randy Ableman said.
Competing in a loaded final round that included 2016 Olympic silver medalist Steele Johnson, the Havana, Cuba native matched last year’s fifth-place finish by ending the night’s final round with 405.90 points at the IU Natatorium.
His high-scoring dive in the final came on a forward 3.5 somersault pike where he earned 82.50 points.
"He started out the final in first place and the first two dives looking great, feeling it," Ableman said. "On his third dive, he tipped his toe on the board and that's why he had the bad score. If it had been an inch further out, he might have been the national champion. That's how close it came."
Thursday’s performance marked another impressive showing in the budding career of Herrera, a four-time ACC gold medalist who nearly qualified for last year’s Olympics.
"It's a very tough field. The last three defending NCAA champions were all in the field, and Briadam was the class of the field. He's a warrior," Ableman said.
Herrera, who will also compete in Friday’s 3-meter springboard, is one of two Hurricanes competing this week in Indianapolis; redshirt freshman David Dinsmore will be competing in the platform even on Saturday.
Ableman said that is Thursday's performance is any indication, Friday's 3-meter also could be special for his standout on the boards.
"He came back on his next three dives, he didn't give up and he fought back," Ableman said. "He's a warrior...that'll be fuel for the fire tomorrow for the 3-meter. Hopefully we'll make the final, and everyone starts at zero in the final."