It never gets old.
St. Ambrose divers Andrea Adam and Taylor Madison finished in the top two spots Friday in 3-meter competition at the NAIA Swimming and Diving Championships in Columbus, Georgia.
It’s the same positions they took Thursday in 1-meter competition and identical finishes to what they accomplished a year ago.
"It’s never perfect, there is always some way to improve, but to come out and win a national championship, it’s what you work for," said Adam, now a four-time national champion for the Fighting Bees’ second-year program.
"Taylor and I, we push each other every day to be at our best in these moments. It’s all about the preparation and then coming out and getting it done when it’s time."
The field of diving competitors was limited at this year’s national meet, but the two St. Ambrose sophomores find themselves competing to a degree against each other but also against perfection.
"The past two years, we’ve worked to get better and you set goals to raise your score from prelims to finals, that type of thing," said Madison, a former Rock Island prep who is now a four-time national runner-up. "For me, I wanted to get a score of over 200 in the finals and just barely, I was able to do that tonight."
Adam, an Iowa City Regina graduate, finished with a 222.0 score in the 3-meter event while Madison improved from a 174.3 in the preliminaries to post a 202.9 in Friday’s championship session.
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"We feed off each other. We might be doing the same dive in competition, but Andrea’s lead-up might include something I’m doing in my competition dive and if I see her do it well then, I want to do it as well or better than she does," Madison said.
The two divers have contributed 74 team points to the Fighting Bees’ effort at the NAIA Championships, where competition continues today.
Adam contributed to that score in a swimming event as well, earning all-American honors Thursday as part of a 200-yard freestyle relay which finished eighth.
"It’s been a busy couple of days, but to finish in the top eight in our relay, that was pretty awesome," said Adam, who also competed in the 50 freestyle.
Adam and Madison were the only competitors to add to the St. Ambrose team total in women’s competition Friday, but the Fighting Bees men’s team picked up points in three events.
Junior Kevin Krupitzer took 10th place in the 100 breaststroke, finishing in a time of 57.15 seconds.
He also teamed with three freshmen, Quincy Walker, Carmelo Patti and Reece Powell, on a 200 medley relay which finished 12th in a school-record time of 1 minute, 35.11 seconds.
The Bees picked up their other points in 400 IM where sophomore Nathan Kuszynski, who earned all-American honors Thursday in the 500 freestyle, took 14th place Friday in a time of 4:08.59.