by Alan Babbitt
Hope College diver Brian Simonich competes for the final time in his college career this week at the NCAA Division III national championships in Greensboro, N.C.
The senior from Highland, Michigan (Milford HS) is aiming for top-eight finishes on the 1- and 3-meter board that would earn him All-America honors.
They are obtainable goals, co-head coach John Patnott said.
"If Brian has a solid 11 dives, he can be top 8 and that is his goal," Patnott said. "This is the calmest I have seen him before major competition, and he dives well when he is calm. If he continues with the attitude he has right now, he will do well."
Simonich competes in 1-meter diving on Thursday and 3-meter diving on Saturday. Each day, preliminaries are 10 a.m., while finals start at 6 p.m.
Simonich will be joined at nationals by women's swimmer Meg Peel, who will compete in the 50-yard freestyle on Wednesday, the 100 backstroke on Friday and 200 backstroke on Saturday.
This is Simonich's first trip to nationals.
"My biggest hope for Brian is that he embraces the opportunity and dives free at this meet," co-head coach Jake Taber said. "He's been close before and absolutely earned his place there. If he goes out and competes the way he is capable, I can't think of a better way for him to put an exclamation point on his career here at Hope."