by Alan Babbitt
Brian Simonich closed his Hope College diving career with a 12th-place finish on the 3-meter board at the NCAA Division III Championships on Saturday in Greensboro, N.C.
The senior from Highland, Michigan (Milford HS) earned honorable-mention All-America honors with a score of 467.35 points.
Simonich said the key to his success was tightening his focus after Thursday's 1-meter diving where he finished 23rd.
"I felt on Thursday I didn't have enough pressure on me," Simonich said. "Today, I was a little more focused and worried about myself instead of everyone one.
"It feels good. After Thursday, I was a little nervous about what I was able to do. I had a good meet for my last time."
Simonich rose two places from preliminaries that advanced him to the consolation final.
"Brian said 'Pressure', but I think it was more determination that I'm going to do well," retiring co-head coach John Patnott said. "That really helped him get through with the final dives."
Simonich expressed gratitude for his four years diving at Hope College.
"It's a family that I've found," he said. "Diving here helped me grow as a person through the sport."
Despite just one national qualifer in each gender, Hope still finished 27th out of 50 scoring teams in the women's standings with 26 points and 41st out of 47 scoring teams in the men's standings with five points.
Simonich, along with All-America 200-yard backstroker Meg Peel, provided Patnott with an exciting and accomplished finish to a Hall of Fame career, co-head coach Jake Taber said.
"This is just about as good of a sendoff by Brian and Meg that we could have possibly wanted," Taber said. "We're excited about that. I know he's proud. This was just an awesome week."