LOS ANGELES, Calif. – UCLA junior Annika Lenz took the platform in a commanding fashion on Sunday afternoon, winning the event by 90 points. With the win, the Bruins completed the sweep at the Bruin Diving Invitational as sophomore Maria Polyakova won the springboard events on Friday and Saturday.
Lenz posted a 321.95 in the platform final on Sunday, just shy of the UCLA record (323.15), which she set at the Pac-12 Championships last season.
“It felt really good to win today because I knew that my performance at our last meet was not what I was capable of doing,” said Lenz of her win. “Just proving to myself that I could do it was really great. You have to stay positive and not think about what score you want. I did that this weekend. I focused on the things I needed to do to make the dive good, which helped me relax and have fun.”
Lenz topped cross-town foe Madison Witt of USC. The last time the two met on the tower was at the Trojan Diving Invitational, where Witt posted the top mark.
“I try not to think about other people when I’m diving because I can’t control them,” Lenz said of the competition. “But when others are doing well, that pushes me to do better.”
“It was exciting to watch Anni today,” said UCLA head coach Tom Stebbins of Lenz’s dominant performance. “I always believe that she has that in her at every moment. There are moments for her, internally, where her confidence waivers and she can become doubtful of her own skill set. But I think today she didn’t allow that. She was in control and was enjoying the process of competing.”
Freshman Éloïse Bélanger finished third behind Lenz and Witt with a 499.95 overall score. The Bruin newcomer made a strong showing this weekend with three top-five finishes – Bélanger also finished second behind Polyakova in both springboard events.
“Elo has this natural level of confidence that I really appreciate and enjoy working with,” said Stebbins. “As we progress through the season and get further along, I’m really looking forward to seeing her come together and really be at her best when we need her to be. I’ll think she’ll do that come March.”
Rounding out the top five, senior Montana Monahan posted a final score of 479.85. After recording a 234.55 in prelims, Monahan improved her score to 245.30 in the final.
The Bruins are back in action Jan. 29 when they host Stanford at Spieker Aquatics Center for their Breast Cancer Awareness Meet. The meet will be televised on Pac-12 Networks. Diving will begin at 1:00 p.m. PST, with swimming to follow at 2:00 p.m. PST.