Hanania paces diving team with two third-place ribbons

By Brian Wiencek

While NIU’s swimming teams enjoyed the weekend off, the NIU men’s and women’s diving teams did not fare as well as coach Jeff Symons would have liked against numerous diving squads—most of which came out of the Big 10 Conference—at the Illini Classic at Champaign-Urbana on Saturday.

Senior Bryan Hanania led the way placing third in both the one- and three-meter competitions with scores of 438 and 478, respectively.

“Bryan is not only a fantastic student,” Symons said. “He’s very tough mentally, and he meets the challenge day in and day out. I think that’s what’s making him a very successful diver.”

Matt Mersman and Jen Anderson fell into the consistency game placing in the same positions in both the one- and three-meter events. Mersman finished fourth in the men’s competition, while Anderson finished seventh in the women’s competition.

“(Mersman’s) becoming very consistent,” Symons said about the Naperville native, “which is the key to becoming a great athlete.”

Despite the finish by Anderson, Symons had nothing but good words about the sophomore from Akron, Ohio. “She has come around and done a very good job competing.”

Iowa and Illinois led the barrage of competitive schools in the Illini Classic, which may have led to the demise of the NIU diving team.

“The Big 10 is probably one of the two best conferences in the country,” Symons said. “Year in and year out, it is an extremely tough conference.”