In her first NCAA championship meet, freshman Abby Johnston performed like a veteran, and she earned All-American recognition for her performance.
Johnston registered a score of 361.80, good for fifth place in the nation, in the 3-meter springboard competition over the weekend. The eventual winner, Indiana senior Christina Loukas, scored a 437.75 on the day. Loukas competed in the Beijing Olympics over the summer and finished ninth.
Johnston earned a berth in the NCAA Championships because of her strong display at the Zone B championship meet last month. She won that competition, giving her the ACC individual 3-meter title and the opportunity to dive against the best in the country in College Station, Texas last weekend.
Her coach, Drew Johansen, expressed pride in his young talent.
"Abby dove great all day-each of her dives was better than the one before," said Johansen, who also coached Johnston in club competition during high school. "She was actually in the hunt there in the top three spots for a while and got a taste of what it was like to be in that kind of fight in NCAA competition. She responded great."
Johnston was in seventh place after the preliminary round, but fought her way into fifth in the afternoon session by scoring 325.85. The top eight finishers earned All-American distinction.
"It was exciting being here and taking in the great atmosphere," Johnston said. "There were lots of people in the stands, people cheering you on. I've never experienced anything like it, and it helped me because I didn't have any expectations going in."