Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Senior Lauren Rone ready to dive into the upcoming season.

Lauren Rone has made a huge splash for the Marshall University Swimming and Diving team. 

A senior from Aurora, Colo., Rone has secured a first-place, all-time Marshall performance record in one-meter diving, and five additional performances that were good enough for the top 20 all-time Marshall lists.  Such achievements earned her two appearances at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, once each of the past two seasons. Her 2010 performance enabled her to become only the second freshman in program history to qualify for the event.

With three years of competitive Division I experience under her belt, the diving standout will be competing her last season under the watchful eye of a new coaching staff. 

In spite of a new atmosphere that has surfaced, Rone said she and her teammates have adjusted quickly and are moving in the correct direction. 

“It was definitely a change for the better,” Rone said.  “The girls that are really serious about being here and competing are starting to step it up and realize that this is what we needed as a team to really get to where we want to be.”

Bill Tramel brings more than high expectations to Huntington, accepting the head coaching job at Marshall after devoting two decades of Division I involvement, including coaching the 2011-12 Minnesota Golden Gopher women to a Big Ten Conference title and 11th place NCAA Championships finish. 

Rone said that with Tramel joining forces with returning three-year diving coach Jim Zagaria and new assistant coach Sarah Woodbury has brought a new level of experience that the Marshall swimming and diving program has never seen before.

“The coaches are really working on building a disciplined team that’s focused on not only weight training and swimming but also working on other things like nutrition and taking care of our bodies, which is something that was never really a big focus in the past,” Rone said.  “It’s obviously been a very new challenge for us, but the girls are really rising to the occasion and proving that we’re serious and want to keep improving and be rewarded for all our hard work throughout the season.”

Last season, the Herd had its best winning season since joining Conference USA in 2004, earning seven overall wins and finishing fifth at the Conference tournament.  Rone said their most recent approach on training enables them to continue to build off last season’s successes. 

“We’re training a new way we’ve never trained before, pushing our bodies and our minds further than they have ever been pushed,” Rone said.  “This is all putting us in a great position to build a good foundation and, hopefully, that will show when we go and compete in the season.”

“After you put so much effort into your four years, it’s kind of sad knowing that it’s all coming to a close,” Rone said.  “But it’s exciting as well to think about beginning a new chapter and being able to look back on all I’ve learned and done.”

During the 2011 season Rone qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships after setting the new best score in the one-meter event, receiving a mark of 281.55 against Xavier in October.  As the fourth diver is Marshall Diving history to be a part of the zone diving championships, Rone placed 38th by a score of 196.00.  With a chance to qualify for NCAA performances for the third time within reach, Rone said she wants to have similar success in her last year representing the Herd. 

“I just want to continue to be consistent and work hard and with hopes that it will all pay off like it has been,” Rone said.  “I’d like to be at the top of the record books when I leave.”

The Herd will open its 2012-13 season by hosting the West Virginia Games Oct. 12.  With the event rapidly approaching, Rone said the thought of her final first event is a bittersweet feeling.

Fans can follow Rone and her teammates throughout the season by checking out