Ricky Bradley is definitely carrying his weight for the Texas Christian University men’s swimming and diving team.
Bradley, a former standout diver at Case High School, has emerged as TCU’s best all-around diver. Bradley, a sophomore, has already won four events this season, including a sweep of the 1- and 3-meter competition at the Florida International Winter Invitational at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“Last year, when he came here, we started increasing his degree of difficulty; he was just learning those dives,” longtime TCU diving coach Wayne Chester said. “This year, he’s more into perfecting them.
“He’s really gotten better.”
Bradley contends one of the primary reasons he has taken his diving to another level is because he’s gotten stronger.
Bradley acknowledges he wasn’t a candidate for the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine when he arrived on the Fort Worth, Texas, campus just over a year ago.
But thanks for a rigorous weight lifting program, Bradley has toned and strengthened his body.
“Over the summer, I did more lifting than diving,” said Bradley, who carries a 3.4 grade-point average as a finance major. “I gained 15 pounds and now weigh 170 pounds.
“The new strength has really helped me. That’s been huge.”
The 6-foot Bradley certainly came up big at the FIU Winter Invite.
His performances earned him Big 12 Conference Diver of the Week honors. More importantly, his personal-best score of 309.67 on the 1-meter qualified him for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships next month in Houston.
The top divers from that competition advance to the NCAA Championships. Both Bradley and Chester concede qualifying for the NCAA Championships may be out of Bradley’s reach this year, but Chester believes Bradley has the potential to compete in the sport’s prized meet.
“I think he could do that by his junior year,” said Chester, who won the NCAA Championship 1-meter competition in 1978 while competing for Alabama. “He should be able to compete with those guys. I think his NCAA Zone qualifying puts him in a different category now. It has built up his confidence; his diving has stepped up a notch.
“I think Ricky has a good chance of qualifying for the championships next year.”
Bradley hopes that happens but, for now, he just wants to show continual improvement.
“I’m happy with my scores,” said Bradley, whose high score in 3-meter diving this season is 312, or 20 points better than last season’s top score. “That (qualifying for the NCAA Zone meet) was one of my goals this year and I did it.
“I would love to go to the NCAA. If I can keep improving and put dives together, I think I have a chance.”
* Rachel Margis (Park) is making a big splash in her freshman season on the UW-Milwaukee women’s swimming & diving team. Margis swept the 1- and
3-meter diving events Saturday in the Panthers’ 180-116 victory over the University of Chicago at the Myers-McLoraine Pool in Chicago.
Margis scored a career-best 265.45 to win the 1-meter diving competition, an NCAA Zone score that automatically qualifies her for the postseason. In the 3-meter competition, Margis scored 261.90 to win.
After taking 12th in the 3-meter diving competition (258.50) at the Iowa Hawkeye Invitational Dec. 1-2, Margis was honored as the Horizon League women’s diver of the week. Margis also was the top Panther in 1-meter diving with a score of 222.95 at the Hawkeye Invitational.
Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Tim Demuth (Racine Lutheran) is en fuego.
Demuth, a senior guard, recently recorded two 30-point plus games. In a game against Beloit at Beloit Jan. 7, he scored a career-high 36 points. Demuth played the entire game and went 11 of 23 from the field, including 9 of 19 from 3-point range in the Warriors’ 80-73 loss.
Demuth followed with a 33-point outing last Saturday against Marian. He totaled 24 in the second half.
Demuth is Wisconsin Lutheran College’s leading scorer, averaging 15.6 points a game. The Warriors are 7-11 overall, 4-5 in the Northern Athletics Conference.
* There are six Racine student-athletes playing NCAA Division I basketball, including five at schools in Wisconsin. With the college basketball season near its midway point, here are updates on those players:
Jamil Wilson, Marquette, junior, forward — The former Horlick High School star is the team’s fourth-leading scorer at 8.8 points a game, is first in blocked shots with 14, first in 3-point field-goal percentage (.385) and is tied with Trent Lockett for second in rebounds at 4.9. Marquette is 13-4 overall, 4-1 in the Big East Conference.
Jake Thomas, Marquette, junior, guard — The former St. Catherine’s High School standout has connected on 32 percent of his field-goal attempts. He has played in 15 games off the bench and is averaging 2.5 points and 12.1 minutes.
Quinton Gustavson, UW-Milwaukee, junior, forward — The Case High graduate has appeared in five games and averaging 1 point.
James Haarsma, UW-Milwaukee, senior, forward — The 6-foot-7 Haarsma (St. Catherine’s) has the distinction of being the only Panther to start all 19 games this season. Haarsma is shooting .339 from the field and is hitting .130 percent on 3s. He is the team’s fourth-leading scorer at 7 points a game and leading rebounder at 5.4 boards a game. UW-Milwaukee is 5-14 overall, 1-4 in the Horizon League.
Jordan Fouse, UW-Green Bay, freshman, forward — From game one this season, Fouse has been in the starting lineup for the Phoenix. In 19 games, the 6-6 Fouse is averaging 5.9 points and 5.9 rebounds, which is the second-highest on the team. Fouse is also averaging 26.3 minutes, third-highest on the team. The Phoenix are 10-9 overall, 4-2 in the Horizon League.
Antwon Oliver, Campbell (N.C.), junior, forward — The 6-6 Oliver is starting to round back into shape after dealing with some injuries, including a pulled hamstring. The ex-Horlick standout has played in 17 of the Fighting Camel’s 19 games, averaging 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds and 11.9 minutes. His nine blocks are second on the team. Campbell is 9-10 overall and tied for first place in the Big South Conference North Division with a 4-1 record.