Saara Haapanen to Compete in FINA/USA Diving Grand Prix

May 9, 2007


Cowgirl diver Saara Haapanen, who recently concluded a storied career at the University of Wyoming, will compete in the 2007 FINA/USA Diving Grand Prix this weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Haapanen, a native of Thunder Bay, Ontario has dual citizenship in both Canada and Finland and will compete for the Finland National Team.

"This is just another great opportunity for Saara to continue her diving career," said UW diving coach Ben Herdt. "Like I have said before, anytime you get to continue competing after college in the sport of diving, you are doing something very special. This meet gives Saara the opportunity to prepare herself for future international diving competitions and to reach a goal of possibly competing in a World Championship meet or even the Olympics in the future."

Haapanen's career at Wyoming was highlighted by winning the Mountain West Conference one-meter championship this past February and becoming the first Cowgirl to claim an individual MWC Championship in the pool. She was a four-time First Team All-MWC diver, ranks in the top-four of the all-time UW record book in every diving event, qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships every year of her career and was a three-time Academic All-MWC selection.

This weekend will mark the second time Haapanen has competed in an international diving competition. This past January, she placed ninth in the one-meter competition and 11th in three-meter at the Canadian Senior National Championships.

Haapanen will graduate from the University of Wyoming this summer with a degree in kinesiology and health promotions and will attend graduate school in Finland, where she will continue diving next fall.

The FINA/USA Diving Grand Prix will run from Thursday, May 10 through Sunday, May 13 at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex. Haapanen will compete in the three-meter springboard event which is scheduled to begin on Friday with preliminary and semifinal competition and conclude on Sunday with the finals. Each participating country is allowed to send only two competitors to the meet.