MOULTRIE — Ryan Helms improved his finals score by 33 points and moved up one place from his prelims finish to take fourth in the 16-18 boys 1-meter competition on Thursday at the Speedo Junior National Diving Championships being held in Indianapolis, Ind.

Anna Aguero, Helms’ Moss Farms Diving teammate, also reached the finals on Thursday and finished 10th in the 16-18 girls 3-meter finals.

The fourth-place finish by Helms was the highest by a Diving Tiger in the first two days of the Junior Nationals, which will continue through Sunday at the Indiana University Natatorium.

Ann Perry Blank and Ali Lepech took part in the 14-15 girls platform competition on Wednesday, but did not reach the finals.

Blank finished 15th in the prelims with a 248.55. Lepech was 21sth with a 230.35.

Hannah Moore also competed in the 16-18 girls 3-meter event on Thursday, but finished 15th with a 343.95.

The top 12 finishers in the preliminary rounds advance to the finals.

Aguero finished 11th in the prelims on 3-meter with a 350.40. In the finals, she scored a 365.05.

The event was won by Abby Johnston of U.S. Elite Diving Academy with a 435.65.

Helms took first place in the 1-meter competition at the Summer East Championships, held earlier this month at the Moose Moss Aquatic Center.

In the prelims on Thursday, Helms scored a 438.95, to finish behind U.S. Elite Diving’s Landon Marzullo, Montgomery Dive Club’s Matthew Cooper, The Woodlands’ Drew Livingston and Team Orlando’s Kelly Marx.

Cooper won the 1-meter championship when he scored a 489.75 in the finals.

The Mountain West Dive Club’s Brandon Watson, just sixth in the prelims, moved up to win the silver medal with a 485.20.

Kristopher Hill of the Akron Rippers moved up from 10th in the prelims to finish third with a 476.45.

Helms was just five points back with a 471.75.

Marzullo, last year’s National champion, was fifth with a 470.70.

Aguero, Moore and Helms each will dive two more times in the Junior Nationals.

Helms will dive on the 3-meter board on Saturday and will join teammate Owen Blank in the platform event on Sunday.

Moore and Aguero will dive in the 1-meter competition on Saturday and in the platform event on Sunday.

Lepech, Kelsey Goodman and Ann Perry Blank will be back in action today when they dive in the 14-15 girls 1-meter event.

Helms, Moore, Aguero and Goodman will remain in Indianapolis to compete in the Senior National Diving Championships that begin next Wednesday.

Goodman and Lepech also will be in the field for 3-meter competition on Saturday.

Eight national champions have been crowned in the first two days of the Junior Nationals.

On Wednesday, Nick McCrory of Chapel Hill, N.C., won the boys 14-15 platform title; Haley Ishimatsu of Seal Beach, Calif., took the 14-15 girls platform; Kaylea Arnett of The Woodlands won the 13-and-under girls 3-meter; and Ross Edfort of Somerset, N.J. won the boys 1-meter.

McCrory trailed Kristian Ipsen of Clayton, Calif., with one dive remaining. But he scored a 9.0 and two 8.5s on his final dive, an inward 3 1/2 tuck, for a 437.55. Ipsen had to settle for the silver medal with a 432.65.

Ishimatsu arrived in Indianapolis from China, where she had been competing in the FINA Diving World Cup, just hours before she was to compete on Wednesday.

But she scored a 339.55 to take the gold medal over Katrina Young of Shoreline, Wash., who was second with a 313.10.

Arnett successfully defended her 3-meter championship on Wednesday and then won her second National championship of 2006 on Thursday, finishing first in the platform event.

And she did it on her final dive, overtaking Mary Dunnichay of Elwood, Ind., who led heading into the final round.

Johnston, who won the 16-18 girls 3-meter, was the silver medalist in the event last year.

Andrew Whittington of Oklahoma City, Okla., took Thursday’s other gold medal, winning the 13-and-under boys platform competition. Charlie Retter, who was the bronze on 1-meter on Wednesday, was second.

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