Former Gophers diver to compete in Olympic trials

- Sarah McCrady jumped head first into the sport of diving when she was a sophomore at Eagan High School.

The gymnast-turned-diver spring boarded into serious success with the Gophers swimming and diving program. McCrady won a Big Ten Title in her senior year at the University of Minnesota and was named an All-American, but now she’s diving into a much bigger opportunity: the Olympic trials.

“I haven’t peaked and I would love to see where I can get,” McCrady said. “I wanted to see how good I could become and it just went from there.”

In two weeks, McCrady will compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team at the USA Diving trials. Preparation for the event has been many months in the making. Sarah graduated from the U of M in December 2014 and immediately started training in Indiana a few days after graduation. She’s been training with Ripfest Indiana Diving Academy for a year and a half with a six-day per week practice schedule.

“My coach always says that diving is a 90/10 sport, 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” McCrady said of her training. “We know that I have all the physical abilities to do all of these dives. It is just about getting your mental preparation there.”

It certainly takes plenty of mental prep to jump from three stories high and hit the water at an even higher speed.

“I think about 35 miles per hour,” McCrady said about the velocity when she hits the water. “I try not to think about the fact that I’m up 30 feet in the air and that I could really hurt myself. I just think about what I need to do.”

Sarah also knows that making Team USA is a task as tall as the dive platform itself. Only two of the 27 women who compete at the Olympic trials will make it to Rio, but having a chance at gold is Sarah’s ultimate goal.

“I want to prove that I could do it and taking time to pursue my dreams was worth it,” McCrady said. “It would just be amazing.”

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