Hawkeye Diver Freeman Gets Boost From Barcelona

By Dylan Montz, Reporter

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By Grant Burkhardt

IOWA CITY, Iowa — It was the most amazing experience Deidre Freeman has had.

Having the opportunity to compete at the FINA World Aquatic Championships in July at Barcelona, Spain, gave Freeman a different perspective on her diving. Now Freeman is trying to apply the mentality she picked up in Barcelona at the AT&T National Diving Championships at the University of Iowa Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

The competition started Tuesday and ends Sunday.

“I’m so glad that I got to go with the people I got to go with,” Freeman said of her trip to Barcelona. “I’m glad (Iowa diving coach) Todd (Waikel) was able to go with me. It was just really, really fun. Competing was just a part of it, and it was a good experience for me. I think it will help my future international competitions.”

In Tuesday’s competition here, Freeman — a Grinnell native and former Iowa diver — competed in the 1-meter springboard where she placed third in the semifinal round and second to Maren Taylor in the evening finals. She competed in the same event in Barcelona, placing 11th in the world.

“I think it just made her more hungry,” Waikel said of Freeman’s international success. “I think she truly believes she cannot only be at that world stage, but she can be a contender. I think being there opened her eyes up to that. There’s a fire in her belly right now to keep just working harder than ever. We’re excited about that.”

Freeman said having the national diving championships in the Hawkeyes’ home pool is definitely an advantage. Practicing in the same pool used in the national competition in Iowa City plus the confidence she gained in her own ability while overseas makes Freeman feel very relaxed, she said.

“I have to tell myself, ‘I know how to do this dive, I know how to do it well and I’m just going to go do it,’” Freeman said. “I can’t think about specific things, otherwise I’ll focus on one thing and then I’ll try too hard and then it won’t go well. I just have a lot of positive self-talk running through my head right before I go and then just relax.”

Waikel said he and Freeman has been focusing a lot of her performance and that the confidence she added to her skill set has been “invaluable.”

“It was so great for her,” Waikel said. “That was her first time being on the world stage. She handled herself very well and I was very pleased. And she gained that experience. She’s been in front of those judges. The goal is to get out there more and be in more international meets.”

Sam Dorman won the men’s 1-meter event.

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