'Peg diver caps NCAA career with title

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

The big splash she made in an American pool is full of ironies.

Winnipeg's Kristin Davies became North Carolina State's first diver to ever win a championship at the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, last weekend and the Canadian became an All-American as a result.

Davies scored a 339.65 in the platform dive to win the trophy despite the fact she is on a full scholarship at a school that does not even have a diving platform.

"So I have to drive to Duke, which is about a half-hour away, twice a week to use their platform," Davies said from Raleigh, N.C., where she was still basking in the glow of victory yesterday. "Once a week, I am there by myself but it is nice of Duke to let us use its platform."

Since her victory, Davies has heard from all kinds of people, including some she had lost touch with back home.

"It's been awesome," she said. "Right after I won, a wrestler (Darrion Caldwell) from our school won an individual title, too. So, we've been together for TV interviews and other interviews and all sorts of people have been calling to talk to me. It's been a lot of fun ... It's crazy."

Davies, who missed one dive, finished 13th at last year's championship.

"I knew I was capable of doing it," said Davies, 22. "It was just a matter of doing all five dives well. I'd been practising my dives for a long time and I felt confident. I had fun and didn't hold anything back.

"I was just happy that I made it to the finals. But it was my first time on the podium and that was a great way to end my career."

NO FUNDING

Ironically, Davies had failed to qualify for Canada's diving team in February when she was suffering from a flu bug and has decided that it would be too costly to devote another year to try to get to the Olympic trials.

"Not being on the national team, there would be no funding for me," said the former member of the Pan Am Diving Club. "It would take another year for me to prove that I could make the team and make a run for the Olympics. But I feel it's time to be done and get on with my life."

The psychology major plans to take a year off and travel to Europe before attending grad school to possibly become a sports psychologist.

"It's a great way for her to go out," said her diving coach, Jenny Keim Johansen. "The sport is pretty demanding on your body and a lot of divers retire when they end their collegiate careers."

NIGHT TO REMEMBER

But it was a night to remember for both Davies and the diving program.

"All of the pieces fell in place and Kristin deserved everything she got," Johansen said. "She worked hard all year long and this was absolutely her best performance of the season. She did an incredible job in winning the national championship and it's something that she will remember for the rest of her life."

So will the athletic department.

"This is a huge accomplishment for Kristin, Wolfpack swimming and diving, and NC State athletics as a whole," said head swimming and diving coach Brooks Teal. "We are so proud of her. She definitely rose to the highest level at the right time, and this is a testimony to her hard work and perseverance."


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