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Diver plays role for postseason

As junior Olivia Harry of the Rutgers swimming and diving team enters her first Big East Championships, she sits in an established role on the Scarlet Knights’ diving squad.

Harry has made progress in her first year of diving in competition, and has become a prominent scorer with the increase in opportunities.

She took third place in the 3-meter dive Jan. 26 against Fordham and Rider and was given what senior co-caption described as ‘hero of the day’ honors.

Harry also finished third in the 3-meter event — which the Knights swept — Dec. 1 against George Washington and Old Dominion.

Upon qualifying for the Big East Championships, Harry said it was the biggest accomplishment of her life.

Now that the event is just more than a week away, it is evident what the Rumson, N.J., native has left to do

“I want to finish all of my dives,” Harry said. “I’m just excited to even be going, so whatever happens, happens — but if I finish all my dives then that will ensure that I score well.”

In the Knights’ last meet against Georgetown, Seton Hall and Villanova, Harry managed fifth place in the 1-meter event. She finished with a score of 203.35 in the 3-meter dive, just ahead of Kearney.

Head coach Phil Spiniello praised Harry for her preparation and work in her first three years to get to where she is now.

“Qualifying for this meet at the beginning of the year was a great stepping stone, but I think she wants more and that’s great,” Spiniello said.

It took two years for Harry to find her place on the boards, as she waited to see time in the pool as a swimmer during her freshman year.

Harry made the transition following her first season when the opportunity arose to contribute off of the boards.

Much of Harry’s ability to adapt can be attributed to her previous experience competing in gymnastics.

“If I didn’t have the gymnastics background, then I wouldn’t have been able to dive,” she said. “So I’m very thankful that I had gymnastics because I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. It was the reason I started swimming too because I was strong from it.”

But gymnastics does not translate smoothly to diving, and Harry faced certain challenges.

She said learning how to ride the board and jump properly was the biggest challenge she dealt with in her transition.

Gymnastics is an upper body sport, while diving utilizes the legs, and for Harry, was the most difficult adjustment.

Harry competes at the Big East Championships in Indianapolis on Feb. 27 with fellow divers Kearney, sophomore Nicole Honey and junior Nicole Scott.

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