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- =”” class=”pagelinks”> 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
Editor’s note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Wednesday, July 29, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2015-16 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It was 13.55 points that separated University of Iowa diver Addison Boschult from earning All-America honors at the 2015 NCAA Championships, a fact he can’t let go.
Boschult thinks about that day last March often. He was comfortable, competing in his home diving well at the Campus and Recreation and Wellness Center Natatorium. Boschult got out to strong start, accumulating 290.50 points on his first three dives.
But then `what ifs’ got the best of him.
“I remember my first three dives were good, but I started thinking that I could get to the finals,” said Boschult, a senior from Omaha, Nebraska. “I wasn’t nervous, but my back 2 1/2, which I know I can nail, I was a little off.
“I let myself get too antsy. I needed to take a step back, relax, and know that I could do it like I normally would in practice.”“(After NCAAs) I had a burn in my belly because I didn’t want to be top 10, I wanted to be in the top eight and get into that final. I remember looking at the trophies (given to All-Americans) and thinking I was two places away. I feel confident, but at the same time I feel pressure to do well again. I want to do better.”UI senior Addison Boschult
Boschult finished with 161.10 points over his final three dives to place 13th in the prelims, 13.55 points behind Auburn’s Fraser McKean, the eighth place finisher. Boschult earned a spot in the consolation finals, where he moved up three places to finish 10th and garner honorable-mention All-America.
Boschult was Iowa’s first men’s diver to earn postseason accolades since Simon Chrisander in 2002.
“That was a good lesson for Addison to learn,” said UI diving coach Todd Waikel. “It’s unfortunate he had to learn it at NCAAs, but immediately after it happened, he came over to me and said, `I should be top eight.’
“He knew exactly what happened, why it happened, and the good news is, he knows how to solve that problem and has on a daily basis in practice.”
The result (or lack thereof) eats at Boschult.
“(After NCAAs) I had a burn in my belly because I didn’t want to be top 10, I wanted to be in the top eight and get into that final,” he said. “I remember looking at the trophies (given to All-Americans) and thinking I was two places away. I feel confident, but at the same time I feel pressure to do well again. I want to do better.”
Boschult took an unlikely path to the diving well. He didn’t start competing until his freshman year in high school following a 14-year gymnastics career. He wanted to participate in a sport where he could earn a varsity letter (gymnastics wasn’t a sponsored sport in Nebraska), so he followed his older sister, Dara, to the pool.
Boschult knew his gymnastics background could translate to diving, but he didn’t know how far. He ended up being a two-time All-American and four-time all-state selection at Ralston High School. He finished in the top four at the state meet all four years, winning the state title as a sophomore and senior.
Toward the end of his senior season, Boschult decided he wanted to continue diving, but didn’t know where. He went on a couple of visits to Minnesota and on an unofficial visit to Iowa — a place he was familiar with. Boschult attended gymnastics camps at the UI as a child.
Boschult reached out to the Iowa coaching staff, which at the time was without a diving coach following the retirement of Bob Rydze.
“Addison wanted to be a Hawkeye,” said UI head coach Marc Long. “He traded emails with (associate head coach) Frannie (Malone). He was a gymnast, so we were excited to get his commitment, but that was a leap of faith for Addison.”
Boschult came to the University of Iowa as a one-man diving team, literally. Boschult was the only diver on the men’s team when Waikel took over in 2012.
“When I got to Iowa City I called Addison for the first time and talked to him,” said Waikel. “I knew nothing about him. We showed up on campus together, started practicing, and I realized he was special on a couple levels.
“I thought, if he is that passionate about Iowa and our program, even though it’s almost non-existent, then I am going to pour my heart and soul into him, and that’s what I did. He and I hit it off, and I quickly realized with his gymnastics background that he was going to be special.”
The first practice Waikel sent Boschult up to the platform. But there was a problem; Boschult was a springboard diver and didn’t have any platform experience or any desire to try it.
“I was telling (Todd) that is something I didn’t want to do because it seemed terrifying,” said Boschult. “At Nebraska’s pool they have a platform and I jumped off it once, and I thought it was so high. When he told me to go up there I was nervous.”
Waikel knew it was going to be a slow process. It started with Boschult gaining a comfort of being up on the platform and jumping off. Waikel praised him for the smallest achievements and he slowly planted the seeds. It worked.
Waikel recalls two pivotal moments that have shaped Boschult’s career. The first came at the 2014 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“He was psyching himself out (before the start of the competition),” said Waikel. “I kind of verbally shook him up and said, `Listen, you are one of these athletes and you belong here.’ He stepped up and made a final; that was significant.
“The second was at last year’s NCAAs. When he got through prelims and made it as far as he did, all of a sudden he was a different person. You could see it in his walk, step, and how he believes. He knew he belonged with those other guys.”
Boschult is the school record-holder off the platform, posting a collegiate-best score of 409.20 at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships last season. He is fourth all-time off the 3-meter (368.60) and 10th off the 1-meter (325.13).
Waikel is focused on helping Boschult reach his greatest potential in his final collegiate season. They are concentrating on each specific dive. The scores and results will follow.
“If he does everything he thinks he can, I can see him doing as well if not better at NCAAs,” said Waikel. “It’s a personal goal of his to reach the final at the Olympic Trials.”
That is one goal Boschult has crossed off his list — qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials in Indianapolis. It is a feat that has lessened the pressure on the NCAA Championships because it won’t be the final meet of his career, but it doesn’t lessen his goal of being an All-American.
“(The motivation of) getting into that top eight is going to be there,” said Boschult. “I think I am going to do it.”