INDIANAPOLIS — The last time Deidre Freeman-Huff felt this good heading into a national diving competition was 2013 when she earned a spot on the World Championships Team.
Freeman-Huff, a University of Iowa All-American, enters the 2016 USA Diving Olympic Team Trials with a calm, relaxed psyche. She competes in the preliminaries of the women’s 3-meter springboard Tuesday at 9 a.m. (CT) in Indianapolis.
“I feel similar to the 2013 World Championship Trials and even better about it because I feel more prepared,” she said. “I went into that meet thinking if I dive like I normally do and kick butt, I’ll feel good about my performance.
“That’s all I am looking for is to feel good about my performance and dive like I do in practice. I have been having great practices the last couple months.”
Freeman-Huff went back to the drawing board with UI diving coach Todd Waikel after missing the World Cup Team last December. She hasn’t left a stone unturned since.
“It was good for me to miss the World Cup Team,” said Freeman-Huff. “It put my life into perspective, and I realized I don’t have just one identity as a diver.”
Freeman-Huff is married to former UI swimmer Jordan Huff. The couple will move to New York following the Trials (or Rio Olympics), as Freeman-Huff accepted a coaching position at Colgate University starting in 2016-17.
“I have something coming that’s a new chapter in my life,” said Freeman-Huff. “I have put everything into my training for this week. I feel ready to get to the Trials and do my best. I feel like I am going to do well.”
Freeman can draw upon past experiences this week in Indianapolis from her 3-meter title at the 2013 AT&T National Diving Championships to synchronized 3-meter victories at the 2013 USA Diving Winter National Championships and AT&T National Diving Championships.
“I have been in situations where I have won meets and I haven’t felt as prepared, but I let my body do it without overthinking it,” said Freeman-Huff. “The last three years I have been overthinking things, psyching myself out, and being stressed about expectations.
“I just need to let it happen.”
The women’s 3-meter champion will earn a spot on the USA Diving National Team for the 2016 Rio Olympics. There is a chance the 3-meter runner-up will also be named to the USA National Team, but the spot will first need to be approved by FINA.
“I am more concerned about how I dive than the placing,” she said. “If I place well and in the top two, I will be happy and excited, but I’ll be happy with my performance regardless, based on how I feel right now.”
Preliminaries and semifinal action of the women’s 3-meter springboard competition will be contested at 9 a.m. (CT) and 6 p.m. on June 21. The finals take place Sunday, June 26, at 3:50 p.m. NBC and NBC Sports will televise the semifinals and finals.