Indiana Daily Student

Olympic diver comes home

Reiling redshirted because of injury, late season start

After competing in the Sydney Summer Olympics in September, junior diver Sara Reiling said she is glad to be back home.\n"I want to find all my friends," she said. "I missed them."\nAlthough Reiling has been redshirted this season because of an injury and her late return to the program, she is still training for the future. Reiling said she hopes to be ready to compete in the Senior Nationals in April. Summer competition looms as a last resort.\n"I'm just trying to keep an open mind," she said. "I had surgery (on my wrist) in November, so hopefully I'll get back in shape from that."\nReiling and diving coach Jeff Huber don't seem concerned by her absence this season. In fact, Huber prefers Reiling's resting.\n"I wanted her to take as much time off as she liked, because she wants to train for the next Olympic Games," he said.\nBeing a coach at the Olympics himself, Huber is a strong advocate of training and participating in the Games. Huber said he believes Sara's experience will only help her at the collegiate level.\n"The Olympics had an extremely positive effect (on her)," he said. "(It's) such a great experience. Looking back now, there were nothing but good things."\nReiling counts international recognition as one of the most important perks of worldwide competition. Reiling said the fact that an unknown, first-time Olympian, rose from 25th place to 13th is enough to make coaches' heads turn.\n"I think that said a lot about me," she said.\nReiling said the politics involved in individual sports like diving prevent overpowering success unless meets and competition receive outstanding media coverage. \nAs she entered junior high, the Olympian had no idea she would accomplish what she has today. Diving seemed out of the question. At 12 years old, Reiling fractured her back, halting her promising gymnastics career. Her doctor encouraged her to find a new sport, so she tried diving -- something with which she had already been experimenting. She then began competition on a club team level. Nearly eight years later, Reiling saw herself on a giant screen as she prepared to dive in Sydney, with millions watching.\nReiling said she is happy to be back in classes after sitting out the fall semester.\n"It was hard being around here while everyone else was in school, and I wasn't," she said. "I missed being around everyone -- the normal college life. I enjoy the student life."\nHuber said he looks forward to her presence and said the other divers will as well.\n"The team respects and supports Sara," he said. "And Sara is good friends with everyone on the team. I think the team and Sara will have a positive effect on each other"

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