Usually choosing a college is one of the toughest choices for an athlete to make, but the decision to come to IU was an easy one for sophomore diver Cassandra Cardinell. \nCardinell, a native of Shaker High School in Loudonville, N.Y., came to Bloomington for the U.S. Diving Junior Nationals in the spring of her junior year and became very fond of the campus and Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center.\n"I loved the campus, the facility and (head coach Dr. Jeff Huber)," Cardinell said. "I kind of knew then that I wanted to go here. The only other college I was kind of serious about was Michigan, but I basically knew I wanted to come to IU so I wasn't really serious about looking anywhere else."\nJunior teammate Mamie Goodson said Cardinell is an asset to the IU squad and she always brings a positive attitude to the pool.\n"We worked together a lot this summer and she is really fun," Goodson said. "She is pretty bubbly. She always comes to the pool with a smile and you can always count on her to have a good attitude."\nAlthough she didn't start diving until the summer before her eighth grade year, Cardinell quickly took a liking to the sport. She became a state champion in her junior year and was a high-school All-American.\nCardinell credits her improvement and enjoyment for diving to her club team coach, Maria Coomaraswamy.\n"I think of (Coomaraswamy) as my biggest influence because she taught me how to enjoy the sport," Cardinell said. "When I first started I always took it so seriously, but she taught me how to have fun with it and that you have to have fun if you want to be good."\nAs a Hoosier, Cardinell has already racked up several impressive achievements. She placed fifth on one-meter and ninth on platform at last year's Big Ten Championships. She also finished sixth on one-meter and fifth on platform at NCAA Zone Diving Championships last season. Cardinell placed eighth on the platform at the U.S. Diving Outdoor Nationals and finished third in the synchronized platform competition with senior teammate Erin Quinn.\nCardinell is hoping for more success in her second season.\n"My goals are to make NCAA's and win Big Ten's (in any event)," she said. "I would also like to make finals at World Trials in April."\nGoodson respects Cardinell, especially for her ability on the platform.\n"I admire her because she didn't have a lot of tower experience before she came here," Goodson said. "Jeff (Huber) threw her up on tower her freshman year and she stepped up. She is throwing dives that a lot of guys across the country are throwing. I admire her for stepping up to that challenge and for her hard work up there."\nHuber said he has been very pleased with Cardinell's improvements thus far this season.\n"The speed of her improvement has been nice to see," Huber said. "She has really improved quite a bit."\nWhile Huber has high expectations for his sophomore phenom, he believes that Cardinell will first have to get used to seeing herself in the spotlight.\n"Being kind of a newcomer to the sport, I think part of what she will need to work on is getting used to seeing herself as one of the top divers in the United States," Huber said. "If she can see that and not let that distract her from her training and from getting better, I think she has all the tools to be a national champion"
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