Cozad set for final Big Ten Championships


Senior Amy Cozad prepares to dive on Jan. 19 at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. Cozad will compete in the Women's Big Ten Championship Tournament starting with her first performance, the one meter dive, later today in Minnesota. Ethan Bennett

IU senior Amy Cozad tutors her teammates in math. She strives toward good grades. She also dives off structures 34 feet high.

As a girl growing up in Indianapolis, Cozad was first exposed to diving in middle school. Her aunt, Janet Cozad, encouraged her to join the middle school swim team.

“My aunt Janet got me into diving lessons because we made a deal that if I swam for my middle school team my whole sixth grade year, I could start taking diving lessons instead of swimming lessons at IUPUI,” Cozad said. “I was dedicated to diving even before I started doing it.”

Janet said Cozad was a good swimmer, but nothing could keep her away from the diving well.

“Sure enough, at the end of her sixth grade season, Amy came to me and said, ‘You promised,’” Janet said.

From there, Amy began diving two days a week, and about one-and-a-half years later she was diving five days a week. As a member of the Indiana Starz Diving Club, Cozad participated in Junior Olympic meets all over the country with Janet and her coach Sean McCarthy.

Due to Cozad’s small frame and overall youthful appearance, the IU assistant coach at the time did not realize she was a senior and mistook her to be a junior. He told her he hoped it wasn’t too late and that he wanted her to come visit IU.

“It was love at first sight,” Janet said.

Throughout the past four years, Cozad has contributed many points to the IU swimming and diving team.

Along with winning the consolation final on the platform at the 2011 Big Ten Championships with a Big Ten meet record score of 371.50 points, Cozad also earned Academic All-Big Ten.

At the 2012 NCAA Championships, Cozad placed third on the platform and earned All-American honors with her score of 329.35.

“Amy is a good competitor,” IU Diving Coach Jeff Huber said. “She gets better every year.”

Last year, Cozad missed the Big Ten Championships to represent the Hoosiers at the FINA Diving World Cup in London in the synchronized platform event. At the 2012 NCAA Zone Diving Championships, her second-place finish of 346.00 points in the platform competition earned her the opportunity to perform at the NCAA meet.

From competing in the 2012 USA Diving Olympic Team Trials in Federal Way, Wash., to participating in the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China, Cozad has had experience at both the national and international level.

At the Olympic Trials, Cozad missed a shot at the Olympics by a mere 20 points in the women’s 10-meter platform, placing third overall.

“Amy performs a reverse three-and-a-half in the tuck position,” Huber said. “Only a few women in the world are competing that dive.”

How does Cozad continually pull off difficult dives and experience such success with it?

“I have an album on my phone of videos of the best dives I’ve ever done,” Cozad said. “I like to watch these the night and the morning before I compete to remind myself that I have done these dives really well before, and I can do them really well again.”

At the end of the 2012-2013 season, Cozad plans on focusing her attention on a strong finish to her last semester of college.

“I’ve never gotten below a B- in college, and I’m hoping to keep it that way,” Cozad said.

First, however, championship season is in sight.

Today, Cozad will start her final Big Ten Championship meet, competing in the 1-meter dive. She also plans on diving in the 3-meter and platform competitions this weekend.

After Big Tens, she will compete in the NCAA Zone Diving Championships. If she places high enough there, Cozad will participate in the NCAA Championships in her hometown of Indianapolis.

Despite her senior season coming to an end, Janet said Huber has asked Cozad to stay and train after graduation.

As far as continuing her diving career, Cozad is looking forward to training for the World Championship Trials in May.

She said she is currently uncertain whether or not she wants to train for the 2016 Olympics.

However, Cozad said she will always be a Hoosier, and if she decides to stay and train, she knows she is more than welcome to do so.

“Huber and I have a special relationship,” Cozad said. “Coming to IU and diving for Huber was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

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