It Went Too Fast

Diver Chen Ni with her NCAA trophies.

Chen Ni Caps Career With 2nd NCAA Crown

By Ric Burrous

When Chen Ni added her name to the roster of IUPUI alumni a year ago at commencement, it was a familiar feeling for the native of Qingdao, China. After all, she practically owns the women’s diving section of the Jaguars’ athletics record book.

The graduate student in the IU School of Education at IUPUI capped that career in mid-March when she captured her second NCAA individual championship, winning the women’s 10-meter platform competition, which gave the diminutive diver both of IUPUI’s NCAA crowns, and earning her third All-America honor at the same time.

In the process, she became just the fifth woman to earn multiple NCAA diving titles, and did so in comeback fashion, moving into first place on the second of her five dives in the finals. Ni held on with solid performances on the rest of her dives to add the 2012 title to the one she earned in 2010 as a sophomore.

For Ni, the title was a fitting finale to her IUPUI career. “There is the different feeling between this time andthe last,” she says. “The first time, all I could think about during the meet was to win. This time, I wanted to enjoy the competition and show the audience my best dives.”

Ni believes she was mentally stronger and more technically proficient during her second title run. That should serve her well when she tries out for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in June in what she knows “will be my last step before I am done with the sport.”

Diver Chen Ni standing by the swimming pool.

The championship came with a stark realization for her. “I have a lot of feelings for IUPUI, many wonderful memories,” she says. “It makes me a little sad that I am done with a great four years. It went too fast!”

Her academic training in the School of Education has led her in a new direction professionally. Where once she hoped to teach kindergarten-age children, she now hopes to teach at the university level. “During the past years, I found out I wanted to research elementary education even more than teach young kids in the class, because I feel I will be of more help to them,” Ni says.