One might assume senior Mark Anderson closes his eyes while he dives into the water below. After all, he can practically do the meticulous routines in his sleep.
But his familiarity with what it takes to perform a successful dive didn’t come to him overnight; rather, the elegance of his moves is a testament to dedication and experience. He displayed that hard work and diligence at the Texas Diving Invitational on Thursday.
The three-time All-American and two-time reigning Big 12 Diver of the Year dominated throughout the six trials of Thursday’s one-meter final event with 443.85 points. Anderson came prepared with tricks up his sleeve and showed it with his last dive of the day: an inward, two-and-a-half somersault in the tuck position that rang up his highest score of 82.15 points.
“I didn’t want to think about the final place; I wanted to dive how I had been training,” Anderson said. “I wanted to keep it in perspective and not think too far ahead. I was thinking about my hurdle and how I wanted to try to get my arms up sooner and step down harder. Once I did that, the hurdles came together.”
Anderson’s success on Thursday came as no surprise to burnt orange fans. He entered the meet as the men’s Big 12 Diver of the Week after sweeping the two diving events during Texas’ recent battle against North Carolina State.
Behind Anderson, Texas’ dynamic freshman trio also competed in the final round of the day. Grayson Campbell tallied 377.35 points to edge out Arizona State’s junior David Hoffer for second place, while Jacob Cornish and Reed Merritt grabbed the No. 4 and No. 7 slots, respectively.
“It’s a great opportunity to have an invite this close to the U.S. Nationals, which is a real important event for us,” head coach Matt Scoggin said. “It’s a great dress rehearsal opportunity to dive against some of the best divers in the country.”
The Longhorns look to continue their success at the Texas Diving Invitational in Friday’s three-meter championship and Saturday’s platform event.