April 2017

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105 C alli Head knew one chapter of her life was about to end when she headed to Indianapolis for the 2017 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. e platform competition would not only be Head's final meet as a collegiate diver for the University of Iowa, but it was going to be her last hoorah all together. "It was hard not to think that this is my last meet ever," said Head, a senior from Fox Point, Wisconsin. "You've worked your entire life (in this sport) and now it's coming down to one last meet. "Fortunately, I was able to focus on the moment and on the meet. Coach (Todd) Waikel was consistently reminding me to enjoy it and live in the moment. I think that helped a lot because I wasn't putting unnecessary pressure on myself." Instead, Head enjoyed the process. She took in her surroundings and performed. Midway through the preliminaries, Head caught herself peaking at the standings on scoreboard and her mind dried. "Aer my third dive, I saw I was up there in the standings," said Head. "I thought to myself, 'Wow, if I hit my next two dives, I know that I can make top eight.' I had that feeling that happens sometimes when you're in the zone, you're feeling confident and everything was going the right way." Aer finishing 40th at the NCAA Championships as a sophomore and 31st as a junior, Head skyrocketed up the standings into fih place with a preliminary score of 289.30 points. e performance guaranteed Head an "A" final appearance and All-America honors. "Learning that I made the top eight at NCAAs was probably the happiest diving moment I have ever had," said Head, who is Iowa's first All- American off the platform since Laura Maldonado in 1999. "It felt like all of the work I had done came together. Making that top eight was a goal, but one I knew was going to be a real challenge to accomplish." "She just let it happen instead of trying to force it to happen," said Waikel. "She did a great job of doing what she does every day in practice: enjoying it, and living in the moment." Head's final diving list as a collegiate was a different experience. She competed alongside friends and finished sixth in the finals with a five- dive total of 280.45 points. "Seven of the eight women in the "A" final were from the Big Ten Conference," said Head. "It was cool to finish in that setting and competing with people I dove with throughout my career; they were people who are good friends." e entire experience turned into a storybook finish. "I have been diving my whole life," said Head. "I couldn't have asked for a better meet to end on." Head was one of two Hawkeye first-team All- Americans, joining Emma Sougstad, who earned the distinction in the 100-yard breaststroke. Iowa finished 26th at the NCAA Championships with 26 points.

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