Kuhn leaving her own standard at Illinois

Kuhn leaving her own standard at Illinois

Ling Kuhn dives at 11:15 a.m. today at the NCAA championships in Austin, Texas. The N-G caught up with the first Illini diver to represent the program at the NCAA meet since 1992

When did you start platform diving?

I started diving platform when I was about 9 years old. I love it because it's an event a lot of people tend to steer away from. It requires you to have confidence and be fearless to jump off a 10-meter tower. Anyone can jump off a diving board at a public pool, but not many people can say they can do 3 1 / 2 flips off of a three-story building.

How did you overcome any initial fears of platform diving?

I once had a practice last year where I didn't do a new dive off of 10 meters, and (my assistant coach) asked me 'Do I want to be scared or be good?' From then on, that's what I've told myself every time I get scared up there. If you're just starting a career in diving, my advice to you would be to just go for it. Life's too short to not do something you're scared of. Diving can be scary at times, but the worst that can happen is you smack. Trust me, I've done my fair share of smacking, and I'm glad I kept going.

What does it mean to you to become the first Illinois diver since 1992 to represent the program at the NCAA championships?

This means a lot to me because my goal when finishing up my career at Illinois was to know I'm leaving this program by helping this program get better. What success at the NCAAs looks like to me is putting a full list together that is consistent. As long as I focus on what I need to do, the results should follow. At this point, I've worked so hard to get to the NCAAs, I just really want to enjoy my last five dives as an Illini.