A year after the legendary Jeff Huber retired from Indiana and Drew Johansen took over, the Indiana diving program is, shall we say, at a low spot by their relatively lofty standards.
But with Johansen having coached two members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic diving team in his previous stop at Duke, it was only a matter of time and recruiting before the Hoosiers turned that around, and that recruiting took a turn on Wednesday with the signing of a big-name diver out of Australia.
18-year old James Connor from Australia agreed to become a Hoosier in the fall. Connor dove at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, as well as having become a regular on the FINA Diving Grand Prix circuit.
“James is an absolute blue chip recruit that we are excited to add to an already great freshman class for next year,” Johansen said. “I believe the 2014-15 class is one of the best recruiting classes in the country.”
Connor’s specialty is the platform, where in 2011 he won the Australian National Championship with Ethan Warren and was 3rd in the individual springboard event.
He competed individually at the 2012 Olympics as Australia’s second qualifier behind Matthew Mitcham and took 20th. While that didn’t get him out of the preliminary rounds, it still gives him the potential for an immediate top 3 finish at NCAA’s on the platform.
He’s also a very good 3-meter diver, and should score on all three disciplines as a freshman. That’s big, as he’ll immediately replace the 16 points that Indiana scored in diving at last year’s NCAA Championship meet, all of which were scored by outgoing seniors.
Connor has been training at the Australian Institute of Sport in Brisbane since he was 14.