After the University of Iowa announced that it would be cutting the school’s men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams, diver Sam Bennett was one of a number of committed Hawkeyes who was left scrambling to find a new college.
Bennett is the defending Indiana High School State Diving Champion on the 1-meter, and returns this season as the overwhelming-favorite to repeat (if the meet happens). A Delta High School senior, Bennett initially slipped away from the clutches of the state’s two legendary diving programs, and Indiana and Purdue, and instead committed to another Big Ten program: Iowa.
Iowa doesn’t have the same diving reputation as do Purdue or Indiana. Last year, the Hawkeyes scored just 68 diving points at the Big Ten Men’s Championships. That ranked the program just 8th out of 10 teams in diving points at that meet.
Purdue’s diving roster has been thinner than normal on the men’s side the last few seasons, with only 3 on the team’s roster, so Bennett will be a welcome addition in the fall of 2021.
In USA Diving competition, in 2019 he finished 10th on the 3-meter at the 2019 USA Diving Junior National Championships. He does not have much experience diving platform to this point of his career, however.
Bennett dives at the Indiana International School of Diving in Fort Wayne.
At least 2 other divers from that program, members of the class of 2020, Sophie Mernitz and Sarah Ballard, were also committed to Iowa. Mernitz has also announced that she’ll dive at Purdue, while Ballard is on the Iowa roster this season.
Another connection: Bennett’s Delta High School teammate, swimmer Brady Samuels, is also committed to Purdue for next fall.