17-year old Australian Diver Matthew Barnard has verbally committed to come to the United States and dive for the University of Minnesota.
Barnard was the favorite to win the platform at the 2013 Junior Diving World Championships, but a muscle strain forced him to pull out of the final.
He did place 2nd in that event at the 2012 Australian Open Championships, though, and is arguably the best junior platform diver in the world, at least, perhaps, outside of China.
At Minnesota, he will dive under Wenbo Chen: a former USA Diving head coach just before coming to the Gophers in 2009. His biggest success in four years at Minnesota was coaching NCAA springboard champion, and 2012 U.S. Olympian, Kelci Bryant. Bryant, along with Abby Johnston, took silver on the 3-meter synchro in London: the first time the Americans had ever medaled in that event.
Minnesota also had Maggie Keefer, a former Big Ten Diver of the year; and NCAA qualifiers Drew Brown and Kristoffer Jorgensen, who in 2010 became the first Gopher duo to both qualify for NCAA diving in a decade.
Chen’s history and resume in the sport is as impressive as anyone’s. In addition to leading Team USA, he was also the head coach at Purdue from 2001-2005, and spent almost a decade as a coach with Chinese globally-dominant national team, where he coached 6 Olympic medalists.