Dive team welcomes Olympians

09/2/09 Diving
From left, 2008 Beijing Olympians Riley McCormick, Elina Eggers, ASU diving coach Mark Bradshaw and Constantin Blaha will be a part of the Sun Devil diving squad this season(Photo Courtesy of ASU Media Relations)
Published On:
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
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The ASU diving team has a chance to spring into success this season with the addition of three new athletes.

Three 2008 Beijing Olympians will make their Sun Devil debut when the season kicks off in October.

Freshmen Constantin Blaha (Austria), Riley McCormick (Canada) and sophomore Elina Eggers (Sweden) will all be hitting the pool for the Sun Devils this year.

Additionally, ASU diving coach Mark Bradshaw represented Finland and coached diver Joona Puhakka at the Beijing Olympics. He was also an Olympic diver himself in 1988.

Bradshaw said he thinks the new group of young divers could make an immediate impact.

“My expectations on this group are pretty high because of their talent level,” he said.

Eggers burned her redshirt year last season — she sat out and trained — but this season she is back and ready to compete. Eggers made it to the finals in the 10-meter platform in Beijing and placed 12th.

Coming to ASU directly from the Olympic games, she is sure to be a valuable addition to ASU’s team.

“I am really excited and I’m very happy that I can start competing,” Eggers said. “I’ve been looking forward to this since last year. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

After seeing Eggers’ skills on display at the international level, Bradshaw said he is excited to see what she can bring to the pool for the Sun Devils.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do in the college season,” Bradshaw said. “She’s a great student, and the thing that she brings to the table is that she is in three events. She’ll do well in all the diving events.”

Blaha represented Austria in the Beijing Olympics and placed 22nd on the 3-meter springboard. He also placed 25th on the 3-meter springboard in the 2009 FINA World Championships.

“I think I took a lot out of [the Olympics] because it was definitely the toughest competition of my life,” Blaha said. “I was pretty happy with the job that I did there. Of course, every time it could be better, but my first performance was really good.”

ASU’s coach said he is excited to work with the skilled freshman.
“[Blaha] is very talented,” Bradshaw said. “He is a hard worker, and his next three years with ASU are going to be really productive … I really enjoy working with him.”

After feeling the pride of representing his country in the Olympics, Blaha said he wants to put the same effort into his college experience.
“I’m willing to work hard, and I want to give the school something back,” he said. “I want to prove that I deserve it.”

Corralling McCormick into the ASU program was a tough task, Bradshaw said.

The Canadian placed 16th on the 10-meter platform in Beijing.
“Riley is definitely, this year, the top prospect coming out of high school,” Bradshaw said. “And not only…from Canada, but worldwide, he’s probably the best available diving prospect.”

A close-knit team atmosphere was one of the biggest factors the incoming freshman named in his decision to come to ASU.

“The swimming and the diving team is like a family,” McCormick said. “So, I really saw that, and that was the one thing that was missing at other places.”

Bradshaw added, “We have five other kids on the team and it’s a very good group. The eight of them are the best I’ve had together in my 13 years, so it’s going to be a real fun year.”

Reach the reporter at nicole.klauss@asu.edu.