Feb. 14, 2013
GopherSports.com caught up with Maggie Keefer as she prepares for the Big Ten Championships Feb. 20-23. The junior diver finished runner-up in two events last year and was named the Co-Diver of the Championships. Keefer discusses her preparation, the team’s aim keep to the title in Minnesota and what it means to be hosting the Championships.
Being the defending Big Ten Champions, does that put any extra pressure on the team or is it more motivation to reclaim the title?
“I think being the defending champs has only motivated us more to want to win again. We experienced how much fun winning was last year and how it felt when we jumped in the pool and got our Big 10 rings that I think we are ready for it to happen again. For the past couple weeks we have been pumping each other up by posting on Facebook motivation quotes and videos and even just by saying the words "Big Tens."
You were named the Diver of the Championships, how are you training to receive that honor again?
“I'm training the same as I did last year. Wenbo has set workouts for us each day and he knows what we need to do in order for us to be successful at Big Tens. Every practice I try to stay positive and motivated because I know if I do, it will all work out in the end.”
After finishing runner-up in two events last year, is that motivation for yourself to win your events this year?
“Yeah I think so. It's always motivating to know that you have a potential to win something, especially something like a Big Ten event. However, I try not to focus on winning, but rather what I need to do for each dive, and hopefully it will make a successful outcome.”
How special is it to be hosting the Championships?
What is the main advantage of being able to dive in your home pool?
“I am so excited that we are hosting Big Tens! It will be nice to stay in Minneapolis at the pool I have been training at for the past 10 years. Having my family come and watch and friends come to watch because the meet is on campus will be really exciting!”
“Knowing how the boards feel and not having to adjust where I look and spot every time will be a huge advantage. Also, just being comfortable in this pool will be a great advantage because it is such a familiar surrounding.”
Are there any disadvantages of hosting the Championships?
“I would think a disadvantage would be that because we feel so comfortable at our pool that we might not take Big Tens as an important meet. We have had so many practices here, good and bad, that we just need to treat it like an away meet. As for school, we are staying in a hotel for the week so it is like we are away from campus. We are treating this meet like we are away, meaning we are not going to classes and we're focusing on the meet itself.”
Who else on the team do you see excelling at Big Ten's?
“As for the divers, I think all of us have the potential at scoring points for the team. We have all worked so hard at practice to be successful at Big Tens that I think we have the potential at doing very well. Even just by looking at the past couple meets, we have all excelled and performed phenomenally. I think we even surprised ourselves!”
What team do you think is going to give Minnesota the greatest competition?
“Of course there's the battle between Minnesota and Indiana, but I think Ohio State will be a good contender this year.”