Diver Breaks Coach's Missouri Records
With a name like Evan Watters, he's meant for a life in a pool, but it all started with a trampoline in his backyard. Six hours a day of jumping now Watters is jumping into water and his skill is making a splash in NCAA diving. Divers don't want splash but Evan Watters isn't like most divers. His pre-meet ritual involves a cannonball.
"I gotta not take it as seriously and just consider it to me more fun than work," said Watters, Missouri senior.
"They'd get on the board when everybody else is being serious and they'd do cannonballs and can openers and goofy looking flips and tricks," said Missouri diving head coach, Jamie Sweeney, "It's our way of loosening up and telling everybody I'm not scared of you."
And for Watters fear is not a factor. He's the first Missouri diver to qualify for the NCAA Diving Championships in more than 20 years.
"Unbelievable. I like to think that I did pretty well at Mizzou and I am nothing compared to this kid,"said Sweeney.
And that's saying something. In an odd twist three years ago Sweeney held the Missouri one and three meter diving records.
The same scores he coached Watters to break.
"People ask me all the time does that make you mad he's breaking your records," said Sweeney, "I say no., I love being a diver, but now I'm a coach and that's what I have a passion for. My divers better be breaking my records or I'm not doing something right."
"So we'd call him and say guess what the new record is and he'd never be mad," said Watters, "He'd say great, glad you guys are getting better."
Better with each bounce Watters is the two-time Mizzou men's diver of the year and is known for his knack of rising to the challenge.
"When he gets in a meet situation, that's the only time he can calm himself down enough to focus is in a meet situation," said Sweeney
When Watters isn't diving you'll probably find him playing video games. They aren't just a hobby but a motivator as well.
"It doesn't matter if you do this dive good or not cause regardless your still going to go home and play your Xbox 360. He'd get this goofy looking grin on his face, he'd nail his dive and blow away everybody," said Sweeney.
"It's not a fascination, it's more like a lifestyle obsession," said Watters.
"He's a strange individual in the same sense that's why he's so great," said Sweeney, "That's why his personality is so good."
Evan is now working on an inward three and a half tuck on the three meter board about as hard a dive as you can do.
Because there is no pro-diving in the U.S The NCAA Championships are considered the biggest competition each year. The Missouri diving team is one of only three diving programs in the Big 12.