Posted: Jan 14, 2013 8:33 PM by Eric Blumberg
Updated: Jan 14, 2013 8:50 PM
COLUMBIA -- Missouri basketball fans know all about Laurence Bowers sitting out last season with a knee injury, but another Missouri athlete is bouncing back from an injury that took away a season.
Mizzou diver Loren Figueroa has seen the highest highs and the lowest lows in only her first two years of college. This season she's springboarding back.
To appreciate Missouri diver Loren Figueroa's rise to the top you have to understand her climb.
She goes by the name Figgy.
"I didn't even know what a Figgy was the first time I met her," said Coach James Sweeney.
She started diving when she was 12 and caught the bug right away.
Figueroa said, "I remember that I didn't really want to go. I'm like okay I guess I'll go and the first time I went I was like oh my God I love this."
Figgy found success fast. She won a Big 12 one meter title in her Freshman season.
Sweeney said, "She ended up breaking the Big 12 record on the one meter as a freshman."
"Me and Jamie both looked at eachother and were like Wow." Figueroa said, "you did a lot better than we both thought we were going to do this year."
She qualified for the NCAA competition but during practice Figgy hit the board during a dive and hyperextended her knee.
Sweeney said, "She came back on an injured knee the very next day and actually finished 2nd in the country, 2nd in the NCAA's... basically doing all her dives on one leg."
"My knee started getting a lot worse and I was like there's something wrong with it. I've been rehabing it. It's not getting better... I can barely push on it," Figueroa said.
She needed more surgery so, her Sophomore year ended before it ever started.
Figueroa said, "I really wanted to win, but I had to sit out for a whole year. I wasn't allowed to workout. I wasn't allowed to do anything."
In her free time Figgy didn't dive but she did get inked on her lower back.
Figueroa said, "I believe in my guardian angel and I really think he helped me get through everything that happened. As soon as I came back and I hit that board... I'm like... I'm getting that tattoo. I feel safe... cause he's always with me."
This season, Figgy and her tattoo are back in pool.
"I dove and it ended up being the 2nd highest score I've ever had on it." Figueroa said, "after that meet... I was like... Yes, I'm back."
Sweeney said, "We're right back at it. We want to win a national championship. We want to win a SEC title. Those are the goals. Those are the things we work towards everyday."
Figueroa says she wants to win the one meter diving National Title this season. Her long term goal is making the 2016 Olympic Trials with a shot at the Rio Olympics.
The next diving meet for Mizzou is January 25th at 6 p.m. against Drury in the Mizzou Aquatic Center.