After Big 12 Bounce Back, Texas’s Janie Boyle Ready to Dive Into NCAAs

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After Big 12 Bounce Back, Texas’s Janie Boyle Ready to Dive Into NCAAs

Janie Boyle wasn’t quite sure what happened when she hit the water, but she knew it wasn’t right.

The Texas junior had just missed the fourth dive of her platform program at the Big 12 Championships, a front three-and-a-half pike, coming out too high and grazing the edge of the platform. The collectively held breath at The Aquatic Center at Mylan Park conveyed how shocking a moment it was.

With her adrenaline pumping in all the wrong ways, Boyle exited the pool, uninjured, and tried to regroup. Texas’s team title was well in hand, and even with Boyle, who was second in prelims, sliding down the standings, Longhorns still stood 1-2. So Boyle had room to think of herself for a moment.

“I was like, OK, I need to finish, I need to complete this meet,” Boyle said last week. “My trainer was talking to me and she was saying, ‘are you sure? Are you sure this is a good idea? I’m not going to stop you, but are you sure?’ I was like, ‘it would be a bad idea if I didn’t finish it.’

“I came here to put together a list. Even though it didn’t go how I wanted to go, I knew I needed to finish it the way I know how.”

What followed was one of the most emotional moments of Boyle’s career: A near-perfect final dive, to a roaring and united crowd in Morgantown, West Virginia, and a moment of resilience that she recapped on social media in hopes that it might help others through a tough moment.

Time dilated for Boyle after her botched dive. First was the physical taking of stock, with no injuries from either the platform or the landing, just a little wound to her pride. With an eight-diver final, she had mere minutes to collect herself, and by the time she conferred with her coach, it was almost time to reascend the platform.

Boyle had options. She could’ve gone off a lower platform. She could’ve swapped in an easier dive. She could’ve bowed out, with no damage to the Longhorns.

But Boyle set her mind immediately to get back up there, the Pepper Pike, Ohio, native drawing on a voice from her past.

“When I was in club, the rule was with my coach, when you do a dive not how you normally do it, the best thing is to go back up there and do it again for your mental state,” she said. “I don’t think I was thinking about Big 12s or the points or anything like that. I was thinking about what was best for me, and that was me going up there and finishing the meet and not leaving here feeling incomplete.”


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All Boyle did was deliver a near flawless inward three-and-a-half tuck, a favored dive she stows at the end of her program. The score didn’t so much matter – she went from second in prelims at 306.90 points to fifth in finals at 241.00, essentially spotting the field a dive, though the 86.40 points from her final dive elevated her from seventh. But the peace of mind of nailing a dive did, with the roar from swimmers on deck that recognized her mental fortitude in the moment was as a bonus.

Boyle heard the cheers from the platform, breaking into tears at the support not just from her fellow Longhorns but from throughout the deck. It was recognition of how unusual it was to see Boyle, a two-time NCAA qualifier in platform and 13th in her delayed first NCAAs last spring, to err on a dive, and an appreciation for the guts it took to get back up there.

“It was so loud, and that’s why I started crying on the platform before my dive,” Boyle said. “I got up there and I was just not expecting the amount of support I got. … I knew it was good when I went in. It was just, I can’t even explain it in words. It was probably one of the best moments I’ve ever experienced in diving and it wasn’t even my best list that I’ve ever done, by far.”

Boyle’s gambit, however focused on the moment at Big 12s, paid off down the road. She qualified for NCAAs for a third time at the Zone D Diving Championships, finishing fourth with a score of 605.80. That gives the Longhorns three platform entrants among 12 total women’s diving entries as they chase a podium finish at NCAAs this week.

Another bit of perseverance paid off for Boyle there: She didn’t practice her front 3.5 pike until arriving in Madison for Zones, then promptly threw down “two really good ones” to earn her NCAAs place.

All of the emotions of Big 12s were still flooding when, on the Sunday after the meet, Boyle took to Instagram to post about “a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.” She included the video, of her tearing up, of the raucous Longhorn support, of a tearful embrace with fellow diver Morgan Menninger after she stuck the landing.

That sharing of an emotional rollercoaster was part of her bounce-back process, too.

“People aren’t going to post their bad dives,” Janie Boyle said. “They’re only going to post the good ones. I thought it was really important to bring to light the fact that diving isn’t always 10s, it isn’t always the perfect entry. Sometimes things aren’t going to go your way – and that’s not just diving, that’s sports in general.

“I hoped that my post has not only helped me process what happened and come to terms with what happened, but I also hope it helps other divers to see that, OK, it’s possible for things to not go my way and it’s possible to make a really, really positive experience out of something not so positive.”