Senior diver reflects on college sports career

Austen Blease was named one of the UAA's Diver of the Week for the third time this season last week.

Senior Diver Austen Blease was named the men’s Diver of the Meet at the UAA Championships, which took place from Feb. 11 to 14 in Atlanta, Georgia. The men’s swimming and diving team as a whole finished in third place.

The UAA Championships were a culmination of Blease’s previous successes this season. At the invitational hosted by NYU two weeks ago, Blease dominated both of his events. Additionally, on Feb. 11, Blease was named one of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III divers of the week alongside teammate Austin Campitelli. He has been named UAA’s Diver of the Week multiple times this season. At the championships, Blease won both one-meter events and both three-meter events. He even broke UAA and NYU records while winning the one-meter dive, scoring  551.35 in the event. He broke his own record from last year’s competition and earlier this season for the UAA and NYU, respectively.

In regard to his Diver of the Meet title, the environmental studies major was happy to attain his previously elusive victory.

“My ultimate goal for the meet was to earn the title Diver of the Meet, which was very important to me because I have not received it in the past,” Blease said. “I have always been very close to getting the award and I wanted this year to be my turn. Going into UAA’s I focused on doing my dives the best I could and not concerning myself with the performance of the other divers. I wanted enjoy my time in Atlanta and be OK with my results.”

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Now that the UAA Championships are over, Blease and the team have turned their attention to the NCAA Division III regional championships. Blease plans on qualifying for the national championship by being amongst the top performers at regionals, and he attributes his success to his years of experience and the coaching staff at NYU.

“I have been diving for about 12 years,” Blease said. “I would say the consistency in my performance comes from the amount of years I have been involved with the sport. I have also had a number of really amazing coaches, especially Scott Donie and Todd Kolean, whose ability to keep me motivated and invested in the sport as an athlete has been more influential than anything else.”

Over the last four years, Blease’s performances have increased the prominence of his diving team as well as his own. With graduation approaching, Blease is grateful for the support he has received here at NYU.

“I will miss my team the most,” Blease said. “We are friends both on and off the pool deck and spend a lot of time together. I have come very close to my teammates and attribute them to my ongoing success and desire to stay involved with the sport. If it weren’t for my teammates I would not have had the support network and pure friendship that I have today.”

Blease will enter the pool once more at the NCAA Regionals, which will take place at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Feb. 27 and 28.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 18 print edition. Email Anne Cruz at [email protected]

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