Diving: Lim seeks new uni after Clemson ends diving programme

National coach Shannon Roy expects Freida Lim to find a place in another university fairly easily, given her good results in the US so far.
National coach Shannon Roy expects Freida Lim to find a place in another university fairly easily, given her good results in the US so far.ST FILE PHOTO

Since her enrolment at Clemson University in August last year, Singapore diver Freida Lim has done swimmingly well for her school.

She was the South Carolina institution's top finisher in the women's platform events at last month's Atlantic Coast Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, ending second overall, as well as last week's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Zone B Championships where she was 10th.

However, the 19-year-old, who was the first local diver to receive a full athletic scholarship to the US to compete in the top division of the NCAA system, will have to find a new school, after Clemson abruptly cancelled its women's diving programme.

According to swimming website Swimswam, a blanket statement was sent out to coaches around the US on Tuesday. The university had also previously dropped its men's and women's swimming and men's diving programmes.

Lim, who majors in food science and human nutrition, could not be reached for comment by press time.

But national coach Shannon Roy believes that with the promising results Lim has achieved since she left for Clemson, the teenager will likely face little trouble seeking acceptance from another school.

"A lot of it will depend on whether the other schools have space on their team, what scholarships are available and whether the school offers her the same course of study," he added.

"She's got the talent and ability - I wouldn't be surprised if she gets transferred to another school quite easily."

Roy, who has competed and coached in the US, is sure that Lim's results will only improve as she competes in more collegiate-level meets over the next year. The 40-year-old Australian, a University of Tennessee alumnus, has seven years' coaching experience in America.

"Freida will be competing a lot more than what she would have been used to and these championships not only happen within weeks of one another, but the divers also share the pool with swimmers," he said.

"So there's a lot more noise and a lot more people... in the next year or so (competing at this level) will probably feel second nature to her, which will benefit her at international competitions once she learns to block out these distractions in the college scene."

Lim, who won a SEA Games bronze in the women's 10m platform and a silver in the 10m synchronised platform with Myra Lee in 2015, can improve further at her new university if, according to Roy, she is pushed by "high-level training partners who can mentor and guide her as an athlete".

Roy added: "These training partners should also give her more confidence and challenge her to strive to beat them and be the best.

"She's quite a reserved athlete by nature, so hopefully this gives her the tools to have a bit more self-confidence in her ability.

"There are a lot of universities in the US and a lot of different options for her... hopefully the schools have seen first-hand what she's capable of, and able to see what we see."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2017, with the headline 'Lim seeks new uni after Clemson ends diving programme'. Print Edition | Subscribe