Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tweardy signs with Purdue

courtesy of Zachary Dzurick
It was not love at first sight when Elyria Catholic senior MacKenzie Tweardy first tried the sport of diving.

"I absolutely hated it," Tweardy said. "I was a gymnast for 15 years and it wasn’t gymnastics. I grew up my entire life as a gymnast and always landed on my feet."

Over time Tweardy fell in love with diving and she worked hard at it. Really only starting her freshman year, Tweardy has come along way.

"She has improved enough to catch the eye of one of the finest coaches in America," her current diving coach Jeff Arnold said.

On Tuesday, Tweardy signed a National Letter of Intent to dive at Purdue University under coach Adam Soldati.

Soldati, now in his sixth year at Purdue, has coached four NCAA champions, 41 NCAA All-Americans, 112 Big Ten Finalists and 10 Big Ten Champions. He has won two National Coach of the Year Awards and four Big Ten Coach of the Year Awards. The Boilermakers’ diving program this year was recognized as a Center of Excellence by USA Diving.

During her freshmen year, Tweardy’s only desire was to attend The University of Notre Dame for college. The Fighting Irish even offered her a scholarship but Purdue won her over.

"Notre Dame is phenomenal school. Who doesn’t want to go to Notre Dame?," Tweardy said. "Notre Dame and Purdue had a swim meet and I had recently taken an interest in engineering. My mother said we should check it out."

Tweardy went to the meet convinced nothing could change her mind. The Purdue campus altered her perceptions.

"I stepped on campus and absolutely fell in love with it," Tweardy said. "The facility is brand new and it is top in the nation. I loved the coach. He is funny and easy to talk to. I got to know the team and I really liked everyone. The engineering program is phenomenal. Everything clicked. It felt perfect."

Tweardy plans on being a platform specialist with a concentration on the 10 meter. She will major in Biomedical Engineering.

"I hope to go to medical school to be an Orthopedic Surgeon or do research to make medical devices to help athletes and prosthetics."

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