VERMILLION — A year ago, Greysen Hertting selected the University of South Dakota after what she called a “trial and error” recruiting process.
The decision is already paying off for the freshman from Appleton, Wis.
Hertting, who captured her sixth Summit League Diver of the Week award this week, leads the league in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events. That has her as the front-runner to sweep the conference diving championships in two months.
Did she expect this kind of success this early?
“No, I didn’t think so, but I’m glad it’s worked out so far,” Hertting said this week. “It’s a great bunch of people here, and I’ve had so much fun with them.”
Not only fun, but plenty of success.
A former high school All-American, Hertting won both diving boards in last Friday’s dual at Omaha. She won the 1-meter with 290.55 points and the 3-meter with 255.82 points.
The fact that both of those first-place scores were short of her season high proves that Hertting’s impact has been helped by early work in the DakotaDome weight room, she said.
“Definitely the weights,” Hertting said, referring to work with the strength and conditioning staff. “That’s definitely helped. I’ve figured out how to use that in my dives.”
Not only are both season bests tops in the league, Hertting’s 1-meter personal best of 294.82 points ranks her fifth all-time in Summit League history.
Scores don’t tell the full story of diving, though, she said.
In each event, at either one meter or three meters high, participants are given six dives and their scores after each jump are added together, multiplied by the depth and combined for a final score.
Hertting called such a format where she doesn’t know exactly how she finished until the sixth and final dive “nerve-wracking.”
“It depends on the person,” she said. “I take it dive by dive and focus on that next one. You try to move on and keep a cool head.”
Still, the adjustment from high school to the Division I level takes a certain patience.
Hertting’s ‘welcome to college’ moment? Nov. 22 at St. Cloud State when she won the 1-meter dive and reached an NCAA Zone qualifying mark.
“That was the time when I thought, ‘I can do this,’” Hertting said. “It made it super easy once that was out of the way. Then I knew for sure I could really compete.”
USD, though, is no stranger to having top divers in its program.
Last season, Dustin Gens won the Summit League 3-meter title, while former standout Jill Smolczyk won the Division II 1-meter title in 2008.
Hertting’s senior teammate and fellow diver Megan Chmielewski ranks third in the league in the 1-meter and fifth in the 3-meter.
Success by her and her teammates have as much to do with the program’s chemistry as it does with individual work, Hertting said.
“I try to have as much fun as I can, if I do that and everyone’s in a good mood, you’re going to do better,” she said.
A year ago, the USD women finished fifth in the Summit League Championships. Oakland, the long-time league powerhouse, left for the Horizon League, leaving the team race — and the diving titles — up for grabs.
Oakland’s Tricia Grant swept the diving events last year.
Put another way, either way the conference will have new diving champions at the Summit League Championships from Feb. 19-22 in Indianapolis, Ind.
First though, the Coyotes will compete in a dual against South Dakota State on Jan. 11 in Brookings.
Just another in a long line of challenges in the pool, Hertting said.
“I know that we can do some pretty great things, it’ll just take some time,” she said. “Hopefully we can do well at conference.”