Ann Arbor, Mich. Michelle Rojohn nailed her final attempt and dove headlong into Kansas University history.
Rojohn, a KU senior from Olathe, won the three-meter diving on Friday at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships to become the first Jayhawk to win an NCAA diving title.
"It just seems like a dream," Rojohn said. "That's the only way I can think of to explain it."
Rojohn won the prelminary rounds with 517.25 points but sat in fourth place after the semifinals. It came down to her final dive, and she finished with 567.95 points. Runner-up Becky Ruehl of Cincinnati totaled 552.65 points.
"(It's) unbeliveable," Rojohn said. "My coach kept telling me, 'Don't be afraid to be as good as you can be.' I just tried to keep that in mind. A lot of people have faith in me, and I kind of got psyched out in the one meter (Thursday). I just wanted to show I was a better diver today."
Rojohn placed 13th in last year's NCAA three-meter and, in so doing, became KU's first-ever diving All-American.
"She just put it together," KU diving coach Don Fearon said. "It's a dream come true. She had a rough day starting (Thursday). She was really nervous, and it showed through. She worked out last night in front of all the coaches on the deck and worked through the nervousness."
Rojohn entered the NCAA meet with modest expectations.
"I wasn't expecting to win," she said. "I was aiming for the top six. I would have been disappointed if I wouldn't have won, because I hate losing. But I would have been happy just finishing in the top six."
Rojohn became the first KU swimmer or diver to win an NCAA title since Tammy Thomas won the 50 and 100 freestyles in 1983.
By winning the national title, Rojohn automatically qualified for the Senior National Championships. If she finishes in the top eight there, she will qualify for the Olympic Trials.
"She opened a lot of eyes this weekend," Fearon said. "Now that she's got that first, she can make the senior national championships."
Seven other Jayhawks are competing in the NCAAs.
KU sophomore Kristin Nilsen was 25th in the 400 IM in 4:26.81. Rebecca Andrew was 23rd in the 100 fly in 56.40. Donna Christensen was 28th in the 100 fly 56.58, and freshman Adrienne Turner was 36th in the 100 fly in 57.16.
In the 200 free, KU's Jenifer Peltier was 19th in 1:49.85. Quincy Adams was 30th and Kelly Williams was 31st in the 100 breast in 1:05.52 and 1:05.55, respectively.
And KU's 800 free relay team of Peltier, Andrew, Christensen and Turner were 16th in 7:29.91.
As a team, the Jayhawks are in 22nd place with 24 points. The meet will conclude today.