Nov. 18, 1997

Freshman Diver Breaks School Record, Sits Near Top of Big Ten

Head diving coach Jim Mountjoy knew when he recruited Kara Hajek that the excitement around the Purdue swimming and diving program would escalate. He didn't expect it to happen this fast. Hajek, a freshman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa was a state champion diver for Kennedy High School in 1997 and an All-conference selection in both 1996 and 1997. Mountjoy has referred to her as one of the most talented divers ever recruited to Purdue.

She has responded to her coach's praise quickly. After only four meets, she has already broke one school record and currently ranks among the Big Ten conference leaders in the 1-meter diving competition. During last Saturday's meet against Penn State, Hajek broke Nicole Zlotnick's school record for points in the 1-meter competition with 409.95. Her point accumulation Saturday also set a new Lambert Pool record. "Kara's performance at this point by far goes past my highest expectations," Mountjoy said. Her success goes beyond this past weekend as well. Hajek opened her season at home against Miami (Ohio) and performed well. She finished third overall with 351.37 total points. The following weekend, she finished first in the 1-meter event at Iowa and was ranked third in the Big Ten in that event going into the meet against Penn State.

"I am pleased with the results so far, but I know I can dive better than I did in the Penn State meet," Hajek stated. Her coach agreed, "We're not even close to her potential yet, she will have a great career at Purdue."

She'll get a chance to again prove herself this weekend at the Arizona State Invitational against some tough competition. "We are really looking forward to this weekend, we expect even better things from her in the 3-meter events. This weekend will be her first chance to show what she can do from there," The 3-meter competition takes place Friday, with the 1-meter event being held Saturday.