Reagan Hinze

Reagan Hinze poses for a portrait inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center Natatorium on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Freshman diver Reagan Hinze hasn’t always been a standout diver. However, she’s worked her way up and proven through her first few meets that she can compete with the best.

Hinze is from Conrad, Texas, and she began diving when she was six years old. 

Once Hinze got to the high school level, she was the only diver on her team. Her high school focused on swimming more than diving. No diver from her school had made it to the finals at state since 1983 until Hinze broke the streak.

During Hinze’s sophomore year of high school, she switched club teams. Once she saw the divers on her new team, she realized she had to work hard to reach where she wanted to be.

“I was not the best, and so I always wanted to get to that level,” Hinze said.

The biggest difference between high school and college diving so far for Hinze is the team aspect since she now has a diving team around her instead of being the sole diver.

“It’s not necessarily like, ‘oh you go do your own thing and I’ll go do my own thing,’ It’s just one cohesive group,” Hinze said when describing her experience as a member of the Husker diving team.

The choice to come dive at Nebraska was relatively easy for Hinze. 

Nebraska was Hinze’s first visit and, even though her dad advised her not to fall in love with her first visit, that’s exactly what happened.

“I just loved the team atmosphere, and I loved the unlimited resources that we get and just nothing else compared to this,” Hinze said.

As imagined, the move from Texas to Nebraska is a bit of a culture shock. The weather is one obvious change.

“I’m freezing,” Hinze said.

Another change is not having her dad at every meet. Hinze named her dad as her biggest supporter and role model because he had been at every single one of her meets since she was just six years old. 

However, in her first few meets, Hinze has shown this hasn’t affected her performance. In her most recent meet against Iowa State, Hinze finished fourth in the three-meter.

Even Hinze didn’t expect the early success.  

“That’s insane,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d come in here and already make an impact. I thought I’d have to wait a year before everything started falling into place.”

Joining a team can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when you have a naturally shy personality, like Hinze does.

“I’ve always been kind of a shy kid so I usually let people walk all over me,” Hinze said. “I would just let people say what they wanted to say but you can’t let that happen.”

However, learning this lesson and embracing the positive environment of the Nebraska swim and dive team have led to a smooth transition.

“She blends in really well. Our team is pretty close, so they all help each other,” head diving coach Natasha Chikina said. “It’s like she’s always been here.”

Setting goals are an important tactic for Hinze to stay motivated. She always sets them high, so, even if she doesn’t quite get there, she’s still close to where she wanted to end up.

This year, a couple of her goals include placing in the top 16 at the Big Ten Championships and qualifying for the NCAAs.

Chikina is a strong believer of taking things day-by-day and says that after this season, they’ll have an even better idea of what Hinze is really capable of.

“We have a big meet coming up with the invitational at Mizzou, so we’ll see how she can handle those three days of competition,” Chikina said.

sports@dailynebraskan.com