SSN: Sarah Ballard Athlete Feature


Tears, chills, and extreme anxiety overcome senior Sarah Ballard as she prepares to make one of the biggest decisions of her life.  Throughout her 12 years of diving, Ballard has always known she wanted to compete at the college level.  However, the stresses of the college commitment process were something not even someone as disciplined as Sarah was prepared for.  Ballard has been a competitive diver for nearly her entire life, enduring early morning practices and weights to help her achieve her goals of becoming a college athlete.


“I’ve always known that I wanted to dive in college because I’ve worked so hard the past twelve years of my life to get to where I am today,” Ballard says, “I didn’t want to just give it up when I went to college.”


When Ballard refers to her 12 years of hard work, she is referring to her highly credentialed high school career.  In her first three years of high school she has been varsity all three years, she is a two times sectional champ, two-time conference champ, one-time regional champ, three-time state qualifier, and a fourth-place finisher in her sophomore year.


Ballard has not only accomplished her childhood goal of diving in college, she is going to be diving at the, division one, University of Iowa.


Teammate, and future Purdue University swimmer, Abby Harter says, “As a friend I’m super excited and proud of Sarah and I can’t wait to compete against each other at meets.”


However, the decision of going to Iowa was a grueling process for Ballard. Many people think it’s as easy as signing a piece of paper, but that’s too far from the truth.


In the past year Ballard has been contacted by more college coaches than she could count.  Each interested in bringing her talents to their respective program.  Obviously, she could not visit all of these schools, so she had to make an initial choice of what schools she was truly interested in going to.


Entering her senior year, Ballard had narrowed her college decision to three different universities: the University of Tennessee, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Iowa.

She took many opinions from her loved ones when trying to attack this decision. She says, “everyone in my life had a huge influence on the college decision process because I wouldn’t be where I am without my coaches, family… and of course all my


Ballard visited the University of Tennessee and decided that it was not the place for her, leaving Cincinnati and Iowa.  However, the deadline on her commitment to Cincinnati was rapidly approaching.  The weekend before her commitment was required, she took a trip to the University of Iowa.  She was in love with everything the school had to offer.


In a decision of heart, Ballard decided that Iowa was the place for her. She put financials, outside opinion, and all bias to the side and made a choice for her future.


“I would say the hardest part of the college decision process is deciding which place is going to work best for you to spend the next four years both academically and athletically,” Ballard said.