Abigail Knapton finished her college career earlier this month the only way she knew how. She set a new Rutgers record in platform diving and earned First Team All-American honors in the event for the fifth time in her career with a seventh place finish at the NCAA Championships in Atlanta, Georgia.
Knapton established herself as the most decorated diver in Nebraska history after four accomplished years at the Big Ten school. She followed her coach Natasha Chikina to Rutgers for her final year of eligibility. She set the platform diving record for the Scarlet Knights three different times this season, with her score of 333.25 in the preliminary round of nationals establishing the current mark. She previously set the record with a seventh place finish at the Big Ten Championships and then again on her way to winning the NCAA Zone A title.
She completed her collegiate career with five straight top 8 finishes at the NCAA Championships in platform diving. Knapton also competed in two other diving events at national. She reached the consolation finals on 3M and finished 28th on 1M.
Overall, Knapton ends her collegiate career as a seven time All-American. In addition to earning AA status five times on the platform diving board, she finished in 15th place on the 3-meter springboard for Honorable Mention honors in 2019 and an 8th place finish for First Team honors in 2021.
She excelled out of the pool as well as a four-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. She also received the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor last year, which is awarded to one male and female athlete at each member institution. Knapton was also named Best Female Athlete and Female Student Athlete of the Year within the entire Nebraska Athletic Department for 2020-2021.
First year head coach Natasha Chikina made an immediate impact at Rutgers since being hired last June with Knapton continuing to excel this past season. She also brought Savana Trueb into the program. The former SEC champion reached the NCAA Championships along with Knapton this past month. The junior finished 24th on 1M, 25th on 3M and 41st on platform. Trueb will now carry the torch for the diving team next season as Knapton’s eligibility has run out.
Although she dove at Rutgers for just one season, Knapton’s impact was immense as she brought instant credibility to the program. Her success proves divers can succeed at the highest level of the sport at Rutgers. Chikina will continue to add talent and foster a foundation of success that Knapton helped to develop this past year with her.