Springboard to success: Fishers High School graduate ready to dive into U.S. Olympic Trials


To say IUPUI diver Sebastian Otero dominated his first year in the Horizon League would be an understatement.

Otero, now a sophomore, was a six-time Horizon League Men’s Diver of the Week during the 2022-23 season. The 2022 Fishers High School graduate was a Horizon League Freshman of the Year and Championship Diver of the Meet at the 2023 Horizon League championships. He was named IUPUI’s Male Freshman of the Year in 2023.

“I’ve improved the most in just the confidence in myself,” Otero said.

That showed as Otero qualified for the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials, winning the 3-meter event with a score of 398.85 at the USA Diving Winter National Championships Nov. 29 in Knoxville, Tenn. The U.S. Olympic Diving Trials are set for June 17-23 in Knoxville.

“Honestly, I just want to do my best and have fun,” Otero said. “I don’t want to get too starstruck by the competition. I want to enjoy the experience. The Trials are going to be something different. There is a lot on the line. People’s dreams are going to come true. I feel it will be a good competitive atmosphere. I don’t think I’ve ever been in an atmosphere quite like that.”

Otero has continued his success this season – he was named Horizon League Diver of the week four times. He has set his sights on continuing that success at the NCAA Championships.

“He’s made the most improvement in his overall degree of difficulty and his confidence in performing those highly difficult dives,” IUPUI coach Eric Barnes said.

Otero started diving at age 11.

“I played every sport, and diving was one that I found myself pretty decent at, so I just stuck with it,” Otero said. “Eric provided me the opportunity to dive at the (NCAA Division I) level.”

Otero played soccer until he was 13.

“Going into high school, I was focused on diving,” he said.

Otero improved each year at the IHSAA boys swimming and diving state finals at the IU Natatorium at IUPUI. He was seventh as a sophomore in the 1-meter diving state finals, sixth as a junior and seventh as a sophomore.

“I thought any competition experience would be good, so if it was the 1-meter for high school, I found it beneficial to get extra reps in,” said Otero, who also was a member of the Fishers Diving Club.

Otero said he had two major reasons for choosing IUPUI.

“I’m a big family guy, so sticking close to home was a big factor in my decision to come to IUPUI,” Otero said. “I saw the potential and knew that Eric was a good coach. I just decided my best fit was here.”

Barnes said Otero has exceeded expectations in his first two seasons.

“He’s done a tremendous job and he’s got intrinsic motivation,” Barnes said. “You lay it out there and you see how far you can go with it. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of confidence. Kudos to him, because he figured a few things out. From that point forward, it’s just like building blocks, and then you see how far it can go. He’s experienced in his time here substantial growth and he’s handling all of that extremely well. To look at the (Olympic Trials) as more or less a jumping point from there, he succeeded in all these areas and is enjoying the fruits of his work.”

CIF COVER 0220 Fishers diver pic 3
IUPUI sophomore Sebastian Otero, a Fishers High School graduate, performs a dive. (Photo courtesy of IUPUI)

Earning elite status

Sebastian Otero recently became the first-ever IUPUI athlete to earn United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee elite status. Elite status is a recognition that provides Otero flexibility in the types of resources he can be provided and training hour limits through NCAA legislation.

Otero is one of 49 divers among the more than 400 NCAA Division I student-athletes to earn the honor. The USOPC and its national governing bodies collaborate annually to designate NCAA elite student-athletes, based on sport-specific thresholds that vary by sport.

Otero and the other elite student-athletes can receive additional developmental training expenses from the USOPC, including travel for parents, guardians, coaches, training partners and sport experts. Otero also can work with his coaching staff without counting against time limits.

Otero became the first athlete in the Horizon League to earn the USOPC elite status.