Did you know our area gave rise to a member of an NCAA championship team, won eight individual NCAA championship events-two as a freshman- and won a gold medal. There’s more. Lots more. Let’s look from the beginning.
Megan Neyer was born in Ashland, KY, in 1962 but moved to Mission Viejo, California to further her athletic training, after spending 16 years in Ashland.
According to Wikipedia, the 6′ 2″ Neyer won the US Olympic trials in both springboard and platform diving in 1980, but did not participate in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow because of the boycott. She did receive a Congressional Gold Medal instead, as part of 461 athletes who were deprived of the Olympic opportunity that year.
She attended the University of Florida on scholarship, competing in the NCAA for four seasons. 1982, 1982, 1984 and 1986. As a freshman at UF she won two individual NCAA championships in women’s one meter springboard and three meter springboard events. Four months later she won the gold medal in the women’s springboard competition at the World Aquatics Championships in Ecuador.
Individually she won a record eight NCAA diving championships, sweeping the one-meter and three-meter springboard events in all four years of college diving, and was recognized as an All-American eight times. In July 1984, she placed third in the U.S. Olympic Trials and failed to make the U.S. Olympic team, which came as a crushing emotional blow to her.[5After the Olympic trials, she took eighteen months off from competitive diving. She returned to the University of Florida for her senior season in 1986, winning the NCAA championships in the one-meter and three-meter springboard events again. She was also recognized as an Academic All-American in 1983 and 1986, and graduated from Florida with a 3.5 cumulative gradepoint average and a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1986. She remains the all-time winningest collegiate diver, male or female, in NCAA history.
Between 1981 and 1988, Neyer won fifteen national springboard diving championships—eight outdoor events and seven in the indoor events. In 1987, she won the U.S. national championship in the indoor three-meter springboard event and the outdoor one-meter springboard, and the three-meter springboard silver medal in the 1987 Pan American Games. She won her fifteenth and final U.S. national championship in 1988, and retired from competition diving following the 1988 Olympic Trials after failing to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team.
Neyer was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a “Gator Great” in 1996, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1997.In 2006, she was named the NCAA’s Most Outstanding Diver of the Last Quarter Century.
In a June 1988 New York Times article, she openly discussed her private battle with bulimia from 1981 to 1984 After she retired from competitive diving in 1988, Neyer returned to graduate school at the University of Florida on an NCAA post-graduate scholarship to complete her master’s degree in sports psychology in 1990 and her doctorate in counseling in 1994. Neyer was honored as a University of Florida Alumna of Outstanding Achievement in 1997. She currently is the principal of Total Performance Systems, Inc., and works as a performance counselor for elite athletes and business executives in Atlanta.
In May, 2017, Ashland named part of the old 13th Street that is closest to the YMCA after Megan.