MAKING A SPLASH—so to speak—is what Cheril Santini does best. As a member of Southern Methodist University’s diving team in the early nineties, the Dallas native made All-American ten times, was a finalist for NCAA woman of the year, and was named one of the nation’s top ten college women by Glamour magazine. Now the 23-year-old is preparing for this month’s Olympic trials in Indianapolis, where her finish in the three- and ten-meter events will determine if she competes in Atlanta. A self-described geek, Santini majored in chemistry and German at SMU and graduated with a 3.9 grade point average; these days, funded by a research grant from Du Pont, she’s been trying to develop a flame-retardant additive for synthetic fibers. Confident yet self-effacing, “the Great Santini” (as she is known) takes her sporting success in stride. “If I don’t make it, I’m still alive,” she says. “I can still talk. I can still think. I’m still going to be Cheril Santini.”