LONDON – U.S. divers qualified two more Olympic spots Monday in the first day of action at the FINA Diving World Cup, the first competition to be held in the new London Aquatics Centre.
Troy Dumais (Ventura, Calif.) and Kristian Ipsen (Clayton, Calif.) placed sixth in the men’s synchronized 3-meter final to qualify the U.S. for the Olympics on that event, and Haley Ishimatsu (Seal Beach, Calif.) finished 18th in the women’s platform preliminary to earn the United States its second Olympic spot on that event. The U.S. has now qualified eight of its maximum 12 Olympic spots (spots are for the U.S., not the divers themselves; the team will be selected at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in June.).
Dumais and Ipsen finished with 414.30 points in the 3-meter synchro final to secure the U.S. the last Olympic spot available on that event. The top four countries that had not already qualified earned Olympic spots. With China and Russia winning gold and silver, a repeat of their finish from the 2011 World Championships, teams three through six qualified their countries.
“We came here and did our job (by getting the Olympic berth), but it’s not what I wanted. You learn from every competition, but I don’t train for second place,” Dumais said. “We’re hoping to add a new dive, and when we do, it will be quite beneficial.”
Dumais and Ipsen were in fifth after four rounds but dropped to seventh upon scoring just 67.50 points on their reverse 3 ½ tuck in the fifth round. They closed out the competition with 84.15 points on their reverse 2 ½ with 1 ½ twists to move up to sixth.
“It was very stressful, but I’m happy we’re in. I’m glad the U.S. will have another chance to try again at this pool,” Ipsen said.
China’s Qin Kai and Luo Yutong scored 445.71 for gold, and Russia’s Evgeny Kuznetzov and Illya Zakharov finished with 439.83 points for silver. Bryan Nickson Lomas and Huang Qiang earned Malaysia a bronze medal and an Olympic spot with 432.09 points; also qualifying were Ukraine and Canada.
The top 18 finishers in the women’s platform prelims qualified their countries an Olympic berth and earned a spot in Tuesday’s semifinals. Ishimatsu scored 276.10 points to grab the last spot, although it was a waiting game to find out whether she’d advanced. She was in 21st place heading into the last round and came through with 60.80 points on her last dive, a back 2 ½ with 1 ½ twists. She was the 23rd diver in a field of 40, so she could only watch and wait to see if her score would be enough.
“I knew I could do that last dive, but I went a little over, so I was little nervous waiting. I just sat in the hot tub and watched the scores to see who got in and who didn’t. It came down to the second-to-last diver, and when I saw she didn’t pass me, I was relieved,” Ishimatsu said. “It wasn’t my best performance, but I advanced, and I’m glad I can give it another shot. The scores will start over, so I’m hoping I can do a little better (in the semis).”
Katie Bell (Columbus, Ohio), the other U.S. competitor in women’s 10-meter, scored 267.85 points to finish 21st. China’s Chen Ruolin dominated the preliminary field with 403.45 points, more than 60 points ahead of Russia’s Yulia Koltunova, who finished second.
Ishimatsu will dive in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Ipsen and Chris Colwill (Brandon, Fla.) will also compete Tuesday in the men’s 3-meter preliminaries.