Competing together for the first time, Sam Dorman and Michael Hixon have clinched a spot on their first Olympic team roster by winning the men’s synchronized three-meter springboard final Wednesday evening at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Diving in Indianapolis.
Dorman and Hixon entered the final round with a lead of 56.52 points over reigning Olympic bronze medalists Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen, a margin that gave them the cushion they needed to secure their trip to Brazil. They won with a final score of 1,308.36, 47.97 points ahead of Dumais and Ipsen’s 1,260.39.
Dorman, 24, is a four-time national team member who has won four synchronized three-meter national titles, most recently with Ipsen at the 2015 winter nationals. The NCAA three-meter national champion as a senior at the University of Miami, he received a degree in mechanical engineering there in 2015. In the past two years he has partnered with some of USA Diving’s elite in synchro competition, including David Boudia, Dumais and Ipsen.
Hixon, 21, began diving at the age of 7 under the watchful eye of his mother Mandy, the diving coach at the University of Massachusetts who remained Michael’s coach until he left to compete in college. He won NCAA one-meter and three-meter national championships for the University of Texas before transferring into the Indiana University program. A six-time national team member, he won bronze at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. His father, David, is entering his 40th season as the men’s basketball coach at Amherst College. Given that both of his parents are coaches, it’s not surprising that he aspires to become a diving coach himself. He is in the hunt to qualify individually as well, trailing Ipsen by only 7.05 points after the springboard semifinal round. Two men will qualify in the individual competition.
Since synchronized three-meter diving was introduced to the Olympic program in 2000, the United States has had three top-five finishes, highlighted by the bronze medal won by Dumais and Ipsen at the London 2012 Olympic Games. There also have been two fourth-place showings by the United States, in 2000 (1.95 points away from bronze) and again in Beijing (4.32 points from the podium).