Jessica Parratto and Amy Cozad have earned the right to represent Team USA in synchronized women’s synchronized 10-meter platform at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by winning the event at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Diving Wednesday evening in Indianapolis.
“I tried so hard not to cry, but then I saw my dad and I just couldn’t hold it in,” Cozad told NBC after the competition. “We knew we could do it and it’s just amazing to follow through."
Parratto/Cozad built on the 41-point lead they held coming out of the semifinal round to leave the field in their wake. They finished with a total score of 935.76, 89.34 ahead of second-place finishers Samantha “Murphy” Bromberg and Delaney Schnell. The champions were so dominant, they would have won without the score from their final dive.
Last season the newly-minted Olympians scored a pair of top-five finishes in grand prix competition, including a bronze medal in Australia and a fourth in Puerto Rico. They also finished ninth at the 2015 world championships.
Although Rio will be her first Olympic Games, Parratto, who turns 22 next Monday, is familiar with the Olympic environment. Her father, Mike, coached swimmer Jenny Thompson, who is in a three-way tie as the most decorated U.S. female Olympian. Her mother Amy was a five-time All-American at Wellesley College and was Jessica’s coach until 2009, when she moved to Indianapolis to train. A six-time national team member, Parratto has won a total of seven senior national titles, including the last three winter nationals in synchro platform, the last two teamed with Cozad. She finished ninth individually at the 2012 Olympic Trials.
Cozad, 25, is a seven-time national team member who finally breaks through to qualify for the Olympic team after just missing in 2008 and again in 2012. A 2013 graduate of Indiana University, she has won eight national titles. After graduating from IU with a mathematics degree, she served a season as an assistant coach at Florida State University before returning to Indiana. A math tutor at IU, she has put that job on hold to focus on her preparations for Rio. That focus has paid off in dividends with her sixth-place individual finish at the 2015 worlds, the highest by a U.S. woman at the event since 2007. It earned the U.S. one of its quota spots for Rio. Cozad is engaged to marry her high school sweetheart, Alex Magaña, in September.
Both are seeking the opportunity to double up in Rio and are in the hunt to qualify individually in 10-meter platform. Parratto enters Saturday’s individual final leading the pack with 714.95 points, while Cozad sits in third with 645.80, 0.15 points behind Bromberg, who is in second with 645.95 points. The top two finishers will compete in Rio.
The United States has never medaled in women’s synchronized platform diving. The best American finish was fifth, achieved in Sydney in 2000 and again in Beijing eight years later.