By Paul Batterson | Aug. 12, 2017, 2:36 p.m. (ET)
Jordan Windle competes in the men's 10-meter platform final at the 2017 USA Diving National Championships on Aug. 12, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio.

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- For Jordan Windle, changing focus at the USA Diving National Championships was a lot easier than changing channels on the television.

Windle overcame a sprained right ankle and a disappointing second-place finish in the 3-meter springboard on Friday to capture the senior men’s open championship in the 10-meter platform on Saturday at the McCorkle Aquatics Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Powered by an 85.1 on his forward 4 and 1/2 somersault tuck, the third dive in his rotation, Windle compiled a total score of 425.7 to hold off challenges from Zach Cooper (401.9) and Christopher Law (383.2) to capture his third national title of the 15-day meet. Rounding out the top five were Jacob Fielding (380.7) and Jacob Cornish (360.95).

Overall the event went well. I struggled a little bit with a twisted ankle,” said Windle, who also won the boys’16-18 3-meter and 10-meter competitions in the junior open and placed second in the boys’ 16-18 1-meter and the senior men’s 3-meter. “I was walking in the dark and was going to watch some TV but didn’t want to turn on the lights. I stepped on the television remote and rolled my ankle.

“I’ve torn my triceps in a meet before and scratched a few events but I’ve never had anything like this. This was crazy but accidents like this will happen. You just have to keep working through it.”

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Windle had a noticeable hobble when he stepped off the awards podium after the 10-meter. However, his only sign of weakness during the competition came on his final dive as he scored a 54 on a back 2 1/2 somersault 2 1/2 twist pike. He said he experienced a sharp, throbbing pain on the side of his right ankle, which affected him more on the springboard than in the platform finals.

“You have to forget about it and push it aside. I could have scratched the event and healed up a little easier but in my heart I felt like I could do this,” Windle said. “That’s what I did.”

“On the last dive of the platform competition, my ankle kind of gave on the push and it affected the dive. I kind of gave up some points on that one. Other than that, I was really happy with my performance.”

Despite being a stronger competitor in platform diving, Windle said he enjoys the 3-meter event better.

“I was probably built a little better for platform diving. With the height I have, I am able to spin faster off the tower,” Windle said, adding with a laugh. “But I absolutely hate heights. When I was 13, I cried on the Ferris wheel. In diving you go off the board and you try to handle the fear.”

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Maria Coburn competes in the women's 3-meter springboard final at the 2017 USA Diving National Championships on Aug. 12, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio.

There’s something to be said for diving angry. Maria Coburn used her disappointment at placing second in the 1-meter springboard on Tuesday to propel herself to the senior women’s title in the 3-meter on Saturday. Coburn scored a personal best 328.55 to distance herself from Rebecca Hamperian (270.45) and Hailey Hernandez (267.5).

“I was not thrilled at all (with my performance in the 1-meter),” Coburn said. “I wanted to come back from that and do what I can. This is my personal best so it was nice to get that at the end of the season. It was nice to end on a good note.”

The highlight of Coburn’s 3-meter performance was scoring a 69 on her reverse 2 1/2 somersault pike, a dive she had been struggling with in her training sessions leading up to the meet.

 “I was pretty happy with that,” Coburn said. “I got a nice takeoff and I was able to put it in the water really well.”

To win the title, Coburn shook the cobwebs of her 1-meter performance out of her head. In that competition, she held a 221.7-217.2 lead over Alison Gibson going into the final round. Gibson scored 54.6 on a forward 1 1/2 somersault 2 twist free on her final dive while Coburn had her worst dive of the final day of the 1-meter, scoring a 37.95 on a back 1/2 somersault pike.

“I came out late and over on my final dive (in the 1-meter),” Coburn said. “I tried to put that in the back of my head and think today is a different day and a different event. I’ve had a couple of mental blocks on some dives but I have been able to overcome that recently. I have to trick myself into believe that I can do it. It’s a confidence thing.”

Paul Batterson is sportswriter from Columbus, Ohio. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.