DALLAS -- Grayson Campbell and Gregory Duncan patiently awaited their opportunity in the men’s 3-meter synchro final at the 2018 USA Diving Senior National Championships, and when it surfaced, they capitalized.
After reigning Olympic silver medalists Sam Dorman and Michael Hixon scored 46.92 on their fourth drive, an inward 3 ½ somersault tuck, Campbell and Duncan started figuring they had a chance to unseat the favorites.
“Diving’s all about worrying about yourself because you can’t really dictate what anybody else does,” Duncan said. “We just tried to focus on what we could do, focus on how to do it, and hopefully the end result would be there.”
On their last dive of the finals, a forward 2 ½ somersault 2 twist pike, Campbell and Duncan delivered their highest score, 82.62, giving them a total of 383.19.
“We were playing a little number game back behind the board before we did our last dive,” Campbell said. “We knew what our position was going into that dive. We knew how close it was. We looked at each other and said, ‘This is what we got to do, we need 80-plus points on this last dive. Let’s go get it, let’s go deliver.’ We did a really good job. That was our only 80-point dive of the day. We did (save the best for last).”
Dorman and Hixon scored 78.66 on their final dive, a forward 4 ½ somersault tuck, leaving them 8.40 behind Campbell and Duncan, who captured the title at nationals, part of the Team USA Summer Champions Series presented by Xfinity, at the Robson & Lindley Aquatic Center on the Southern Methodist University campus.
As part of the Summer Champions Series, the women’s 10-meter platform final will be televised Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, with men’s 10-meter broadcast 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, both on NBC.
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“This is our third or fourth synchro (event) together,” Campbell said. “We won the winter national championships in the synchro event. These guys (Dorman and Hixon) weren’t there last time. This was definitely a new challenge that we were ready to face, some bigger competitors. Obviously, (they’re) Olympic silver medalists, so they’re going to push us to the best of our capabilities and hopefully we can push them too. In the end, we wanted to come out here and push them as far as we could.”
With the highest cumulative score throughout the competition, though, Dorman and Hixon earned the spot at the 2018 FINA Diving World Cup in China from June 5-10.
Texas Flavor In The Women’s 10-meter Synchro Final
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, an adage Jessica Parratto and Tarrin Gilliland proved true in winning the synchronized women’s platform final on Thursday afternoon.
On their first dive, a reverse dive pike, Olivia Rosendahl and Katrina Young scored 43.80, which put them slightly ahead of Parratto and Gilliland, who scored 40.80 on the same dive.
However, Parratto, a 2016 Olympian, and Gilliland found their groove on their next four dives, capturing first place with a 50.40 on a back dive pike, and then delivering their best score of the finals, 74.88 on their fourth dive, an inward 3 ½ somersault tuck.
Parratto and Gilliland’s final score was 299.94, 41.16 ahead of Rosendahl and Young (also a 2016 Olympian), who finished second.
“I was really happy with our performance,” Parratto said. “(We have) just a few more things to sharpen up on, but overall, I was really happy. Pretty quick turnaround to go to China for World Cup (in June), but I think this gives us a really good platform to have a good performance there.”
This victory was extra special for Gilliland, who hails from Midland, Texas, about five hours west of Dallas and had a sizeable cheering section in attendance.
“All my family came and close relatives,” an ecstatic Gilliland said. “It was nice just to have a huge crowd cheering us on and helping us get through our dives.”
Parratto, who is a native of New Hampshire but has made several trips to Midland to see Gilliland since they started competing together a year-and-a-half ago, was also enjoying her teammate’s large and boisterous cheering section.
But she’s especially proud of the chemistry she and Gilliland have built in a relatively short time.
“I feel like she’s my little sister,” the 23-year-old Parratto joked of her 15-year-old partner. “I’m really proud of the way we can just go into competition, get things done and have a good performance. Our relationship is great. She makes me enjoy synchro that much more, so I’m just really thankful for her.”
Next stop for Parratto and Gilliland is China.
“(We’re) just now getting our mojo back and just (ready to be) killing it at World Cup,” Gilliland said.
Steven Hunt is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.