DALLAS -- Katrina Young prevailed Saturday afternoon in a close battle to capture the women’s 10-meter platform title – her first senior national title – at the USA Diving Senior National Championships in Dallas by saving her two best performances for her final two dives.
On her fourth dive, an inward 3 ½-somersault tuck, Young scored a 76.80. She then punctuated her afternoon with a 75.20 on her final dive, a back 2 ½-somersault 1½-twist pike.
The 2016 Olympian finished with 359 points, 2.60 points ahead of second-place Tarrin Gilliland, who finished with 356.40 points. The championship meet, held at the Robson and Lindley Aquatic Center on the SMU campus, is part of the Team USA Summer Champions Series presented by Xfinity.
As part of the Summer Champions Series, the women’s 10-meter platform final was televised live on NBC. The men’s 10-meter final will be shown live at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, also on NBC.
“It kind of just worked out (that way that my two highest scores came on my final two dives),” said the 26-year-old Young, who earned a music degree from Florida State in 2015 and plans to pursue that passion after diving. “I want every dive to be as good as it possibly can be. But I really felt comfortable going into the last two rounds because I do feel confident on those dives.”
The 15-year-old Gilliland, however, fought until the end for the title. The Texas native scored 81.60 on each of her final two dives, executing the same two dives as Young to finish out the final.
“Pretty happy with my performance, just staying consistent throughout the whole competition,” said Gilliland, who teamed with Jessica Parratto to win the synchro final on Thursday.
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In that final two days ago, Young and Olivia Rosendahl finished second, and Young was happy to win an individual title Saturday.
“The individual competition is definitely a little different from synchro. You’re up there on your own, you’re putting it out there, you’re vulnerable for everyone to watch,” Young said. “It felt really good to put on a great performance today.”
The next stop for Young and Gilliland is Wuhan, China for the FINA Diving World Cup from June 5-10. This trip will mark Young’s second excursion to China this year.
“I went to Beijing in March to do a synchronized World Series competition and I really like it,” Young said. “We’re going to a different city, but I’m excited to go back. It’s going to be fun.”
Capobianco Finds Consistency In Men’s 3-meter Springboard Final
Andrew Capobianco found the consistency he was seeking, scoring 70 or more points on five of his six dives to win the men’s 3-meter springboard national title.
“The biggest thing (my coach) told me was just stay consistent and not let one little miss get in my head, just take it one dive at a time and never count myself out,” Capobianco said.
Capobianco’s top score was the 89.25 he earned on his fifth drive, a reverse 1 ½-somersault, 3 ½-twist free.
“That’s my favorite dive, so I was just really happy that I hit it because in the semifinal I kind of missed it, so I was happy to show that I can do that dive well,” Capobianco said.
Capobianco, who finished with 446.90 points, edged former Indiana University teammate Michael Hixon by 2.35 points for the championship.
“Yeah, we were teammates (until earlier this year), we train together,” said Hixon, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist in synchro. “To see him dive like that, that’s got to be a (personal record) for him. With how tightly they were judging, to go PR is awesome. Great job to him, congratulations. He dove awesome.”
That respect between the fellow Hoosiers is clearly mutual.
“Yeah, it’s been great to be at IU and train with (Hixon) every day, to just see how hard he works and to try to mimic that in my training,” Capobianco said. “To be out there and get 1-2 with him is really special.”
Capobianco and Hixon will both compete in the World Cup in less than a month.
“I’ve never been to China before, but very excited to go to the World Cup,” Hixon said. “We have a really strong team this year, a lot of young kids, a lot of really good people going. It’ll be great.”
Stephen Hunt is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.