(L-R) Wei Lu (China), Yuxi Chen (China) and Delaney Schnell pose during the medal ceremony for the women's 10-meter platform final of the 2019 FINA World Championships on July 17, 2019 in Gwangju, South Korea.
Having already locked up an Olympic diving quota spot in women’s 10-meter platform for Team USA, 20-year-old Delaney Schnell planned to just have fun in Wednesday’s final at the FINA World Championships.
The aftermath was probably even more fun as Schnell celebrated winning the bronze medal in Gwangju, South Korea. It was not only her first world championship medal, but also the first for the United States in the event since Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson won the world title in 2005.
Schnell finished with a total score of 364.20 behind a pair of 13-year-old Chinese divers. Chen Yuxi scored a 439.00 and Lu Wei finished with 377.80 points.
This was Schnell’s first time making the final at the world championships after finishing 27th in her debut in 2017.
The performance was a big step up for Schnell, who dives for the University of Arizona, from Tuesday’s semifinal. There she scored 317.35 points, well off the pace in eighth place. Between that and teammate Amy Magaña finishing in 12th place, they secured a pair of Olympic quota spots for the United States.
“Team USA got two Olympic spots and those are the first two individual (diving) spots for the 2020 Olympic Games, so it feels pretty good to set the pace,” Schnell told USA Diving.
The world championships are the first opportunity for divers to earn quota spots for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The top 12 finishers earn quota spots, while the individual divers who take the spots for the U.S. will be determined at next year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Diving.
Schnell was never below seventh place in Wednesday’s final. She was third after three dives then slipped to fifth place going into her fifth and final dive. She nabbed her second-highest score of the final with a 76.80 to finish four points ahead of Australia’s Melissa Wu.
Magaña finished in 11th place.
Also on Wednesday, both Olympic gold medalist David Boudia and Olympic medalist Michael Hixon made it into the men’s 3-meter springboard final in fourth and 12th place in the semifinal, respectively, therefore earning two more quota spots for the United States.
Schnell’s was the fourth medal for the U.S. at the world championships. Olympian Katrina Young and Murphy Bromberg won bronze and picked up an Olympic quota spot in the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform on Sunday. Young and Andrew Capobianco partnered for bronze in the mixed 3-meter/10-meter platform on Tuesday and Sarah Bacon won the first medal for the U.S. on Saturday in the women’s 1-meter springboard. Neither mixed diving nor 1-meter springboard are Olympic events.