INDIANAPOLIS – Brandon Loschiavo was crowned the men’s 10-meter champion while Brooke Schultz won the women’s 3-meter title at USA Diving Senior National Championships, part of the Team USA Champions Series, presented by Xfinity, on Sunday in Indianapolis.
In the 10-meter, Loschiavo, who was second at nationals in 2018, grabbed a three-point edge with his third dive, scoring an 86.70 on his reverse 3 ½, and held on from there for the win.
Loschiavo edged David Dinsmore, a 2018 World Cup bronze medalist, and Steele Johnson, an Olympic silver medalist in synchro, for the event crown but finished second in the overall points tally, which includes preliminary and semifinal scores. Dinsmore, who won the 2018 U.S. title, managed a cumulative score of 1,381.35 (453.30 prelims, 466.80 semis, 461.25 final), while Loschiavo posted a 1,334.35 total score (417.05 prelims, 453.30 semis, 464.00 final). Both men will represent the United States at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea in July.
Dinsmore is a rising senior at Miami and Loschiavo a rising senior at Purdue.
“Winning a national title feels good,” Loschiavo said. “We had some issues within the NCAA diving season, so it is just good to see I am back on my stride. We did a lot of mental work and my coach (Adam Soldati) just hammered in corrections. I have the experience and confidence (of competing at worlds in synchro in 2017) and I know the feelings and thoughts I will have when I go there, especially competing against all these people from other countries who are fantastic at diving. A good kick in the butt from NCAAs and doing well at this diving competition really helped me so I know how to think when I get to that meet.”
Loschiavo, who was third in the preliminary round but scored at least a 70 on all six of his finals dives, says mental toughness and a better warm-up were key in his consistency over the final two rounds en route to the title.
“I was just shooting to make it to worlds, so I was just happy to get the result that I had,” Loschiavo said. “It was my front that I struggled with (in the prelims) – I was just kind of nervous going into it and haven’t been able to get the numbers I want off of it. So I came into it just hoping for the best, but not really in the best mindset to do it properly. After I got that off, we started warming it up properly and with a new mindset, so from there it was just about being confident in myself.”
Dinsmore, who finished sixth at the world championships in 2017, notched the high score of the afternoon with an 88.20 on his second dive of the day, an armstand back 2 somersaults with 2 ½ twists.
Despite scoring a 63.00 on his fourth dive, Dinsmore was still within striking distance of Loschiavo for the national title, needing 89.15 points on his final dive, a back 2 ½ somersault, 2 ½ twist in pike position. In the end, he managed an 86.40, falling less than three points short.
“These are probably the most consistent three lists I have had in a while, so I am really happy with how things went,” Dinsmore said. “(Heading into the last dive) I knew I had a chance to get into the top two because I like to do the math in my head while I am competing, and I just wanted to go out with a last good dive. I just wanted to focus on each dive in the moment and try not to think about the end game and that seemed to work for me today.
“I just need to get home and practice a little more and sharpen up the axe a little bit, just a few minor things here and there to get more consistent."
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In the women’s 3-meter, Schultz won her fourth national title and second in the 3-meter individual, scoring 315.60 in the final, edging Maria Coburn by .15 points (315.45) and Sarah Bacon, who scored 307.90.
Schultz, who finished third in the 1-meter individual and 3-meter synchro competitions earlier in the week, was the top overall scorer across the three rounds of competition (926.55 – including 321.60 in the prelims and 289.35 in the semis). Bacon followed with 912.10 points overall (294.60 prelims, 309.60 semis). Both women will represent Team USA on 3-meter at worlds.
Schultz recently completed her sophomore season at Arkansas and Bacon her junior season for Minnesota.
“It was a bumpy first part of the week for me, so I just wanted to stay calm, to continue to stay consistent and dive well and do what I knew how to do, and thankfully the results turned out in my favor,” Schultz said. “I was just trying to focus on myself and just hit all of my dives, and not on what everyone else was doing, because then I start overthinking things. It ended up being really close.”
Schultz has her eyes set on bettering her 25th-place effort from the 2017 world championships.
“Going into world championships two years ago, I thought I was doing really well, but I didn’t compete as well as I had hoped to,” Schultz said. “So I would really like to go back and prove that I have improved and be able to stay confident and do what I know how to do on that stage. There are lots of things to work on this summer, mainly all the little things that I do in practice that sometimes slip my mind in meets, but I am ready.”
Bacon, who won the 1-meter national title earlier in the week, says she is satisfied with her efforts at nationals but has more work to do for worlds.
“I don’t think the week really could have gone better for me,” Bacon said. “I won the 1-meter, which is what we came here wanting to do. Then our next goal was to make the worlds team on 3-meter, which I also ended up doing. There were a couple of dives in there on 3-meter which I wish I would have hit better, but overall it was a very good performance and my coach and I are very happy with it.
“I just wanted to hit all my dives the best I could and hopefully the results ended up the way we wanted them to end up and it seemed to work out that way. I think my mental game on 3-meter needs to get a little bit stronger going into worlds and I need to get a little bit more confident on my dives and then I should be good.”
Wendy Mayer is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.