USA Diving Features DIVING: Loukas finis...

DIVING: Loukas finishes fourth on 3-meter at World Cup; U.S. earns two more Olympic berths

Feb. 23, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)

Christina Loukas (Riverwoods, Ill.) scored 350.35 points for fourth place-less than half a point from a bronze medal - in the women's 3-meter finals, and the U.S. earned two more Olympic berths Saturday at the Good Luck Beijing/FINA Diving World Cup. Loukas was in ninth place after one round but slowly climbed her way into medal contention with solid dives the next three rounds. After two rounds, she was in sixth and jumped to fifth place through three rounds. In the fourth round, she scored 81 points on her reverse 2 1/2, earning a 9.5 and four 9.0s, to move up to fourth. She finished out the competition with 67.50 points on her front 2 1/2 with a twist but it wasn't quite enough to move her into the bronze medal spot, as Sharleen Stratton of Australia edged her out with 350.70 points for third. China's Wu Minxia and Guo Jingjing took gold and silver with 391.35 and 387.75 points, respectively. USA's Kelci Bryant (Chatham, Ill.) was 12th at 289.85. David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind.) and Thomas Finchum (Indianapolis) qualified the U.S. for two Olympic berths in the individual 10-meter event upon placing in the top 18 in the preliminaries. The U.S. now has secured 11 out of a maximum 12 Olympic spots. Boudia placed 10th with 457.80 points, earning 93.50 points on his reverse 3 1/2, with one judge awarding a 10. He scored 81.60 points on his inward 3 1/2, one of the dives that gave him trouble in Friday's synchronized 10-meter event. Finchum scored 443.35 points for 13th place, highlighted by an 85-point effort on his back 2 1/2 with 1 1/2 twists in the last round. They'll compete in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Sunday (9 p.m. EST), the final day of competition. Sunday's action also includes women's synchronized 3-meter, with Bryant and Ariel Rittenhouse (Santa Cruz, Calif.) trying to earn the U.S. an Olympic qualifying spot. To do so, they'll need to finish among the top four teams other than China, Australia, Germany and the Ukraine, which have already qualified. Olympic qualifying spots are earned for the federations, not the divers themselves. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Diving will be held June 18-22 in Indianapolis, with a selection camp to follow July 2-6 in Knoxville, Tenn. - USA Diving - Featuring America's best divers, USA Diving is the national governing body for the sport of diving. Headquartered in Indianapolis, USA Diving offers diversified programs geared toward the broadest number of diving enthusiasts, from the novice to the world champion. USA Diving conducts approximately 40 regional and national events annually and is responsible for training and selecting teams that represent the United States at international events such as the Olympic Games, World Championships and World Cup. For more information, visit www.usadiving.org.