INDIANAPOLIS – David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) and Steele Johnson (Carmel, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) won men’s 10-meter synchro by more than 100 points, while Abby Johnston (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Durham, N.C.) and Laura Ryan (Elk River, Minn./Athens, Ga.) won women’s 3-meter synchro by just 0.6 points as the USA Diving Winter National Championships continued Wednesday.
With their wins, the pairs also qualified for the FINA Diving World Cup in Rio de Janeiro in February, where they will look to qualify the United States for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Ryan and Johnston scored 587.40 points over two lists to edge Ariel Rittenhouse (Santa Cruz, Calif./Stanford, Calif.) and Qiongjie Drew (Santa Clara, Calif.), who finished with 586.80 points.
Johnston and Ryan were in second place and trailed Rittenhouse and Drew after the morning preliminaries, but less than seven points separated the top three teams heading into the finals. Johnston, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist in synchronized 3-meter, and Ryan had dropped to third with one round to go in the finals but the gap had been closed. Just 5.07 points stood between first and third. Emma Ivory-Ganja (The Woodlands, Texas/Austin, Texas) and Kassidy Cook (The Woodlands, Texas), the leaders heading into the last round, dove first and scored just 58.50 points on a front 2 ½ with one twist to open the door. Johnston and Ryan came up with 72 points on the same dive, before Rittenhouse and Drew closed out their list with 68.40 points on a back 2 ½ pike.
“We knew it was really close and it was a stressful meet. We knew it was really close and we had to hit that last dive, but we’ve been practicing for stressful situations. We did a practice meet two weeks ago and they made us stop in the middle of it and told us we needed a certain amount of points to win. So tonight, it was like we’d done this before,” Johnston said.
Boudia and Johnson scored 874.08 points over two lists of dives to claim the 10-meter synchro title, with Jordan Windle (Morrisville, N.C./Durham, N.C.) and David Dinsmore (New Albany, Ohio/Coral Gables, Fla.) finishing second at 771.69. Zach Cooper (Greenwood, Ind./Indianapolis, Ind.) and Tanner Wilfong (Hershey, Pa./Coral Gables, Fla.) were third at 709.32.
Boudia and Johnson led 437.31-385.80 after the afternoon preliminaries and extended their lead with 436.77 points in the finals. They opened the finals with four 10s on their inward dive pike for 57 points and scored more than 80 points on three of their four optional dives, highlighted by 89.64 points on their last dive – a back 2 ½ with 2 ½ twists.
“I’ve been pretty focused on this meet knowing it’s step one in qualifying for the Olympics. This meet, then World Cup and then, hopefully, the Olympics. I’ve been working hard for this meet, but now it’s time to focus on step two,” Johnson said.
The USA Diving Winter National Championships continue through Sunday, December 20. Thursday's competition begins at 10 a.m. and features individual preliminaries and semifinals in women’s 10-meter and men’s 3-meter.