TORONTO – U.S divers won a pair of bronze medals in synchronized diving events at the Pan American Games on Monday, the final day of diving competition at the games.
Deidre Freeman (Grinnell, Iowa/Iowa City, Iowa) and Maren Taylor (Arlington, Va./Austin, Texas) won bronze in women’s synchronized 3-meter, while Cory Bowersox (Burke, Va./Austin, Texas) and Zac Nees (Hatfield, Pa./State College, Pa.) were third in men’s synchronized 3-meter.
Freeman and Taylor finished with 293.10 points, third behind Mexico’s Paola Espinosa and Dolores Hernandez (301.20) and Canada’s Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware (298.23). Freeman and Taylor’s score was their career best in an international competition, topping their previous best of 286.80 from the 2014 FINA Canada Cup. The Pan Am bronze was their third international bronze medal together, having also won bronze at the 2014 Canada Cup and 2014 Malaysia Grand Prix.
The Americans were in second place after round three, when they scored 69.30 points on their back 2 ½ pike. The Canadians overtook them in the fourth round when they scored 73.47 points on a front 3 ½ pike, while Freeman and Taylor received 62.10 points on a reverse 2 ½ pike to move to third. They held onto the bronze medal spot with 65.70 points on their final dive, a front 2 ½ with one twist.
“We were consistent, and that’s what we strive for. These are some really good teams, and we’re really proud we stayed close to them in the scores. Deidre and I don’t live in the same place, so we don’t get to practice together as often as some other teams do, but we have similar styles so that helps a lot,” said Taylor, who took fifth in Sunday’s individual 3-meter event.
The men’s 3-meter synchro bronze was the first international medal for Bowersox and Nees, who have won two national championships together. They scored 385.38 points for third behind Mexico’s Rommel Pacheco and Jahir Ocampo (438.27) and Canada’s Philippe Gagne and Francois Imbeau-Dulac (413.37).
The Americans prevailed in a close contest with Colombia’s Sebastian Morales and Sebastian Villa and Brazil’s Cesar Castro and Ian Matos for the bronze medal. With two rounds to go, less than half a point separated the three teams, with Colombia in third and USA in fifth. Bowersox and Nees scored 76.38 points on their front 4 ½ tuck in round five, moving them into third place with one dive to go. They finished out their list with an inward 3 ½ tuck that earned 75.48 points to keep them in the third spot. Brazil finished fourth with 374.61, while Colombia took fifth at 371.64.
“I’ve been to three international competitions previously for synchro and got fourth place twice and fifth once, so I’m happy to finally get on the podium. We knew how close it was. At the end of every round, we looked. We’re both pretty mathematically oriented, so it’s good for us to know the numbers to help us focus on what’s coming next and where we stand,” said Nees, who earned a degree in computer science from Miami in 2014. Bowersox is an engineering major at Texas.
Also on Monday, Samantha “Murphy” Bromberg (Bexley, Ohio/Austin, Texas) and Delaney Schnell (Tucson, Ariz.) took fourth in women’s synchronized 10-meter, while Zach Cooper (Greenwood, Ind.) and Ryan Hawkins (Charlotte, N.C./Blacksburg, Va.) were fifth in men’s synchronized 10-meter.
Bromberg and Schnell scored 287.82 points, just .09 points out of the women’s 10-meter synchro bronze medal in their first meet together as a synchro team.
“It was really close and that was tough, but it’s just going to make us work that much harder as we focus on the big picture,” Schnell said.
Canada’s Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalists, won gold with 316.89 points. Brazil’s Ingrid De Oliveira and Giovanna Pedroso were second at 291.36, while 2012 Olympic silver medalists Paola Espinosa and Alejandra Orozco of Mexico scored 287.91 to edge the U.S. team for the final spot on the podium.
Cooper and Hawkins, competing together internationally for the first time, scored 348.39 points for fifth in the men’s 10-meter synchro final.
“I thought we had a great performance overall. We both had some really good dives except for our reverse, which we both missed. This was such a talented field. We were competing against a bunch of Olympians, and we had a lot a fun,” Hawkins said.
Cuba’s Jose Guerra and Jeinkler Aguirre won the gold with 439.14 points, while Canada’s Philippe Gagne and Vincent Riendeau scored 404.34 points for the silver. Colombia’s Victor Ortega and Juan Rios rounded out the podium with 403.23 points for bronze.With the conclusion of the Pan American Games, many of the team members will next be in action at the AT&T USA Diving National Diving Championships in Orlando, Fla., from August 11-13. Bromberg will also compete at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, later this month.