Kristian Ipsen 5th, Michael Hixon 10th in 3-meter finals at Olympic Games

By USA Diving | Aug. 16, 2016, 8:04 p.m. (ET)

                RIO DE JANEIRO – For the first time since 2000, the U.S. had two divers place in the top 10 in the men’s 3-meter final at an Olympic Games when Kristian Ipsen (Clayton, Calif./Stanford, Calif.) placed fifth and Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass./Bloomington, Ind.) took 10th Tuesday night at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center.
                China’s Cao Yuan won the gold with 547.60 points, with Great Britain’s Jack Laugher taking the silver at 523.85. Germany’s Patrick Hausding scored 498.90 for the bronze.  
                Ipsen finished with 475.80 points for fifth while Hixon’s 431.65 points put him 10th in the final standings, giving the U.S. two top-10 finishes for the first time since Troy Dumais was sixth and Mark Ruiz was seventh in Sydney 16 years ago.
                Ipsen had placed third in the preliminaries and was seventh in the semifinals before upgrading his list for the finals. He took a risk and swapped out his front 2 ½ with 2 twists for a front 2 1/2 with 3 twists, adding an extra .5 to his degree of difficulty in the finals. He scored 89.70 points on the dive, which he had been struggling with but still opted to take a chance on in the finals. In all, Ipsen scored 72 or more points on all six of his dives in the finals, including 77 points on a reverse 3 1/2, a dive he scored just 40.25 points on in the morning semifinals.  
                “I’m happy with my performance. It was definitely better than my semifinal. I’m happy that I came back and hit the dive that I missed really bad in the semifinal,” Ipsen said. “I’m also happy that I decided to switch my last round dive to triple out because I hit it and I think it scored more than I would have if I stayed with the double out. I haven’t hit (the triple out) all week. That was the first time all week that I hit it, so I think that was my face of shock. I was so happy to hit it. I was super stoked.”
                Ipsen was seventh in the morning semifinals before coming back to improve to fifth in the finals. After a challenging preliminary round the night before, Ipsen said the semifinals were a little tough on him Tuesday morning.
                “It was a pretty quick turnaround this morning from the really long, windy event last night to the semifinals this morning and so I felt way more ready to go in the finals. I think this morning it was a little tough to get fired up,” Ipsen said.  
                Hixon was fourth in the morning semifinals but struggled with consistency in the finals. He had two dives score more than 80 points in the finals, but also had three that scored between just 60 and 65 points.
                “I felt like I underperformed, but it was a good experience and I took a lot away from it. I would say I probably missed three out of six dives, so there’s a lot more to be done. Consistency is the name of the game. At this level, everybody can do big dives and do them well. It’s all about what’s going on up here in the brain,” Hixon said.
                Hixon won a silver medal in synchronized 3-meter earlier in the games, and with two years of NCAA eligibility remaining at Indiana University, he intends to continue diving.
                “This has been an awesome experience. Obviously there were things I could have done better here and there in all of my events, but overall, this was a great experience,” Hixon said of his first Olympics.
                Ipsen, a two-time Olympian who won a synchronized 3-meter bronze four years ago in London, said he isn’t sure if he will make a run for a third games in Tokyo.  
                “I’m taking a significant break. We’ll see if that Olympic spark comes back, but I’m definitely going to take a break after this,” Ipsen said. 
                Diving competition at the Olympic Games continues through August 20. Wednesday’s action features USA’s Jessica Parratto (Dover, N.H./Bloomington, Ind.) and Katrina Young (Shoreline, Wash./Tallahassee, Fla.) in the women’s 10-meter preliminaries.