RIO DE JANEIRO – U.S. divers earned three more quota spots for Team USA for this summer’s Olympic Games on Sunday at the FINA Diving World Cup. David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) and Steele Johnson (Carmel, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) qualified the U.S. a men’s 10-meter synchro spot with their fourth-place finish in the finals, and Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass./Bloomington, Ind.) and Kristian Ipsen (Clayton, Calif./Stanford, Calif.) secured men’s 3-meter quota spots after placing ninth and 14th in the preliminaries. Also on Sunday, Murphy Bromberg (Bexley, Ohio/Austin, Texas) finished 13th in her first World final on 10-meter.
All quota spots are for the country, not the divers themselves. The U.S. will select its Olympic Team at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Diving in Indianapolis from June 18-26.
Boudia and Johnson scored 439.95 points for fourth place in the 10-meter synchro final a day after finishing an uncharacteristic ninth in preliminaries. They missed the podium by 6.45 points in a contest hampered by wind, rain and storms, but the fourth-place finish secured an Olympic berth for the United States as one of the top four countries not yet qualified in the event.
“I think after assessing (the preliminaries), sometimes you can’t explain it. Sometimes you’re off your game, but today we were ready to do what we would normally know how to do and do it under adverse situations,” Boudia said. “We were able to train in weather like this last month in Fort Lauderdale, and I think that really helped prepare us to go into this kind of final and get the spot for the United States to compete in the Olympic Games.”
The competition was delayed by storms after four rounds, and the rain continued to fall once competition resumed.
“It’s always hard. When you go into a competition, you just want to finish all six dives and be done. When you take a 30-minute break, it kind of gets you out of your game, but we’re strong mentally and we can go through it. We don’t know what our competitors can do, but we know that when we’re in these kind of conditions, we thrive off the adversity,” Boudia said.
China’s Chen Aisen and Lin Yue won gold with 456 points, with Germany’s Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein scoring 448.44 points for silver. Great Britain’s Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow won the bronze.
The U.S. picked up the individual 3-meter quota spots when Hixon and Ipsen finished in the top 18 in the morning preliminaries. Hixon finished with 418.15 points for ninth place, rallying back from 48th after the opening round. Ipsen scored 413.30 points for 14th. He was in the top 10 throughout the first four rounds, but a fifth-round miss dropped him in the standings. With 56 divers in the contest, Ipsen admitted he was getting tired near the end of the long prelims.
“It’s such a tough event. I was really happy that I was top 18 and that both Mikey and I qualified the spots for the U.S. I felt super focused throughout the first three to four rounds, but I felt like I started to lose that as time went on and as it got a little bit hotter. It was really difficult around hour three of the competition, but I’m really happy with how it went, and I’m excited for (Monday),” Ipsen said.
Bromberg scored 274.40 for 13th place in a rainy and windy 10-meter final that followed the men’s 10-meter synchro contest. China’s Ren Qian won gold with 454.65 points, earning straight 10s on her final dive and receiving at least one 10 on three other dives. Her teammate Si Yajie was second at 412.80 points, and Australia’s Melissa Wu scored 380.50 points for bronze.
Bromberg advanced to her first world final after scoring 292.20 points for 11th in the afternoon semifinals. Jessica Parratto (Dover, N.H./Bloomington, Ind.) also qualified for the semifinals and finished 17th with 270.35 points to miss out on the finals.
The FINA World Cup continues through Wednesday, February 24. Monday’s competition opens with Kassidy Cook (The Woodlands, Texas) and Abby Johnston (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Durham, N.C.) in the women’s 3-meter preliminaries, followed by Hixon and Ipsen in the men’s 3-meter semifinals. The men’s 3-meter final is also set for Monday.