BUDAPEST, Hungary – Olympic silver medalists Sam Dorman (Tempe, Ariz./Miami, Fla.) and Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass./Bloomington, Ind.) finished sixth in men’s synchronized 3-meter and Andrew Capobianco (Holly Springs, N.C.) and Tarrin Gilliland (Midland, Texas) finished 10th in the mixed synchronized 10-meter event Saturday at the FINA World Championships.
Dorman and Hixon scored 409.05 points to finish sixth after being in the hunt for a medal for most of the contest. They were in third place, holding nearly a 10-point lead over fourth, with one dive remaining but missed their final dive.
“I saw the scoreboard and watched the scores, which I shouldn’t have. I put pressure on myself, and I choked. That’s about it,” Dorman said.
Just 62.45 points on their front 4 ½ tuck dropped them to sixth in the final standings.
The Russian pair of Ilia Zakharov and Evgenii Kuznetsov finished with 450.30 points for gold, scoring 100.32 points on their front 4 ½ tuck in the last round to overtake the Chinese pair of Cao Yuan and Xie Siyi, who ended up second with 443.40 points. The Ukrainian duo of Illya Kvasha and Oleg Kolodiy jumped from sixth to third with 96.90 points on their front 4 ½ tuck in the last round to claim bronze with 429.99 points.
Aside from the last-round miss, the Americans had a solid performance throughout the day. They qualified for the finals after finishing third behind the Chinese and Russian teams and were in third place after three of the six rounds in the final. After two rounds, the Americans were tied for third with 101.40 points. They took sole possession of third with 84.66 points on their third-round front 2 ½ with two twists. They dropped to fourth by less than two points after round four and moved back into third place with 83.64 points on their inward 3 ½ tuck in round five but couldn’t come through with a podium finish with the last-round miss.
Gilliland and Capobianco scored 300.12 points in mixed synchronized 10-meter in their first World Championships. China’s Ren Qian and Lian Junjie won gold with 352.98 points, and Great Britain’s Lois Toulson and Matthew Lee scored 323.28 for the silver. North Korea’s Kim Mi Rae and Hyon Myong rounded out the medalists with 318.12 points.
The American teens scored 75.84 points on their final dive, a back 2 ½ with 1 ½ twists, and scored more than 60 points on their other two optional dives.
“I thought we were both really comfortable up there, and it was a great experience for both of us. It was our first international meet doing mixed synchro, and I think for being the first time, it went really well,” Capobianco said.
Gilliland, who at 14 is the youngest diver on the U.S. team, said she will learn from this experience. She competes again Sunday in women’s synchronized 10-meter.
“It was a lot of just getting this under our belt and just working with each other and seeing what we can do. I think we could have done a little bit better, but it’s a learning experience,” said Gilliland, who added that she hopes to feel more comfortable and improve her inward for the women’s synchronized 10-meter contest.
Gilliland will pair with Jessica Parratto (Dover, N.H./Bloomington, Ind.) in the women’s synchronized 10-meter preliminaries at 10 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) on Sunday, with finals set for that evening. Hixon and Steele Johnson (Carmel, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) will dive in Sunday’s men’s 1-meter final at 3:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET) after qualifying with fifth and 12th-place finishes in Friday’s preliminary. Diving events at the World Championships continue through July 22.