Jessica Parratto places 11th in World Championships platform final

By USA Diving | July 19, 2017, 7:32 p.m. (ET)

BUDAPEST, Hungary – Jessica Parratto (Dover, N.H./Bloomington, Ind.) finished 11th in the women’s platform final Wednesday at the FINA World Championships.

Parratto scored 302.35 in the final, which was won by Jun Hoong Cheong of Malaysia with 397.50 points. China picked up silver and bronze, with Si Yajie scoring 396 for second and Ren Qian taking third at 391.95.

Parratto was using the World Championships to gain international experience competing a new difficult dive. Although it went well in Tuesday’s semifinals to push her into the finals, she wasn’t a successful on Wednesday. After scoring 81 points on her back 3 ½ pike for her highest score in the semifinals, she earned just 43.20 points on the same dive in the finals.

Still, the 2016 Olympian was pleased she had the opportunity to compete the new dive and said the experience will pay off down the road.

“It wasn’t my best today. The goal for this year was to use this dive, and the fact that it put me into the final was awesome. I’ve only been doing it since the beginning of this year, so hopefully the experience with it will help me and be a big payoff in the future,” Parratto said. “With more experience, I’m sure it will keep getting better and I’ll have more confidence with it. But it was awesome that I got to show it to the world and kind of change the game of women’s platform a little bit.”

Parratto also struggled with her armstand triple back somersault for the second day in a row, but hit her front 3 ½ pike for 72 points and scored 70.40 points on her back 2 ½ with 1 ½ in her first individual final at a World Championships. She was 21st on 10-meter at the 2015 World Championships and finished 15th in 2011.

Also on Wedneday, Steele Johnson (Carmel, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) advanced to the men’s 3-meter semifinals and finished 18th with 394.55 points.

A 2016 Olympian in individual and synchronized 10-meter, Johnson was competing in springboard events for the first time at a senior international meet. Earlier in the week, he placed seventh in the 1-meter final.

“It was not my best day, but the encouraging thing is I got four good hurdles and six good takeoffs, including the back and the inward, so that’s a little victory. It wasn’t the result I wanted, but there were little things we’ve been working on over the past few months that went really well today, so I’m happy with that,” Johnson said. “But this is my first World Championships and first international meet on the springboards, so walking away with seventh place on 1-meter and 18th place on 3-meter is not bad for doing 10-meter for the past 10 years of my life.”

Johnson won NCAA titles on both springboard events while competing for Purdue University in 2017 and plans to keep training springboard.
       
“I’m really encouraged. This is only the beginning. I’ll be back with bigger dives, with a stronger body, and hopefully better results. I can’t wait to get home and train,” he said.

After winning silver in synchronized 10-meter and placing 13th individually on the 10-meter platform at last year’s Olympic Games, Johnson also plans to continue training the event he’s been known for.  

“I’m just kind of walking along with it and training it all. I’m not any specific board diver, especially with all the college meets we’ve had. I’ve been a springboard diver for a long time in those meets, and I’ve also been a tower diver in those. I’m not one or the other. Today I was a springboard diver, but when I get home, I’m going to be an everything diver,” said Johnson, who also competed synchronized 10-meter in Budapest.

Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass./Bloomington, Ind.) just missed the cut after finishing 20th with 397.45 points in the 3-meter preliminaries and did not advance to the semifinals. Hixon, who earlier in the championships placed fifth in the 1-meter final and took sixth with Sam Dorman in synchronized 3-meter, scored more than 74 points on three of his six dives but had three other dives that received scores of 5s and 5.5s from the judges.

Diving competition at the World Championships continues through July 22. Friday’s action features women’s 3-meter preliminaries and semifinals, with Krysta Palmer (Carson City, Nev./Reno, Nev.) and Brooke Schultz (Fayetteville, Ark.) representing the United States in that event.