KYIV, Ukraine – Hailey Hernandez (Southlake, Texas) won the silver medal in the girls’ group B 1-meter event Monday at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships, and two other U.S. divers advanced to finals on the second day of competition.
Hernandez scored 347.45 points for the 1-meter silver behind China’s Lai Shiyun, who took first with 372.75 points. Elizaveta Kanso of Russia finished four points behind Hernandez for the bronze.
“I’m very excited and happy. It’s such an honor to represent America,” Hernandez said. “I just tried to stay focused on one dive at a time and do them how I know I can.”
Hernandez scored more than 50 points on each of her three dives in the final, including a key dive in the last round. Lai was solidly in first place and Hernandez was second with one round to go, but just 3.10 points separated second from fourth. China’s He Yanwei missed her reverse 1 ½ pike to drop out of the medal hunt, while Kanso scored 50.70 points on a front 1 ½ with two twists. Hernandez came through with 51.60 points on her inward 1 ½ pike to maintain her second-place standing. She had 54.60 points on her front 2 ½ pike and 54 points on her reverse 1 ½ pike in the first two rounds.
“I did (look at scores) going into the last round, so I knew I just had to try to do the best I could,” Hernandez said.
Daryn Wright (Plainfield, Ind.) also advanced to the 1-meter final and finished 10th with 313.90 points, highlighted by a reverse 1 ½ pike that scored 52.80 points.
Jack Matthews (Powell, Ohio) advanced to the boys’ group A 3-meter final and scored 485.15 points for 11th. He scored 63 points or higher on four of his five dives in the final, including 65.10 points on his opening-round front 3 ½ pike and 64.50 points on a back 2 ½ pike, but missed his reverse 2 ½ pike. Colombia’s Daniel Restrepo scored 583.35 for gold, edging China’s Wu Luxian by .85 points. Lian Junjie, also of China, took bronze at 570.40.
Lyle Yost (Shaker Heights, Ohio) also competed in the boys’ group A 3-meter event and finished 22nd in the prelims with 450.55 points. He scored 61.50 points on his inward 2 ½ pike and added 57.35 points on a front 1 ½ with one twist.
The FINA World Junior Diving Championships continue through July 29. Hernandez and Wright compete again Tuesday in the group B platform event. Tuesday’s action also includes Matthews and Manuel Borowski (McLean, Va.) in boys’ synchronized 3-meter and Maria Coburn (Round Rock, Texas) and Sophie McAfee (San Marino, Calif.) in the girls’ group A 1-meter event.