KYIV, Ukraine – Tyler Downs (Ballwin, Mo.) won a silver medal and two other U.S. divers turned in top-six finishes Wednesday at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships.
Downs scored 452.35 points to win silver in the boys’ group B 1-meter contest, giving Team USA its third medal of the championships. China’s Long Daoyi scored 466.80 points for gold, with bronze going to Mexico’s Osmar Olvera at 413.90. USA’s Max Weinrich (Brookeville, Md.) finished fourth with 396.45 points.
“It was amazing. I was really anxious, but at the same time I just wanted to focus on doing my dives the best I could,” Downs said.
Downs had a strong effort in the final, receiving marks of 7, 7 ½, or 8 from every judge on all four of his dives. His inward 2 ½ tuck scored 71.30 points, and his reverse 1 ½ with 2 ½ twists earned 70.50 points. He scored no higher than 54.60 points on any of his dives in the preliminaries, in which he placed third.
“I knew I could do (my optionals) better. I had a steady prelim, but my final was the best competition I’ve had in a while. I got good hurdles on my dives, and I was very excited,” Downs said.
Weinrich, who took second in the preliminaries, was in eighth place with two rounds remaining in the final. He closed out his list with an inward 1 ½ pike that earned 51.60 points and a front 2 ½ pike that went for 61.10 points to move him up to fourth in the final standings.
Bridget O’Neil (Southlake, Texas) advanced to the girls’ group A 3-meter final and placed sixth with 422.60 points. China took the top two spots, with Lin Shan winning at 503.15 and Ma Tong scoring 487.30 points for silver. Australia’s Alysha Koloi was third at 432.30.
O’Neil scored no lower than 54.60 on her four dives in the finals and earned marks of 58.50 on both her inward 2 ½ pike and her front 2 ½ with one twist. She also placed sixth in the preliminaries to earn her spot in the final.
Sophie McAfee (San Marino, Calif.) also dove in the girls’ A 3-meter event and placed 14th with 381.80 points, 13.3 points shy of 12th place and a spot in the finals. After missing her inward 2 ½ tuck, she scored more than 50 points on each of her final three dives, including 56 on a back 2 ½ tuck.
The FINA World Junior Diving Championships run through July 29. Downs and Weinrich compete again Thursday in the boys’ B platform event. Thursday’s competition also includes McAfee and Johanna Holloway (Boynton Beach, Fla.) in synchronized platform and Jacob Fielding (Los Angeles) and Lyle Yost (Shaker Heights, Ohio) in group A 1-meter.
The U.S. heads into Thursday’s competition with three medals so far, all in 1-meter events. In addition to Downs’ silver, the U.S. also picked up a silver medal from Hailey Hernandez (Southlake, Texas) in group B girls’ competition and a bronze from Maria Coburn (Round Rock, Texas) in the group A girls’ event.