MISSION VIEJO, Calif. – Five events. Five trips to the podium.
Team USA had a successful Saturday, winning one gold and four bronze medals on the first day of finals at the USA FINA Diving Grand Prix.
Hailey Hernandez (Southlake, Texas) won the women’s 3-meter event, and Brandon Loschiavo (Huntington Beach, Calif./West Lafayette, Ind.) was third in men’s 10-meter.
The U.S. also won three synchronized bronze. Samantha Bromberg (Bexley, Ohio/Austin, Texas) and Katrina Young (Shoreline, Wash./Tallahassee, Fla.) were third in synchronized women’s 10-meter; Mark Anderson (Lake Forest, Calif./Austin, Texas) and Jordan Windle (Morrisville, N.C./Austin, Texas) were third in synchronized 3-meter; and Sophia McAfee (San Marino, Calif.) and Max Weinrich (Brookeville, Md.) took the mixed 10-meter synchro bronze.
Hernandez scored 312.75 points to edge Italy’s Elena Bertocchi by 4.6 points for the women’s 3-meter gold. Mexico’s Melany Hernandez scored 303.60 points for bronze.
USA’s Hernandez put forth a consistent effort, with all five dives scoring 58.80 points or higher. In third place after two rounds, she took the lead with 67.20 points on a back 2 ½ tuck in round three. She held on to the top spot for the duration of the contest after scoring 63 points on each of her last two dives – a reverse 2 ½ tuck and a front 2 ½ with one twist.
“I was very excited and happy with my performance. I was pleased overall, but I definitely think my back 2 ½ in the third round gave me a boost of energy and a lot of confidence. It gives me confidence knowing that I can hang in there. I’ll just keep working hard for the next meet,” the 16-year-old Hernandez said.
Loschiavo picked up the men’s 10-meter bronze with 442.70 points. Randall Willars of Mexico won gold with 479.55, while Great Britain’s Matthew Dixon came away with silver on 471.10 points.
Loschiavo had three dives score more than 80 points. He opened with 86.40 points on an inward 3 ½ tuck and added 83.30 points on a reverse 3 ½ tuck to take the lead after round three. A miss on his fifth-round front 4 ½ tuck dropped him to third, and he held on for bronze with 84.60 points on his back 2 ½ with 2 ½ twists in the final round.
The U.S. had two others in Saturday’s individual finals, with David Dinsmore (New Albany, Ohio/Miami, Fla.) finishing fifth in men’s 10-meter and Krysta Palmer (Carson City, Nev./Reno, Nev.) taking fifth in women’s 3-meter. Dinsmore scored 425.55 points with 90.10 points on a reverse 3 ½ tuck and 97.20 on a back 2 ½ with 2 ½ twists, but two misses kept him out of medal contention. Palmer finished with 239.90 points and rallied back with 60.45 points on a front 3 ½ pike and 68 points on a front 2 ½ with two twists in the last two rounds after some early misses.
In women’s synchronized 10-meter, Young and Bromberg finished third with 290.22 points, just .44 points behind silver medalists Melissa Wu and Annabelle Smith of Australia. British divers Phoebe Banks and Emily Martin claimed gold with 300.26 points. The Americans were in fifth place after three rounds but climbed to third with 74.88 points on their fourth-round inward 3 ½ tuck. They closed out their performance with 71.04 points on a back 2 ½ with 1 ½ twists.
Anderson and Windle scored 376.89 points in men’s synchronized 3-meter to win bronze by .15 of a point over Poland’s Andrzej Rzeszutek and Kacper Lesiak. Great Britain’s Jordan Houlden and Anthony Harding were first with 384.93 points, and Mexico’s Adan Zuniga and Daniel Islas scored 382.29 points for silver. Anderson and Windle were third heading into the last round but had to wait to see if they’d secure a trip to the podium. They dove first in a 13-team contest and scored 72.42 points on a front 2 ½ with two twists on their final dive. They then watched to see if their scores would hold up as teams from Poland and Italy had a chance to catch them with more difficult dives. In the end, the U.S. team narrowly held on for bronze. The American pair of Tyler Downs (Ballwin, Mo./Indianapolis, Ind.) and Jacob Cornish (Honolulu, Hawaii/Austin, Texas) were ninth at 326.46.
In mixed 10-meter synchro, McAfee and Weinrich came through with 274.74 points for bronze, highlighted by 62.10 points on a front 3 ½ pike. Mexico’s Diego Balleza and Maria Sanchez took first at 308.88, and Italy’s Noemi Batki and Maicol Verzotto won silver at 282.60.
The USA FINA Diving Grand Prix concludes Sunday, April 14 with finals beginning at noon PT. The schedule features men’s 10-meter synchro, women’s 3-meter synchro, men’s 3-meter, women’s 10-meter and mixed 3-meter synchro. The event will be streamed live at www.teamusa.org/usa-diving.