MISSION VIEJO, Calif. – Team USA closed out the USA FINA Diving Grand Prix with six more trips to the podium in five events Sunday, the final day of competition at the first Grand Prix meet held in the United States in six years. U.S. divers claimed first in two events, had three second-place finishes and one third-place finish.
Alison Gibson (Austin, Texas) and Krysta Palmer (Carson City, Nev./Reno, Nev.) won women’s synchronized 3-meter, and Briadam Herrera (Miami, Fla.) topped the men’s 3-meter field. Herrera also finished third in mixed synchronized 3-meter with Lauren Reedy (Rochester Hills, Mich./Columbia, Mo.). Jordan Windle (Morrisville, N.C./Austin, Texas) also made two trips to the podium after finishing second both individually on 3-meter and with Brandon Loschiavo (Huntington Beach, Calif./West Lafayette, Ind.) in synchronized 10-meter. Amy Magaña (Indianapolis, Ind.) was second in the women’s 10-meter contest.
In all, the U.S. won 11 medals – three gold, three silver and five bronze – throughout the week.
Gibson and Palmer won the 3-meter synchro title with 294.39 points, edging U.S. teammates Brooke Schultz (Fayetteville, Ark.) and Samantha Bromberg (Bexley, Ohio/Austin, Texas) for the spot on the podium. Schultz and Bromberg scored 290.40 points, but FINA rules allow only one synchro team per federation to medal. Italy’s Chiara Pellacani and Elena Bertocchi earned the second spot with 284.13 points, followed by Australia’s Georgia Sheehan and Esther Qin at 280.80.
“It felt really good. We haven’t competed together in a while and we haven’t trained much together. The goal was to trust each other, and that’s what we did. We came out doing really well, and we did what we knew how to do. It turned out really well for us,” Gibson said.
Gibson and Palmer led the entire contest. After scoring 96 points on their two dives with limit, they followed with 66.60 points on a front 2 ½ with one twist, 67.89 points on a front 3 ½ pike and 63.90 points on a back 2 ½ pike.
“We had a great day. It was great to take it dive by dive, and I think going into it, that was our motivation. Do one dive and move on to the next. I think we did very well at that,” Palmer said.
Herrera secured the 3-meter victory with 438.10 points, with Windle close behind in second at 425.45. Great Britain’s James Heatly was third with 416.65 points.
In third place after four rounds, Herrera took the lead with 79.80 points on his front 4 ½ tuck in round five. He then finished with 82.25 points on his reverse 1 ½ with 3 ½ twists to maintain the top spot in the standings.
“It means a lot. It’s very nice to win a Grand Prix here in the USA, and for me and Jordan to get first and second is awesome. My last dive, my gainer twister, is usually a pretty good dive, and I knew I had to hit it to come away with the gold. I just tried to stay focused and do what I could,” Herrera said.
Windle scored 73.50 points or higher on four of his six dives, including 75.95 on his front 3 ½ pike and 76.50 on a front 2 ½ with two twists, to take the second spot on the 3-meter podium.
Windle also paired with Loschiavo for 416.04 points and second in men’s 10-meter synchro, with Mexico’s Randall Willars and Diego Balleza winning at 431.67. Egypt’s Mohamed Noaman and Youssef Selim took third with 312.24 points. USA’s Tyler Downs (Ballwin, Mo./Indianapolis, Ind.) and Jordan Rzepka (Solon, Ohio) scored 318.66 but could not medal due to FINA rules. Loschiavo and Windle scored more than 80 points on three of their four optionals, including an inward 3 ½ tuck that earned 85.44 points.
Like Herrera, Magaña came from behind to earn a spot on the podium. She scored 316.80 points on 10-meter to finish second to Australia’s Melissa Wu, who won with 355.80 points. Italy’s Noemi Batki was third at 301.40. Magaña missed her second dive, a back 3 ½ tuck, to sit in fifth place with three rounds to go. She responded with 66 points on a front 3 ½ pike to jump to fourth after three rounds and moved into second with 68.80 points on her fourth-round armstand double back with 1 ½ twists. She then finished with 76.80 points on a back 2 ½ with 1 ½ twists.
Herrera and Reedy scored 272.76 to finish third in mixed synchronized 3-meter. Italy’s Maicol Verzotto and Elena Bertocchi won with 280.86 points, and Mexico’s Arantxa Chavez and Adan Zuniga were second at 277.32. The U.S. team of Jacob Cornish (Honolulu, Hawaii/Austin, Texas) and Meghan O’Brien (Concord, Mass./Austin, Texas) were a close fourth at 271.20.
Several members of the U.S. team will head to Montreal for a FINA World Series meet April 26-28. After that, the focus shifts to the USA Diving National Championships, which will be held May 19-26 in Indianapolis and will serve as the trials for this summer’s FINA World Championships.