FINA World Series opens in Sagamihara

By USA Diving | Feb. 28, 2019, 11:23 p.m. (ET)

SAGAMIHARA, Japan – Day one of the FINA Diving World Series 2019 – Sagamihara began with Team USA competing in the women’s and men’s platform synchro finals Thursday evening. Tyler Downs (Ballwin, Mo.) and Jordan Rzepka (Solon, Ohio) completed competition at seventh place, while Tarrin Gilliland (Midland, Texas) and Katrina Young (Shoreline, Wash./Tallahassee, Fla.) finished the day at eighth place.

Gilliland and Young placed eighth overall after scoring 282.18 points in the women’s platform synchro final. The pair held onto sixth place through the first four rounds of competition, but dropped down to eighth place despite saving their strongest dive, a back 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists for 66.24 points, in the final round. The pair finished half a point behind Japan’s Matsuri Arai and Minami Itahashi, who moved up from eight place to seventh place to wrap up competition. China’s Lu Wei and Zhang Jiaqi captured the gold with 340.44 points, while Kim A Rim and Kim Mi Rae of the People’s Republic of Korea finished 20.94 points behind to earn the silver medal. Meaghan Benefeito and Caeli McKay of Canada won the bronze medal with 311.70 points.

In the men’s platform synchro final, Downs and Rzepka finished seventh with 358.95 total points. The pair, who competed in their second international event together, began the first three rounds of finals at sixth place before slipping down to seventh in the fourth round. With a back 3 ½ tuck in the fifth round for 62.37 points, the pair inched back up to sixth place with one round remaining. Despite saving their best dive for last, a back 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists for 69.12 points, the teenage duo finished seventh. Japan’s Hiroki Ito and Kazuki Murakami completed competition at sixth place, leading Downs and Rzepka by 2.04 points. Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen clinched first place with 465.24 points, while Russia’s Aleksandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev finished 44.79 points behind to take home the silver medal. Domonic Bedggood and Declan Stacey of Australia won the bronze medal after finishing with 403.53 points.

The World Series – Sagamihara continues Friday morning at 2 am ET with Mark Anderson (Lake Forest, Calif./Austin, Texas) joining Downs in the men’s 3-meter synchro. Due to injury, Maria Coburn (Austin, Texas) and Krysta Palmer (Carson City, Nev./Reno, Nev.) have been scratched from the women’s 3-meter synchro final.* The FINA World Series – Sagamihara can be watched live on FINA TV.

*Update: Coburn will compete with Gilliland in the women's 3-meter synchro final.