GWANGJU, South Korea – Sarah Bacon (Indianapolis, Ind./Minneapolis, Minn.) became the first U.S. woman in 14 years to win an individual diving medal at a World Championships when she won the 1-meter silver on Saturday at the FINA World Championships.
Bacon finished with 262.00 points, edging Korea’s Kim Suji by 4.8 points for the silver medal. China’s Chen Yiwen took the gold with 285.45 points.
No U.S. woman had won an individual medal at a World Championships since Laura Wilkinson won gold on platform in 2005. The last U.S. woman to medal on 1-meter was Wendy Lucero, who won silver in 1991.
Bacon was in fourth place with two rounds to go but was just 1.2 points out of medal position. She came through with 54.60 points on a front 1 ½ with two twists to move into third place after her fourth dive and then overtook Kim for the second spot when she finished her list with 55.90 points on a front 2 ½ pike.
Bacon, who was competing at her first senior international meet and first international competition since the 2014 Junior World Championships, was aware of how close the contest was.
“I did know how close it was. Paying attention to the scores and being that close kind of gives me motivation going into my dives. It gives me a little more fire to perform them well,” Bacon said. “I could have hit one or two dives a little better, but it was a very consistent list.”
Bacon will compete on 3-meter later in the Championships and said she hopes to build on her 1-meter performance as she prepares for her next event.
“I think this will give me more confidence going into 3-meter, which is something I struggle with every now and then. Most of the time I perform better on 1-meter than on 3-meter, so being able to medal on 1-meter gives me more confidence going into the 3-meter event,” Bacon said.
Maria Coburn (Round Rock, Texas/Tucson, Ariz.) also qualified for the women’s 1-meter final and finished 10th with 237.75 points.
Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass./Bloomington, Ind.) and Andrew Capobianco (Holly Springs, N.C./Bloomington, Ind.) advanced to the men’s synchronized 3-meter final and finished eighth with 388.08 points. The top three countries qualified teams for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. China’s Cao Yuan and Xie Siyi scored 439.74 for the gold, and Great Britain’s Jack Laugher and Daniel Goodfellow took silver with 415.02 points. Mexico also qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games after Yahel Castillo and Juan Celaya came through with 413.94 points for the bronze medal.
Olivia Rosendahl (Los Angeles/Miami, Fla.) and Zach Cooper (Greenwood, Ind./Miami, Fla.) scored 267.96 points to finish fifth in mixed synchronized 10-meter. China’s Lian Junjie and Si Yajie scored 346.14 points to take the gold.
Diving events at the FINA World Championships continue through July 24. Sunday’s competition kicks off with Murphy Bromberg (Bexley, Ohio/Austin, Texas) and Katrina Young (Shoreline, Wash./Tallahassee, Fla.) in the women’s synchronized 10-meter prelims, with the final set for Sunday evening. Briadam Herrera (Miami, Fla.) will dive in the men’s 1-meter final on Sunday afternoon.