GWANGJU, South Korea – Murphy Bromberg (Bexley, Ohio/Austin, Texas) and 2016 Olympian Katrina Young (Shoreline, Wash./Tallahassee, Fla.) won a bronze medal in women’s synchronized 10-meter Sunday at the FINA World Championships to secure the U.S. its first spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Bromberg and Young came from behind to finish with 304.86 points, edging the Canadian pair of Meaghan Benfeito and Caeli McKay by .81 points to pick up the bronze medal and the Olympic spot for Team USA. The U.S. hadn’t won a women’s synchronized 10-meter medal at a World Championships since 2009, when Haley Ishimatsu and Mary Beth Dunnichay won silver.
“We were really excited. The goal was to get a spot for the U.S. in the Olympic Games, and we achieved that goal,” Bromberg said.
China’s Zhang Jiaqi and Lu Wei won gold with 345.24 points, and Malaysia’s Pandelela Pamg and Mun Yee Leong were second at 312.72. The top three teams at the World Championships qualify Olympic spots for their countries.
The U.S. pair was in fourth place, 5.91 points out of third, heading into the last round. They scored 69.12 points on a back 2 ½ with 1 ½ twists – just enough to narrowly overtake the Canadians, who scored 62.40 points on an inward 3 ½ tuck.
Even though their coaches, Matt Scoggin and John Proctor, had told Bromberg and Young they had won a medal, Bromberg didn’t think their last dive was good enough. The duo wasn’t certain until they saw the final standings on the scoreboard.
“After the event, John and Matt came up to us and said, ‘You did it. You got it.’ We didn’t believe them. We were like, ‘No, we didn’t.’ And then we did. We were surprised,” Bromberg said.
Bromberg and Young put together a solid list that also included a front 3 ½ pike that earned 71.10 points and an inward 3 ½ tuck that scored 71.04 points.
“We felt like we dove solid. We have things to work on, but we were really happy with our focus throughout the competition,” Young said. “I was nervous, but I tried to focus the best I could.”
Also on Sunday, Briadam Herrera (Miami, Fla.) finished sixth in the men’s 1-meter final after scoring 399.90 points, 15.1 points behind bronze medalist Peng Jianfeng of China. Wong Zongyuan of China took gold with 440.25 points, and Mexico’s Rommel Pacheco scored 420.15 for silver.
“That was a hard final. There were a lot of good divers competing. I knew I could have done a little better, but overall I’m pretty happy,” Herrera said. “I had some nerves a little bit early on. I knew I had to stay calm and stay with my plan.”
Herrera started off the final with 58.80 points on his back 2 ½ tuck to sit in 10th place after round one, but scored 68.40 points or higher on four of his remaining five dives and climbed to sixth in the final round after finishing with 72 points on a reverse 1 ½ with 2 ½ twists.
His list also included a front 2 ½ with two twists, the most difficult dive performed by any diver in the contest, and he scored 68.40 points on the dive in round three. All other divers in the field did the front 2 ½ with just one twist, and the extra twist gave Herrera an additional .4 in degree of difficulty.
“I was pretty nervous about it. I was very powerful and I missed the board a little bit, but I stuck with it and it was alright,” Herrera said.
Diving events at the FINA World Championships continue through July 24. Monday’s competition features women’s synchronized 3-meter with Alison Gibson (Austin, Texas) and Krysta Palmer (Carson City, Nev./Reno, Nev.) and Ben Bramley (Wellesley, Mass./West Lafayette, Ind.) and Steele Johnson (Carmel, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) in men’s synchronized 10-meter.