GWANGJU, South Korea – David Boudia (West Lafayette, Ind.) and Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass.) finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the men’s 3-meter final Thursday at the FINA World Championships.
China’s Xie Siyi took gold with 545.45 points, while teammate Cao Yuan was second at 517.85. Great Britain’s Jack Laugher missed his last dive to drop to third with 504.55 points. Boudia finished with 458.10 points, while Hixon scored 449.95 points.
Boudia was ninth after round one and climbed in the standings throughout the competition with a steady performance. Four of his dives scored 76.50 points or higher, including 84 on his final dive – a reverse 1 ½ with 3 ½ twists that moved him up to fifth.
“My expectations have been exceeded. I was very far from the medals but with extremely low degree of difficulty compared to the rest of the field, I’m pleased with where I’m at,” said Boudia, who was competing in his first World Championships on 3-meter after previously winning five World Championships medals in platform events. “This offseason I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I was glad I was able to get top eight so I can be competitive at World Series events next year.”
Hixon was in 10th place after four rounds but closed out his night with 85 points on an inward 3 ½ tuck and 85.50 points on a front 4 ½ tuck to jump to seventh, his highest finish in three World Championships appearances on 3-meter.
“It was pretty consistent diving. The last two rounds were pretty big for me. Before that I was pretty OK, pretty average, so I was happy to come through in the end and get top eight and a World Series spot,” Hixon said.
Hixon will look to build on his performance in Gwangju when he heads to next month’s Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
“There’s a lot of things we know we can improve on. Everything we need to change, we know we can do. I’m looking forward to getting home and making those changes,” Hixon said. “One thing coach told me right after (the final) was that’s the best I’ve ever dove, minus the entries. I just need to get in the water a little cleaner, but off the board and in the air, I dove pretty well.”
Sarah Bacon (Indianapolis, Ind./Minneapolis, Minn.) advanced to the women’s 3-meter semifinals and placed 14th with 282.65 points, missing the cut to make the finals by two places and 3.75 points. Bacon’s best dive came in round four, when she scored 66.65 points on a front 3 ½ pike. She scored 55.50 points or higher on three other dives, but it wasn’t enough to advance to the final.
“I’m a little bit frustrated with my diving. I hit one dive out of my five, which is frustrating since I’ve been practicing on 3-meter very well. On a positive, I’m four points out of 12th, four points out of the final, so I’m taking that away from this. With one hit dive, that was pretty good,” Bacon said. “I’m looking to go back home and get stronger and more consistent with my dives.”
Brooke Schultz (Fayetteville, Ark.) also represented the U.S. in women’s 3-meter competition and placed 29th with 241.95 points in the preliminaries. She scored 63 points on her first and last dives, but misses on some of her other dives dropped her out of contention.
By missing out on the final, the U.S. did not earn any Olympic quota spots for 2020 on women’s 3-meter, but Bacon and Schultz will have another opportunity to secure a spot for the U.S. when they compete at the Pan American Games.
Diving events at the FINA World Championships continue through July 24. David Dinsmore (New Albany, Ohio/Miami, Fla.) and Brandon Loschiavo (Huntington Beach, Calif./West Lafayette, Ind.) will represent the U.S. in Friday’s men’s 10-meter preliminaries, with the semifinal to follow.