INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – American divers David Boudia and Steele Johnson looked pretty good Wednesday at the U.S. Winter Nationals.
They’re still not in Olympic form.
After scoring four 10s on their first dive in the finals and running away with the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform title, 874.08 to 771.69, Boudia, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, proclaimed there’s a lot of work to do before next summer. Jordan Windle and David Dinsmore finished second.
“We’re still trying to figure out if we want to add another dive to compete with the Chinese,” Boudia said. “But I think we’re right where we need to be.”
That’s good news for the U.S. team, which will have its next big meet the World Cup in February – in the same pool as the Rio Olympics.
But if the meet at the Indiana University Natatorium demonstrated anything, it’s that the two former Purdue divers are ready to give the national team one of those precious five spots still open for the Olympics.
“I’ve been pretty focused on this meet, knowing it was the first step to qualifying for the Olympics,” Johnson said. “Now it’s on to Step 2.”
Boudia and Johnson weren’t the only Olympic hopefuls having fun Wednesday.
In the other final, Olympic silver medalist Abby Johnston, of Columbus, Ohio, and Laura Ryan, of Elk River, Minnesota, rallied on their final dives to win the women’s synchro 3-meter springboard over 2008 Olympian Ariel Rittenhouse and Qiongjie Drew, 587.4 to 586.8. Drew, from China, recently became an American citizen.
Johnston and Ryan scored 72.0 on their 10th dive to move past Emma Ivory-Ganja and Kassidy Cook, the leaders going into the final round. Then they had to watch the last dive from Rittenhouse and Drew to see if they would hold onto a spot on the World Cup team.
“It was a very stressful meet,” Johnston said. “We knew it would be close and we had to hit that last dive. But we’ve been practicing stressful dives, so when we got up there, we just said, ‘We’ve done this before.'”
The nationals resume Thursday with prelims and semifinals in the women’s individual 10-meter platform and the men’s individual 3-meter springboard. They run through Sunday.