First four U.S. Olympic individual diving berths awarded; Troy Dumais misses out

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — With one long hug and a few brief words, Troy Dumais asked Kristian Ipsen to carry on the legacy of American diving.

Ipsen smiled, Dumais choked back tears and now the two longtime synchro partners are heading in drastically different directions.

On Saturday, Ipsen and Michael Hixon took the two Olympic spots in men’s 3-meter, while Dumais’ bid to become the first U.S. man to dive in five Olympic Games came to an end.

“It was cool because he just said ‘You’re going to kill it,'” Ipsen said after winning with the event with a score of 1,452.75 points. “It’s pretty awesome. He’s been to four Olympics now, so for him to say that was like passing on the torch. It was a really cool moment.”

Jessica Parratto and Katrina Young enjoyed their day, too, making the U.S. team in women’s 10-meter. Young moved up two places on her final three dives to qualify.

VIDEO: U.S. Olympic Diving Trials

For Ipsen and Hixon, it was a bittersweet moment.

While Ipsen is headed to his second straight Olympics and will compete in Rio in his first individual event, he wanted to win another medal with Dumais in 3-meter springboard. They earned a bronze four years ago but finished second at the trials in an event that only had one spot available.

Hixon’s score of 1,385.45 assured him of qualifying in both 3-meter events but even the first-time Olympian kept his joy in check — knowing this would be the end of Dumais’ diving career.

“I just told him I loved him and thank you,” Hixon said. “We trained together at Texas for a year. He’s done a lot for USA Diving and he’s been a tremendous mentor to so many kids coming up that it seems like thank you doesn’t quite cut it.”

Fans at the Indiana University Natatorium felt the same way.

When the 36-year-old Dumais stepped onto the springboard for the final dive of his final event, already out of contention, the biggest crowd of the week roared so loud for so long that Dumais bent over, wiped his eyes and waved to the crowd before making that short jog one last time. He scored a 71.4 on the dive and wound up fourth overall at 1,287.4.

“What a way to go out, huh? A standing ovation in front of my family,” he said through reddened eyes. “It’s a dive I’ll always relive in my mind — standing on the board, seeing the people. It was actually hard to do.”

But as he has done so many times before, Dumais got the dive done and then graciously accepted his fate.

If anyone was to derail Dumais, he would have wanted it to be Ipsen, who made it look easy.

The semifinal leader extended his lead on three of the first four dives and sealed his spot when Hixon nearly smacked his back on the water and was given a 17.5 on his fourth dive.

The miss gave Dumais a brief opening, but Hixon rebounded with a 91.2 and a 95.2 on his final two dives to hold on.

“I’m very excited,” Ipsen said. “It’s been a really long week, a lot of ups and downs. It’s been super emotional, especially with Troy and his last dive. But I’m really happy it went the way it did for me today.”

Parratto led going into the finals and maintained her lead all night. She finished with a score of 1,030.05 to qualify for her second event this week. Parratto and Amy Cozad also will represent the U.S. in synchro 10-meter.

The fight for second was the most interesting competition all week.

Samantha Bromberg started the night in second, while Cozad was third and Young was fourth. Cozad jumped into the No. 2 spot after her first dive but Bromberg reclaimed it after her second dive. Bromberg fell to fourth after receiving a 37.95 on her third dive and Cozad faltered on her final two attempts, scoring 44.55 and 46.4.

Young, meanwhile, moved up with scores of 72.0, 62.8 and 76.8. She finished with a 982.1 to beat out Bromberg’s 958.4. Cozad finished fourth.

“It feels great, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Young, who had never finished higher than fourth at the NCAA championships. “Honestly, I felt like I really could do this for a long time.”

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Regan Smith swims another historic backstroke time at Pro Series meet

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Regan Smith, who last summer broke both backstroke world records, put up the fastest 100m back in history outside of a major international meet or trials competition on Saturday.

Smith, a 17-year-old Minnesota high school senior, clocked 58.26 seconds to win at a Pro Series meet in Knoxville, Tenn. It tied for the 12th-fastest time in history. None of the other fastest dozen came in January, six months out from when swimmers peak for the world’s biggest events like the Olympics.

Making it more impressive: Smith did it 27 minutes after finishing second in the 200m butterfly, which she’s also expected to contest at June’s Olympic trials in Omaha.

“It actually wasn’t as bad, as I was nervous it was going to be,” Smith, whose world record is 57.57, said of the double on NBCSN. Smith entered two events per day at the three-day Knoxville meet, in part to prepare for the trials, where she is slated to race six straight days in a bid to make the Olympic team in enough events to swim eight straight days in Tokyo.

On Saturday, Smith held off fellow 17-year-old Phoebe Bacon by six tenths. Bacon beat Smith at the U.S. Open in December, posting the second-fastest time among Americans in the event for 2019.

The teen emergence puts pressure on Kathleen Baker, the Rio Olympic silver medalist who had the world record before Smith took it at worlds.

Full Knoxville results are here. USASwimming.org live streams the last night of finals Sunday at 6:30 ET.

In other events Saturday, world silver medalist Hali Flickinger overcame Smith in the 200m fly, winning in 2:08.34. Smith, third-fastest among Americans last season, was .39 behind. The second-fastest American last year, Katie Drabot, was not in the field. The top two at trials make the Olympic team.

Erika Brown beat world champion Simone Manuel in a freestyle sprint for a second straight meet, taking the 50m free in 24.57 seconds.

Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, edged Manuel by .06 and took .01 off her personal best. Brown ranked third among Americans last year behind Manuel (24.05) and Abbey Weitzeil (24.47).

Brown also defeated Manuel in the 100m free at the U.S. Open in December, moving to fourth-fastest in the U.S. last year in that event. The top six in the 100m free at trials are in line to make the Olympic team, given relay spots.

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Mikaela Shiffrin nearly makes it three-way tie for World Cup win

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Mikaela Shiffrin came .01 shy of making it a three-way tie for a World Cup giant slalom win on Saturday, confirming GS has been the most up-for-grabs discipline for either gender in recent years.

Shiffrin, beaten in her last two slaloms, had the fastest second run to place third behind co-winners Italian Federica Brignone and Slovakian Petra Vlhova in Sestriere, Italy. The reigning Olympic and World Cup champion in the GS rallied from fourth place and .42 behind after the first run.

Shiffrin still leads the World Cup overall standings by 233 points over Vlhova. The American last won Dec. 29. Though she made the podium in three of her four races since, Shiffrin expressed a lack of confidence heading into this weekend’s races at the 2006 Olympic venue.

“The most exciting thing for me is that people have stopped asking me, like, are you unbeatable?” said Shiffrin, who won a record 17 World Cup races last season and has four victories nearly halfway through this season, tied with Vlhova for most on tour. “I feel really good in GS. It’s just been a long time since [the last GS on Dec. 28].”

Vlhova earned her third victory this month after beating Shiffrin those last two slaloms. Brignone leads the GS season standings by 61 points over Shiffrin, seeking to become the sixth different woman to win that discipline title in the last six years. There are four more GS races left this season.

It’s the second straight season with a World Cup GS tie. Last Feb. 1, Shiffrin and Vlhova tied in Maribor, Slovenia.

It’s the first time the top three finishers were separated by such a small margin since the last three-way tie for a win in 2006, when Lindsey VonnMichaela Dorfmeister and Nadia Styger had the same super-G time, and fourth-place Kelly VanderBeek was .01 behind.

“Last season, I had the lucky side of the hundredths many times, so sometimes I’m not going to be on the lucky side, too,” said Shiffrin, who had three victories by .16 or tighter last season.

World Cup racing continues with a parallel giant slalom on Sunday at 5:45 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBC Sports Gold.

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