Delaney Schnell had never won an individual diving competition at the senior level — until Sunday night when it mattered most.
Schnell landed a cumulative, three-round score of 1021.9 points to win the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials plus a spot in a second event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer.
She had first qualified in synchronized platform with partner and 2016 Olympian Jessica Parratto.
“It definitely helps that I qualified on Friday night, and it made it even easier for me to go out and enjoy it, work on my mentality and have fun,” Schnell told NBC reporter Kelli Stavast.
The 22-year-old topped a field that included four Olympians, though that comes as no surprise as she has been one of the U.S.’ best prospects for an Olympic medal since winning bronze at the 2019 World Championships.
Schnell ended a 14-year medal drought for U.S. women at the event.
Katrina Young, 29, will join her in the individual platform contest in Tokyo. A 2016 Olympian, Young was the leader after the semifinal in Indianapolis, but fell out of Olympic contention on her second dive.
That changed on the fifth and final dive, where she passed Murphy Bromberg and secured a return to the Games by a mere 2.95 points over Bromberg.
A four-time U.S. and two-time Grand Prix champion, Bromberg was third at the 2016 Olympic Trials as well. She and Young also finished runner-up to Schnell and Parratto in the synchro contest this week, where only one team goes to the Olympics.
“It’s wonderful,” Young said of making the team. “I’m in shock a little bit right now. This was the plan, but it was a roller coaster.”
Young missed the Olympic final in Rio by one spot and is excited to have another shot.
Her grandmother, Elaine Silburn, represented Canada at the London 1948 Olympics, competing in the high jump, long jump and 4×100 relay. According to Young, Silburn then went on to become a well-renowned dog-show judge and restaurant owner.
Parratto placed fourth with 973.73 points, followed by Abigail Knapton (930.3) and Amy Cozad Magaña (922.2), Parratto’s synchro partner in Rio.
The only Olympic medalist in the field, Laura Wilkinson finished 10th with 804.3 points. Making the final was a win itself for the 43-year-old mother of four, who returned to the sport a few years ago after initially retiring in 2008 following her third Games.
Wilkinson won gold in Sydney in 2000, when she famously rose from eighth to first in the final. Her Olympic gold remains the last by a U.S. woman. Her 2005 World title was also the last medal by a U.S. woman at that event until Schnell two years ago.
Wilkinson has yet to say if this was her final competition.
Individual women’s platform was the final event of Trials.
The 2020 U.S. Olympic Diving Team consists of 11 athletes, eight of whom are making their Olympic debut in Tokyo. Three will compete in both an individual and synchronized event.
The team includes Alison Gibson (synchronized springboard), Hailey Hernandez (individual springboard), Krysta Palmer (individual springboard, synchronized springboard), Jessica Parratto (synchronized platform), Schnell (individual platform, synchronized platform), Young (individual platform), Andrew Capobianco (individual springboard, synchronized springboard), Tyler Downs (individual springboard), Michael Hixon (synchronized springboard), Brandon Loschiavo (individual platform) and Jordan Windle (individual platform).
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