Michael Hixon

David Boudia wins U.S. title, qualifies for worlds after break from diving

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David Boudia, after a year away from diving, two more children, a concussion and a goodbye to the platform, is back in familiar territory. He’s on the U.S. team for the world championships.

Boudia, a 30-year-old, four-time Olympic medalist, outscored fellow Rio Olympian Michael Hixon to win the springboard at the U.S. Championships on Saturday.

The top two per individual event by cumulative score at nationals go to July’s worlds in South Korea. Boudia was in third place going into the finals but had the top Saturday score by 23.35 to leap onto the team with Hixon.

“It’s relieving, but in my mind, as an athlete, there’s a lot of work to be done before 2020,” Boudia said on NBCSN. “I have to learn new dives if I want to contend with the best in the world.”

Later Saturday, Rio Olympian Amy Cozad Magaña and Delaney Schnell made the world team in the women’s platform, with Schnell helping knock out Rio Olympian Jessica Parratto. Competition concludes Sunday with the women’s springboard and men’s platform.

Boudia, whose 72 career Olympic dives all came off the platform, switched to the more forgiving springboard after a February 2018 concussion.

He considered retiring after a third Olympics in Rio, where he earned synchro silver and individual bronze after an individual gold at London 2012. He even began a real-estate job in Indiana. But he announced a diving comeback in September 2017, saying he didn’t want to have any “what ifs” later in life.

Boudia then beat Hixon at the 2018 Winter Trials, proving he could master the new event. The other Rio Olympian on the springboard, Kristian Ipsen, has retired.

Boudia has competed at every Olympics and world championships since 2005, except in 2017 of course, and is the only U.S. diver to earn a medal in an individual Olympic event at either meet since 2009.

“I don’t think I have been that nervous since 2005,” Boudia said, according to TeamUSA.org. “Hix and I are going to have a lot of training to do if we want to be even close to cracking that top five.”

Cozad Magaña, 28, placed seventh in synchro at the Rio Olympics and plans to retire after 2020. Schnell, 20, was sixth individually at the 2016 Olympic Trials and second at the 2017 world trials before placing 27th at her world debut two years ago.

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David Boudia’s return highlights diving nationals, world spots at stake

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Four-time Olympic medalist David Boudia‘s bid to make the world championships team after two years off leads the storylines at the U.S. Diving Championships, which begin Sunday in Indianapolis.

Synchronized events run from Sunday through Tuesday. Individual events begin Wednesday. NBCSN airs the men’s springboard final on May 25 at 12:30 p.m. ET. NBC has the women’s platform final on May 25 at 2 p.m.

The top synchro team per event by cumulative scores (prelims plus finals) makes July’s world championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The top two individual divers per event make worlds, also by cumulative scores (prelims plus semis plus finals).

Finals Schedule
Sunday (synchro): Mixed springboard, mixed platform
Monday (synchro): Women’s platform, men’s springboard
Tuesday (synchro): Women’s springboard, men’s platform
Wednesday: Men’s, women’s 1m springboard
Saturday: Men’s 3m springboard, women’s platform
Sunday: Men’s platform, women’s 3m springboard

Entry Lists

Individual Olympic Event Previews
Men’s 3m Springboard
Boudia, whose 72 career Olympic dives all came off the platform, switched to the more forgiving springboard after a February 2018 concussion. He considered retiring after a third Olympics in Rio, where he earned synchro silver and individual bronze. Boudia, now 30, even began a real-estate job in Indiana. But the father of three announced a diving comeback in September 2017, saying he didn’t want to have any “what ifs” in his late 30s.

No doubting Boudia is a favorite to make the world team in his new event. He beat Rio springboard Olympian Michael Hixon at the 2018 Winter Trials and is tied with Hixon and NCAA champion Andrew Capobianco with the highest registered degree of difficulty for next week. Absent is Kristian Ipsen, who retired after placing fifth in Rio.

Women’s Platform
The most wide-open individual event with more than a handful who could become national champion. The most notable are Olympians Jessica ParrattoKatrina Young and Amy Magaña (née Cozad). But the favorite could be Texas’ Murphy Bromberg, who won the NCAA title by nearly 60 points in March. Bromberg was an agonizing third at Olympic and world trials in 2013, 2015 and 2016, so she’s still seeking her first individual global championship berth.

A notable absence from nationals is Laura Wilkinson, the 2000 Olympic champ who, at age 41, has been training in hopes of a possible comeback. She underwent cervical fusion surgery in her neck the day after Christmas and returned to dive practice in early spring, but only off the springboard at first.

Men’s Platform
Boudia dominated this event for a decade. Once he left the platform, David Dinsmore ascended in the sport’s marquee event from his third-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Trials as a 19-year-old. Dinsmore, then a Miami freshman, won the 2017 NCAA title (beating Olympic synchro silver medalist Steele Johnson) and the 2017 world trials. He was also the lone U.S. individual medalist at the biggest international meet of 2018, the World Cup in Wuhan, China.

Johnson would normally be a clear favorite to make the world team, but he’s coming off foot surgeries in September and February and hasn’t gotten his full degree of difficulty back (1.4 points behind Dinsmore and Brandon Loschiavo). Johnson, whose goal after the February operation was to make it back for nationals, has been diving his competition list in practice for two weeks.

Women’s 3m Springboard
The one event without an Olympian in the field. Look out for Brooke Schultz and Krysta Palmer, who went one-two at the 2017 World trials. Schultz has been earmarked for success for nearly a decade, competing at her first senior nationals at age 12 and winning the NCAA title as a freshman at Arkansas, where she’s coached by her dad.

Palmer is a different story. She did not start diving until age 20, after a gymnastics career ended due to major knee injuries. Leading up to the 2016 Olympic Trials, Palmer was training platform in Reno, Nev., where there was no platform. She sometimes had to fly to Palo Alto, Calif., to practice. She’s since switched to springboard and finished in the top four in all four national-level meets.

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Olympic medalists headline U.S. roster for diving worlds

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Three Olympic medalists headline the U.S. roster for the world diving championships, but David Boudia is absent for the first time since 2003.

Trials concluded Sunday in Indianapolis, where Olympic synchro platform silver medalist Steele Johnson made his first worlds team on the 3m springboard.

Johnson teamed in Rio with the 2012 Olympic platform champion Boudia, who is not competing this international season and may retire.

At world trials, Johnson was edged on the 3m springboard by Olympic synchro springboard silver medalist Michael Hixon, but both made the team as the U.S. can enter two divers per individual event at worlds.

Sam Dorman, who teamed with Hixon for that Rio silver, was fourth in the 3m springboard semifinals at trials and 90.9 points out of second place. With standings cumulative, he had a low chance of getting on the worlds team in the event and scratched out of finals.

MORE: U.S. Diving Trials Results

Still, Dorman previously made the worlds team in synchro springboard with Hixon. Each diver can build off his Olympic silver with a first world championships medal in Budapest in July.

Johnson qualified for three events at worlds — 1m and 3m springboard, plus the synchro platform with new partner Brandon Loschiavo. The 20-year-old Johnson previously competed at the 2015 Worlds, but not in any individual events. He finished 13th in the individual platform in Rio, one spot shy of making the finals.

Johnson took a break from the pounding of platform training after Rio but said his focus for worlds remains on the synchro platform rather than his individual springboard events.

With Dorman, Hixon and Johnson, the U.S. team at worlds boasts three Olympic men’s medalists. There are no Olympic medalists on the women’s side, but Rio Olympians Jessica Parratto (platform, synchro platform) and Kassidy Cook (synchro springboard) are back.

Perhaps the most promising member of the team is Tarrin Gilliland, a 14-year-old who will compete in both the women’s and mixed synchro platform events. Gilliland was third in the individual platform Sunday, missing the two-woman worlds team in that event by .05 of a point.

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U.S. roster for World Diving Championships

Men’s 3m Springboard
Michael Hixon (Olympian)
Steele Johnson (Olympian)

Women’s 3m Springboard
Brooke Schultz
Krysta Palmer

Men’s Platform
David Dinsmore
Jordan Windle

Women’s Platform
Jessica Parratto (Olympian)
Delaney Schnell

Men’s 1m Springboard

Michael Hixon (Olympian)
Steele Johnson (Olympian)

Women’s 1m Springboard
Maria Coburn
Alison Gibson

Men’s Synchro Springboard
Sam Dorman (Olympian)
Michael Hixon (Olympian)

Women’s Synchro Springboard
Maria Coburn
Kassidy Cook (Olympian)

Men’s Synchro Platform
Steele Johnson (Olympian)
Brandon Loschiavo

Women’s Synchro Platform
Tarrin Gilliland
Jessica Parratto (Olympian)

Mixed Synchro Springboard
Briadam Herrera
Lauren Reedy

Mixed Synchro Platform
Andrew Capobianco
Tarrin Gilliland