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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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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.”

MORE: David Boudia, Steele Johnson win platform at U.S. Olympic Diving Trials

Jessica Parratto, Katrina Young clinch U.S. Olympic berths in women’s platform

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Jessica Parratto and Katrina Young clinched the two U.S. Olympic diving berths in the women’s platform event by finishing in the top two at the Diving Trials on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Parratto led going into the final round and clinched an individual berth before taking her final dive. Young, meanwhile, began the finals in fourth place, but jumped past Murphy Bromberg and Amy Cozad. Both Parratto and Young will make their Olympic debuts.

Earlier in the week, Parratto and Cozad clinched U.S.’s Olympic berth in the women’s synchronized platform.

VIDEO: U.S. Olympic Diving Trials

Cozad entered Trials as the favorite coming off a win at the 2015 Winter Nationals, with Parratto taking second. At the 2015 Worlds, Cozad placed as the top American in sixth, while Parratto finished 21st.

But Parratto, whose 22nd birthday is Sunday, excelled at Trials. She gets it from her mother, Amy, who was an All-American diver at Wellesley College and her daughter’s first diving coach.

Young, 24, finished 23rd in the 2015 NCAA Championships for Florida State. She is the granddaughter of an Olympic track and field bronze medalist from the 1948 Olympics.

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