U.S. diving roster for world championships led by Olympic medalists

Delaney Schnell, Jessica Parratto

Olympic silver medalists Delaney Schnell, Jessica Parratto and Andrew Capobianco headline the U.S. roster for July’s world diving championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Schnell and Parratto won the national title in the synchronized platform. This year, they are competing together for the first time since taking silver in Tokyo, the best U.S. Olympic finish ever in that event.

Schnell also won the individual platform at nationals in Morgantown, West Virginia. The 24-year-old was fifth at the Olympics and earned bronze at the 2019 World Championships, the lone U.S. Olympic or world medal in the event since 2005.

Schnell is joined on the world team in the individual platform by Nike Agunbiade, coming off her senior season at USC. Last year, Kristen Hayden became the first Black diver to compete for the U.S. at a world championships. Next year, Agunbiade or Hayden could become the first Black U.S. diver to make an Olympic team, USA Diving believes.

On the 3m springboard, Sarah Bacon and Hailey Hernandez fill the two world team spots. Bacon took silver at the last two worlds on the 1m springboard, which is not an Olympic event.

Hernandez, ninth in the Tokyo Olympic springboard, edged out Krysta Palmer for the second world team spot by 5.5 points after 600 points worth of dives. In Tokyo, Palmer took springboard bronze to become the first U.S. woman to win an individual Olympic diving medal since 2000. Palmer, who was out for much of 2022 after hip surgery, did make the world team in the mixed-gender synchro springboard, which is not on the Olympic program.

Bacon and Kassidy Cook won the national title in the synchro springboard for the world team spot in that event.

For the men, Capobianco was the lone Olympic medalist competing at nationals, having taken silver in Tokyo in synchro springboard with Michael Hixon. Capobianco won the national title on the 3m springboard and is joined on the world team in the event by fellow Olympian Tyler Downs. Downs and Greg Duncan won the synchro springboard.

In men’s platform, Olympian Brandon Loschiavo won national titles individually and with Jordan Rzepka in synchro to make the world team in both events. Max Flory grabbed the second individual platform spot for worlds.

At last year’s worlds, the U.S. earned three medals — Bacon‘s silver in the 1m springboard (not an Olympic event), Schnell and Katrina Young‘s silver in the women’s synchro platform and Schnell and Carson Tyler‘s bronze in the mixed synchro platform (not an Olympic event).

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No Russians, Belarusians expected at aquatics worlds in July

Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships: Swimming - Day 4

No Russian or Belarusian athletes are expected to compete at this year’s world aquatics championships in Japan because the sport’s governing body isn’t expected to rule on their eligibility until it’s too late for them to enter.

World Aquatics said Wednesday it will create a task force to look at how Russia and Belarus could return to swimming, diving and water polo as neutral athletes. The update is expected in July, the same month of the world championships in Fukuoka.

The entry deadline for swimming and diving is June 27. For water polo, the entry deadline is July 3. The championships start on July 14.

Governing bodies like World Aquatics were asked by the International Olympic Committee to look at ways of reintegrating Russian and Belarusians with neutral status ahead of the 2024 Paris Games.

The IOC has suggested athletes who have actively supported the war in Ukraine or are contracted to the military and national security agencies should be denied neutral status. Russia and Belarus should also stay excluded from team sports, the IOC said last week.

Most Olympics sports banned those countries from playing in or hosting international events within weeks of the invasion of Ukraine last year. Tennis and cycling have allowed athletes to continue with neutral status.

World Aquatics said its decision last year to exclude athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus remains in effect. Those countries both missed the 2022 Worlds in Budapest.

At the previous world championships in 2019 — held in South Korea before the coronavirus pandemic — Russia placed third in the medal standings behind China and the United States, winning 12 golds and 30 medals overall. Ukraine won seven medals, including one gold.

World Aquatics said its task force would include athletes and be led by Maureen Croes of Aruba, who is president of the Pan American regional swim body.

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Pat McCormick, Olympic legend and greatest U.S. female diver, dies at 92

Pat McCormick

Pat McCormick, the lone female diver to sweep the individual springboard and platform golds at multiple Olympics, has died at age 92, according to USA Diving.

McCormick died in an assisted living home on Tuesday in Orange County, California, according to the Seal Beach Sun.

McCormick won both individual diving events at the Olympics in 1952 and 1956, doing so the second time after the birth of son Tim earlier that year.

As a young teen, McCormick would dive off the Naples Canal Bridge in Southern California, aiming to splash people on boats, which led to phone calls to the police, according to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum.

In structured diving, she performed dives disallowed in women’s competition due to their perceived level of difficulty, according to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

McCormick said she was motivated by missing the 1948 Olympic team by a small margin at age 18.

“From that moment on, I knew I wanted to not [only] go on to the next Olympics, but I knew I wanted to do something that no one has ever done, and that’s to try to compete in two Olympics and win the double-double,” she said.

As the 1952 Helsinki Games approached, McCormick gained more competitive drive. She said others tapped Zoe Ann Olsen, the 1948 Olympic springboard silver medalist, as the event favorite after Olsen unretired.

“That just made me furious,” McCormick said.

After winning both golds in Finland, McCormick continued her training — 100 dives per day, six days per week — and also swam a half-mile per day until two days before her son was born in 1956.

“When I first saw Pat McCormick dive, I said, oh boy, that gal will never make it,” fellow Olympic diving champion Sammy Lee said, pointing out several flaws in her technique. “But that girl, she worked so hard, and she was so determined. That’s what makes her great. She has determination, and she was one tremendous competitor.

“The only problem with Pat is if everybody dived lousy, Pat dived lousy. If everybody dived like an Olympic champion, Pat dived better. She’s got that kind of competitive instinct. She’s not going to let anybody beat her.”

As the 1956 Melbourne Games approached, McCormick juggled motherhood with Olympic prep. Her husband and coach, Glenn, also began coaching other members of the U.S. team who had come to train with them.

“It was really difficult because here I was, training for the Olympics myself,” she said. “I had a small child. I was fixing breakfast for [the other divers], and I thought to myself, ‘Hey, wait a minute. I’m the star, supposedly. Something’s got to be done about this. They should be helping me.'”

In her final Olympic event, McCormick rallied from fourth place going into the finals, the last two of five platform dives.

“I’ll never forget riding back in the bus [going into the finals], I had tears in my eyes,” she said. “The girl that was in first place was my teammate. I really had to make peace with myself, and I had to feel that whatever happened, I would be happy with the result. Well I went into the competition, and I did two of the best dives I’ve ever done.

“I realized that I had won everything there is to win.”

In retirement, she traveled the world with fellow Olympic champions like Jesse Owens, modeled, earned a nursing degree, traversed the Amazon River and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

She also established a non-profit foundation to help high-risk children stay in school and attend college.

McCormick held the U.S. female record of four career Olympic gold medals for 36 years until sprinter Evelyn Ashford and swimmer Janet Evans matched her in 1992. Speed skater Bonnie Blair broke the record in 1994.

McCormick and countryman Greg Louganis are the only divers to win the springboard and the platform at multiple Olympics.

McCormick held the Olympic record of four diving gold medals alone until Louganis tied it in 1988.

They shared the record until synchronized diving events were added to the Olympic program in 2000, increasing the number of diving events from two to four.

McCormick’s daughter, Kelly, won Olympic springboard diving silver and bronze medals in 1984 and 1988.