2018 M. NCAAs: Steele Johnson Goes for Broke and Nails His Final 3m Dive

2018 MEN’S NCAA SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

2016 Olympic silver medalist and Purdue junior  Steele Johnson stepped onto the 3-meter board for his 6th and final dive Friday night in third place — only nine points behind the leader at that point. He signaled to judges that he would be switching from a forward 3 1/2 somersault pike to a forward 4 1/2 tuck, upping his difficulty from 3.1 to 3.8 (the highest degree of difficulty possible).

That change would prove to be pivotal, as he would score 96.9 to win the event 499.35-495.15 over Tennessee’s Zhipeng Zheng, who scored 83.70 on his final round due in part to a low difficulty (3.1). Indiana’s Michael Hixon, who notably transferred from Texas, was third with a 481.90.

Check out Johnson’s full scoring breakdown below:

Round # Dive # Board Height Description Net Score Degree of Difficulty Score Round Place
1 205B 3M Back 2 1/2 Somersault Pike 25.5 3 76.5 3
2 5154B 3M Forward 2 1/2 Somersault 2 Twist Pike 25 3.4 85 1
3 307C 3M Reverse 3 1/2 Somersault Tuck 21 3.5 73.5 3
4 407C 3M Inward 3 1/2 Somersault Tuck 23 3.4 78.2 5
5 5337D 3M Reverse 1 1/2 Somersault 3 1/2 Twist Free 25.5 3.5 89.25 1
6 109C 3M Forward 4 1/2 Somersault Tuck 25.5 3.8 96.9 1

In NCAA diving, a change of dives is permissible as long as the diver is explicit in what the change will be before he or she executes it.

Per Rule 6, Section 3, Article 2, parts e through g of the NCAA rulebook:

e. Each diver must execute the dive number as written or have that dive declared failed. If the announced dive is not performed and the dive performed is properly listed on the diver’s sheet, it will be considered an announcer’s error and judged as performed. If the diver executes a dive as announced and it is determined that the announcer was in error, then the diver will be permitted to immediately perform the correct dive. However, the diver may elect to keep the scores for the incorrectly announced dive, with the referee making an immediate correction on the diving sheet.

f. If a diver exceeds the total degree of difficulty allowed when listing his or her voluntary dives (i.e., 9.0 in the one-meter event, 9.5 in the three-meter event or 7.6 in the platform event), the error shall be corrected. If the error goes undetected, then the final voluntary dive (that causes the list to exceed the voluntary DD total) shall be failed.

g. A diver may change the number, letter and/or platform level of a dive at any time before the execution of the dive without penalty

Watch the full progression, including Johnson’s nearly-unprecedented reaction (in diving), below:

Johnson was the runner-up on the 1-meter board last night, and with this win, comes within one title of all-time NCAA leader — and his 2016 synchronized diving partner — David Boudia. He will try for gold on the 10-meter platform tomorrow.

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JimSwim

So awesome. He is full of diving and a steely eyed dinner dude

Nick Gayes

He changed from a front 3.5 pike to 4.5 tuck.

Noflykick

Nerves of steel. ‘love it!

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majors in Media Studies and American Studies at Claremont McKenna College. When she's not writing about swimming or baseball, you can probably find her listening to a podcast or in a pool ... and/or watching Seinfeld, which she just realized is funny.

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