KAZAN, Russia – David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) and Steele Johnson (Carmel, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) finished fifth in the men’s synchronized 10-meter final and Samantha Pickens (Murrysville, Pa./Tucson, Ariz.) tied for 16th in the women’s 1-meter preliminaries Sunday at the FINA World Championships.
Boudia and Johnson scored 436.35 points, 4.98 points out of the bronze medal. China’s Chen Aisen and Lin Yue topped the field with 495.72 points, with Mexico’s German Sanchez and Ivan Garcia scoring 448.89 for silver. The Russian duo of Victor Minibaev and Roman Izmailov won the bronze with 441.33 points.
The Americans were in a three-way tie for second through two rounds but dropped to sixth after scoring 73.92 points on an inward 3 ½ tuck in round three. They fell another spot to seventh with 78.54 points on a reverse 3 ½ tuck in round four before closing out the night with 83.25 points on a front 4 ½ tuck and 95.04 points on a back 2 ½ with 2 ½ twists to finish in fifth place.
“Fifth is not ideal. That’s not where we want to be. We were a little below average in rounds three and four, and we were just shy of second and third place. Obviously it’s not fun to be in this position, but ultimately we know what we’re capable of. There are a lot of pros to walk away with going into February and the World Cup,” Boudia said.
The three medalists qualified their countries a spot into the 2016 Olympic Games, with four remaining spots to be determined at the 2016 World Cup. The U.S. pair was third at the 2014 World Cup in Shanghai.
Boudia and Johnson scored 451.02 points to finish second behind China in the morning preliminaries, when they scored 99.90 points on their front 4 ½ tuck and 90.72 points on their back twister.
“We’ve been training really hard and working on all our dives. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my 4 1/2, especially after Mexico (at a World Series meet in late May). My main thing the past month or so has just been trying to get that dive back. It happened to be my best dive in both lists, so that was really cool to see,” Johnson said.
With 237.70 points in the 1-meter preliminaries, Pickens won’t advance, but she did complete a strong comeback that nearly earned her a spot in Tuesday’s final. After scoring just 27.30 points on her second round front 2 ½ pike, Pickens found herself in 32nd place. She came back with more than 50 points on each of her next three dives, climbing to 26th after three rounds and 20th after four round before ultimately finishing tied for 16th after five dives. She was just 4.85 points out of making the final.
“I could have done my second dive a lot better. I didn’t do it the way I’d been practicing so it was kind of a bummer, but everything else was solid. I’m going to take a lot away from this experience,” Pickens said.
Diving events at the FINA World Championships continue through August 2. Monday’s competition features Amy Cozad (Indianapolis, Ind./Bloomington, Ind.) and Jessica Parratto (Dover, N.H./Bloomington, Ind.) in women’s synchronized 10-meter and Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass./Bloomington, Ind.) and Kristian Ipsen (Clayton, Calif./Stanford, Calif.) in the men’s 1-meter final.
Swimming news courtesy of USA Diving.