2022 World Aquatics Championships – Diving
China is now three wins away from claiming every diving gold medal at the World Championships for the second time. They first achieved the feat in 2011.
Qian Ren and Yu Duan never relinquished their lead in Friday’s mixed 10-meter synchro final, totaling 341.16 points to give China its 10th gold medal in as many events at Worlds this year. The 21-year-old Ren took gold in the event five years ago at the 2017 World Championships and also won the 10-meter individual at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but she wasn’t chosen for the Tokyo Olympic squad.
“Not everyone gets a chance for a comeback and [makes it],” Ren said. “I am really happy about this result, and incredibly honored.”
In the battle for silver, the Ukrainian duo of Sofiia Lyskun and Oleksii Sereda racked up 317.01 points to sneak past the American pair of Delaney Schnell and Carson Tyler (315.90 points). Lyskun and Sereda pulled off the toughest dive of the competition, executing a 207C with 3.3 difficulty.
“Honestly, we did not train mixed that much,” said the 16-year-old Sereda. “We did not expect this. We were thinking about 5th or 6th place, so the 2nd place is amazing. The silver is good, because… the prize money is really high for me [$15,000 USD]. I am proud to represent my country. It’s going to help maybe other guys back home. I wish all our guys from Ukraine big luck.”
It was Schnell’s second medal in Budapest after winning the battle for silver on Thursday in the women’s 10m synchro along with teammate Katrina Young. The runner-up finish matched the best result by an American in synchro platform and springboard events at Worlds. It also marked the first time the U.S. had multiple top-two finishes at Worlds since 2009.
“After Tokyo, this year is just about enjoying diving,” she said. “You don’t get to go to Worlds and just enjoy it that often. This is the year for that.”
China extended its winning streaks to 11 straight in the women’s 10m synchro and eight straight in the men’s 1m. Yuxi Chen and Hongchan Quan snagged their second gold medal at Worlds in the women’s 10m synchro after finishing 1-2 in the individual event. The teenage duo wasn’t even born yet when the streak of 11 titles in a row started in 2001. In the men’s 1m, Zongyuan Wang picked up his third gold in Budapest.
The craziest story of Thursday’s might’ve been Shixin Li, who secured bronze for Australia in the men’s 1m at 34 years old. Li won world titles for China in 2011 and 2013 before retiring and moving to Australia to coach.
“It’s been a tough nine years,” Li said. “It’s a long story. I retired in 2014. Actually, I was injured and my age (26) was a little old by the Chinese team, so not a lot of opportunities. In 2017, I went to Australia to become a diving coach. Because I was young (29 at the time), sometimes I could show the athletes I can still do [the dives]. Another coach said maybe you can try to compete. Why not? Maybe have an opportunity to go to the Olympics.”
Li secured his Australian citizenship in 2019 and returned to the Olympics last summer, placing 27th on the men’s 3m springboard. He could be back again for Paris 2024 at age 36.
On Wednesday, Sarah Bacon posted the first top-two finish for the U.S. in the 1m springboard, which is not an Olympic event. She edged Canada’s Mia Vallee by just .5 points to secure her second straight silver medal in the event at Worlds. In 2019, Bacon became the first American woman to bring home an individual Olympic or Worlds medal in 14 years.
China will try to make it a perfect 11-for-11 in diving gold medals on Saturday when they attempt to continue their historic success in the women’s 3m springboard. China has won the event 13 times, most in any individual event at Worlds in any sport. Their 24 medals in the event are second only to the nation’s 26 in the women’s 10m platform and equal to the 24 won by the U.S. in the women’s 800m freestyle. The women’s 3m springboard will see a new champion this year as Tingmao Shi retired following victories at the past three Worlds and past two Olympics. Countrywoman Hang Wang, who finished second behind Shi at the past three global tournaments, also retired.