China Sweeps Golds; Sarah Bacon Makes American History in Saturday’s Diving

2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships – Diving

  • July 12th-20th, 2019
  • Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, Gwangju, South Korea
  • Diving Results

The first 3 sets of medals in diving at the 2019 World Championships have been given out, and it’s been a Chinese sweep of the golds on day 1.

China, who slipped a little at the 2017 World Championships winning “only” 8 out of 13 gold medals, swept the titles in the mixed 10 meter synchro platform, the women’s 1-meter springboard, and the men’s 2-meter synchro springboard events on Saturday.

Women’s 1-Meter

The women’s 1-meter, which is not an Olympic event, saw Yiwen Chen back atop the podium after finishing just 4th at the 2017 World Championships. The weakest of the Chinese diving disciplines, it was still a shocking result in 2017 to not have any divers on the podium (and just 1 in the 12-diver final) for the world’s most-dominant diving nation. But the 20-year old Chen is peaking just in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

She dove essentially the same lineup on Saturday as she did in 2017, albeit in a different order, with the exception that she downgraded her 303B (Reverse 1 1/2 Somersault – DD 2.4) to a 203B (Back 1 1/2 Somersault – DD 2.3). That transformed what was her lowest-scoring dive in 2017 to a solid 56.35-point addition to her lineup.

She wound up beating out American Sarah Bacon by 23.45 points, pulling away on a big final dive for her best score of the day – 62.40. For Bacon, who has been a superstar at the American collegiate level (NCAA) for the University of Minnesota, this is her first major international medal. In spite of being an event where the Americans have arguably more experience than anyone else in the world (thanks to the scholastic system), Bacon is the first American woman to win a FINA World Championship event in 28 years: Wendy Lucero also won silver in 1991, the first year it was offered at this meet.

South Korea’s Suji Kim gave the host country their first medal of the championships with a bronze. She was in silver medal position, but was caught by having saved her lowest degree of difficulty dive, a 5132D (DD – 2.2), for the last round. She was the only diver in the finals to attempt a diver with a DD of below 2.3, and without perfect execution (7s and 7.5s), that cost her.

None of the three medalists from 2017 even were in the final this year.


  1. Yiwen Chen, China – 285.45 points
  2. Sarah Bacon, USA – 262.00 points
  3. Suji Kim, South Korea – 257.20 points

Mixed 10-Meter Synchro Platform

Mixed synchro events are a particular challenge in diving, given how difficult it can be to create congruity between a male and a female diver, but China has mastered this. The pair of Jujie Lian and Yajie Si combined for a score of 346.14 to give China their third-straight gold medal in this event at Worlds (which is, all that have been offered). Their 33.86-point margin of victory was easily the biggest in the event’s history.

Russian pair Viktor Ninibaev and Ekaterina Beliaeva took 2nd with a score of 311.28, and Mexico’s Jose Balleza Isaias and Maria Jose Sanchez Moreno took 3rd with a score of 287.64. While there was little drama among the 3 medalists, the spot for bronze was contested to the very finish: Mexico had a 71-point final dive to leapfrog Great Britain’s pair by 2.46 points at the final tally after the British pair struggled with their synchronization on their last attempt.

Canada, who had medaled in the previous 2 versions of this event, did not qualify for this year’s final. The American pair of Zachary Cooper and Olivia Rossendahl finished 5th.


  1. Jujie Lian & Yajie Si, China – 345.14 points
  2. Viktor Mininbaev & Ekaterina Beliaeve, Russia – 311.28
  3. Jose Balleza Isaias & Maria Jose Sanchez Moreno, Mexico – 287.64

Men’s 3-meter Synchro

China completed their daily gold medal sweep with a win in the men’s 3-meter synchro event by Yuan Cao and Siyi Xie. That upgraded them from the silver they won in 2017 behind the Russian pair of Evgenii Kuznetsov and Ilya Zakharov. After Zakharov was unable to recover from injury in time to compete this week, Kuznetsov instead paired with Nikita Shleikher on Saturday. The pair had a poor 3rd dive in an otherwise solid performance, and that left them in 5th place and off the podium. In spite of a relatively-new pairing, their synchronization was generally better than their execution.

The Brits got on the board with their first medal from Daniel Goodfellow and Jack Laugher, who saved their best for last: a 3.8DD dive that drew 7.5s and 8.0s and pulled in 86.64 points – the most by any pair outside of the Chinese in the whole final. After a poor 4th dive, where one of the two struggled with dive execution (4.5) that nearly cost them a medal, that was a monster recovery.

Mexico’s Yahel Castillo Huerta and Juan Manuel Celaya Hernandez finished 3rd with a score of 413.94.

The Americans, Andrew Capobianco and Michael Hixon, placed 8th.


  1. Yuan Cao & Siyi Xie, China – 439.74
  2. Daniel Goodfellow & Jack Laugher, Great Britain – 415.02
  3. Yahel Castillo Huerta & Juan Manuel Celaya Hernandez, Mexico – 413.94.

Highlight Video:

Medals Table After July 13th Competition

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  China 3 0 0 3
2  Great Britain 0 1 0 1
 Russia 0 1 0 1
 United States 0 1 0 1
5  Mexico 0 0 2 2
6  South Korea 0 0 1 1
Totals (6 nations) 3 3 3 9

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2 years ago

The Baconator 🔥🥓

2 years ago

Wow! Just incredible. I remember diving at the U of M for club! What a great program. Congratulations Sarah!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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