Courtesy: USA Diving
MINNEAPOLIS – Brandon Loschiavo (Huntington Beach, Calif./West Lafayette, Ind.) and David Dinsmore (New Albany, Ohio/Miami, Fla.) won men’s synchronized 10-meter while 2016 Olympian Kassidy Cook (The Woodlands, Texas) returned to competition to win women’s synchronized 3-meter with Sarah Bacon (Indianapolis, Ind./Minneapolis, Minn.) as the USA Diving Winter National Championships continued Wednesday at the University of Minnesota.
In addition to claiming national titles, the winning teams also punched their tickets to the 2020 FINA World Cup, set for April in Tokyo. The World Cup will be the final opportunity for countries to qualify their spots to the 2020 Olympic Games. The U.S. is still looking to qualify an Olympic spot in both the women’s synchronized 3-meter and men’s synchronized 10-meter events.
Loschiavo dove with two partners, and it was clear he was well on his way to a national title and a World Cup berth with his two teams carrying a cushion of more than 80 points over the third-place team with one round to go. In the end, Loschaivo and Dinsmore came out ahead with 825.03 points over two lists of dives, less than a point ahead of Loschiavo and Steele Johnson (Carmel, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.), who finished with 824.10 points. Zach Cooper (Greenwood, Ind./Miami, Fla.) and Max Flory (Fairfax, Va./Miami, Fla.) were third at 723.72.
Loschiavo and Johnson led by 7.71 heading into the final round, with both of Loschiavo’s teams set to dive a back 2 ½ with 2 ½ twists. Johnson and Loschiavo came through with 81 points, while Dinsmore and Loschiavo closed out the competition with 89.64 points on the same dive to clinch the victory and World Cup berth.
“I was honestly just trying to do the best I could individually and then let Steele and Dins take their own path. It was a little nerve-wracking but I wasn’t really paying attention to the scores. I was just trying to do my back twister as well as I could,” Loschiavo said. “It went pretty well with Steele, but I was able to tweak it a little bit with Dins, and it ended up being a little better in the end. It was a great competition.”
Cook returned to competition for the first time in more than two years and paired with Bacon for 609.69 points on two lists of women’s synchronized 3-meter dives for a national title in their first competition together. Alison Gibson (Austin, Texas) and Krysta Palmer (Carson City, Nev./Reno, Nev.) were second with 594.27 points, with bronze going to Samantha Pickens (Murrysville, Pa./Midland, Texas) and Carolina Sculti (Rye, N.Y./Stanford, Calif.) at 581.40.
“It feels amazing. I was super amped up this morning because I hadn’t competed in a while, and I wanted to show people that I’m still around and I’m still capable of making the World Cup team. To be able to come out here and win this national title with Sarah by my side, it means the world to me,” said Cook, who last competed at the 2017 USA Diving Synchronized National Championships.
Cook and Bacon were the only pair to score more than 65 points on all three optional dives in the finals, including a front 2 ½ with one twist and a back 2 ½ pike that scored 70.20 points apiece.
“We’re excited because we’re a brand new team. This was our first competition together. I think it’s only up from here. Now that we’ve made the World Cup team, we can really put in the time and synchro training and put a lot more hours in and hopefully get the (Olympic) spot for the United States,” Cook said.
The USA Diving Winter National Championships continue through Sunday, December 22. Wednesday’s competition features men’s 3-meter and women’s 10-meter individual preliminaries and semifinals.