NDIANAPOLIS – Duke head diving coach Nunzio Esposto has been named to the U.S. Olympic Team coaching staff for the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio.
Esposto will make his first trip to the Olympics after helping guide former Blue Devil diver Abby Johnston to an Olympic berth in women’s individual 3-meter diving.
“I’m really excited to have been named to the Olympic team as one of the coaches,” Esposto said. “Abby’s been training with me for several years now. It was really exciting to see her perform well over three lists [at trials] and keep up her level of diving all week. I knew that she could do it; it was just a matter of putting together three lists.”
Esposto has previously served as a U.S. national team coach on several occasions, including at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. He also oversaw athletes at the 2011 FINA World Series in Dubai, UAE, the 2006 Junior World Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the 2005 Junior Pan American Games in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
At last month’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Indianapolis, Esposto saw Johnston secure the second Olympic berth of her career.
Heading into trials, the U.S. had qualified just one women’s 3-meter spot for Rio. Kassidy Cook led the field through preliminaries and semifinals, with Johnston sitting just over 34 points back and Laura Ryan only 14.95 points behind her in third. However, the U.S. received notification two days before the event final it had been awarded a second spot by FINA, meaning two women’s 3-meter divers would be named to the U.S. Olympic Team.
Johnston opened the final in strong fashion and remained in second through the end of the competition to earn one of the two spots on the team. The former Duke standout totaled 949.30 points over three rounds of diving to punch her ticket to Rio.
“The entire week in Indianapolis was nerve-wracking and emotional, but we both kept our heads on straight and did what we needed to do,” Esposto said. “I‘m really excited to go to Rio and I’m looking forward to her keeping up her level of competition. Hopefully we’ll have a great outcome there.”
The 2016 Olympic Games begin August 5 in Rio.
Swimming news courtesy of Duke Swimming & Diving.