Courtesy: USA Diving
DALLAS – The first four spots on the 2018 FINA World Cup team were determined Sunday at the USA Diving Senior National Championships when national titles were awarded in mixed synchronized events at SMU’s Robson and Lindley Aquatics Center.
2016 Olympian Katrina Young (Shoreline, Wash./Tallahassee, Fla.) and Zach Cooper (Greenwood, Ind./Miami, Fla.) secured the mixed 10-meter synchro title by less than a point, and Grayson Campbell (Vienna, Va./Austin, Texas) and Maria Coburn (Round Rock, Texas) won the mixed 3-meter synchro title.
Their wins earned them a trip to Wuhan, China for the FINA World Cup, the top international competition of the 2018 season. The World Cup is set for June 5-10.
Young and Cooper scored 293.76 points to edge Tarrin Gilliland (Liberty Hill, Texas/Midland, Texas) and Andrew Capobianco (Holly Springs, N.C./Bloomington, Ind.) by just .72 points for the national title and spot on the World Cup team. The two teams were neck and neck through three rounds, with Cooper and Young leading by 3.60 points with two rounds to go. They widened their lead with 73.92 points on an inward 3 ½ tuck in round four, with Gilliland and Capobianco scoring 63.36 points on that same dive.
Capobianco and Gilliland put the pressure on in round five when they performed a back 2 ½ with 1 ½ twists that earned 79.68 points to close the gap. Cooper and Young were to do the same dive and needed to score 65.53 to secure the victory. They came through with 66.24 points, enough to hold their lead and pick up the win.
Young will be making her second trip to China this year, having competed at a FINA World Series meet in Beijing this spring.
“I feel very excited and ready to dive with Zach again, and to have a blast competing together. I’m looking forward to it,” Young said.
Cooper will be headed to his first major world meet at the senior level.
“I’ve had a lot of fun with (Katrina). We came here and had a lot of fun and did what we do best: dive,” Cooper said. “This is my first World Cup team, so I’m super excited to be a part of it and experience it all.”
Campbell was diving with two partners in the mixed 3-meter synchro event, and he finished in both first and second place. He and Coburn scored 288.78 points for the national title, while he and Krysta Palmer (Carson City, Nev./Reno, Nev.) posted a score of 281.34 points for second.
Campbell and Coburn scored more than 60 points on all three of their optional dives, including a front 3 ½ pike that earned 70.68 points. They led by 16.98 points heading into the last round and closed out their list with 63.90 points on a back 2 ½ pike. Palmer and Campbell finished their list with a front 2 ½ with two twists, the most difficult dive performed by any team, and received 73.44 points on the dive but it wasn’t enough to overtake Campbell and Coburn.
Like Cooper, this will be Campbell’s first senior level world meet.
“I’m super excited. This is my first time qualifying for a World Cup or World Championships at the senior level. This was definitely a goal of ours when we started training a few months back. Words can’t describe how excited I am. I can’t wait to get over there and compete for Team USA,” said Campbell, who competed at two World Junior Championships.
Even though the pair claimed the national title, Coburn knows there is room for improvement.
“I’m just really excited. That wasn’t our best and I know we can do a lot better, so I’m excited,” Coburn said.
The 2018 USA Diving Senior National Championships is part of the 2018 Team USA Summer Champions Series, presented by Xfinity. The champions series showcases numerous Olympic sports throughout the season, highlighting the year-round quest of Team USA athletes to compete at the Olympic Games. Competition continues through May 20. Monday’s events feature men’s and women’s 1-meter, with semifinals beginning at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.