KAZAN, Russia – Both U.S. divers competing on the opening day of the FINA World Championships advanced to the finals, as Kristian Ipsen (Clayton, Calif./Stanford, Calif.) finished fourth and Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass./Bloomington, Ind.) was ninth in Friday’s men’s 1-meter preliminary competition. Their 1-meter final is set for Monday.
Ipsen finished with 400.70 points for fourth place in the preliminaries, with Mexico’s Jahir Ocampo scoring 412.70 points to earn the top qualifying spot into the finals.
“I’m happy I stayed consistent. The scoring was really difficult and I knew that going in because I’ve been in one of these contests before. On 1-meter, I knew not go crazy and just try to stay consistent and land on my head straight up and down. If I could do that, I thought I’d be able to make the final. I’m really excited,” said Ipsen, who missed the 1-meter final at the 2013 World Championships after placing 17th in the preliminaries two years ago.
Ipsen was in third, fourth or fifth place in the standings after each of the six rounds in Friday’s preliminaries. He scored more than 63.55 points on five of his six dives, including a reverse 1 ½ with 3 ½ twists that earned 81 points in the last round for the highest score by any diver in the preliminaries.
“I’m really happy with how it went. I did the best list of dives that I’ve done in a long time. I put all the dives together that I’ve been doing in practice. I think in the finals I can clean up some of my entries a little bit more,” said Ipsen, who is competing in his fourth World Championships.
Hixon scored 373.85 points for ninth place and a spot in the finals. While Ipsen hovered in the top five for the entire contest, Hixon had to fight his way into the top 12. In 13th place after two rounds, Hixon dropped to 16th after scoring 51 points on his front 3 ½ tuck in round three. He remained in 16th place after the fourth round but jumped to 12th after round five, when he scored 64.50 points on his reverse 2 ½ tuck. He then closed out his list with 75.95 points on an inward 2 ½ tuck to move him to ninth place.
“That’s the way these prelims go. It’ll be the same on 3-meter. It’s just a grind. It’s not really about the hits as much as it is about avoiding the big misses. I had a pretty decent miss in the third round and I came back pretty well, especially in the last two rounds. I hit a gainer and then did an inward as well as I can do it, and it got me into the final,” said Hixon, who is competing in his second World Championships.
Diving events at the World Championships continue through August 2. Saturday’s competition features Abby Johnston (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Durham, N.C.) and Laura Ryan (Elk River, Minn./Athens, Ga.) in women’s synchronized 3-meter and Samantha “Murphy” Bromberg (Bexley, Ohio/Austin, Texas) and Mark Anderson (Lake Forest, Calif./Austin, Texas) in mixed gender synchronized 10-meter.
Swimming news courtesy of USA Diving.