TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (USA Diving) — Purdue alumnus David Boudia and incoming NLI signee Steele Johnson teamed up to earn USA Diving’s spot in synchronized 10-meter at this summer’s FINA Diving World Cup after winning the event Sunday at the Synchronized Diving Trials.
The World Cup, to be held July 15-20 in Shanghai, is the top international meet of the 2014 season. Boudia has qualified in three events – the individual 3-meter springboard as well as synchronized 3-meter and 10-meter competitions. Johnson was an individual qualifier from the 10-meter platform as well after winning the event at the USA Diving Winter Nationals in December. Boudia won from the 3-meter at Winter Nationals.
Purdue’s MacKenzie Tweardy also competed Sunday at the World Cup Synchronized Diving Trials, placing sixth in the women’s 10-meter finals with Kate Hillman of Indiana University.
Boudia and Johnson scored 821.40 points over two lists of dives to earn the World Cup berth in 10-meter synchro. Johnson competed with two partners and also finished second with 801.72 points while diving with David Dinsmore.
“I am really excited to be diving 10-meter synchro with Steele in Shanghai. I think we have the ability to do well in the future and World Cup is the first step towards Rio,” Boudia said. “Obviously doing three events will be difficult, but I have big goals and this is part of them. I will need to stay focused on training smart and go into World Cup with the mentality of running a marathon rather than a sprint.”
“Today was good. I did 10-meter synchro with both David Dinsmore and David Boudia, and I gave 100 percent on every dive,” Johnson said. “I’ve been training like it was competition, so competition felt like training. Doing multiple dives, it’s hard to keep up my stamina and my dives towards the end weren’t as good as I wanted them to be, but I still feel like I performed the best that I could,” “I had a lot of fun diving with both of them, and it was really inspirational to be able to dive with my mentor, Olympic gold medalist David Boudia.”
In a contest that came down to the final dive Saturday, Boudia and Sam Dorman of the University of Miami scored 788.67 points over two lists of dives to edge Michael Hixon (Texas) and Darian Schmidt (Indiana) by 2.88 points in the synchronized 3-meter contest Saturday.
Boudia Dorman also won the 3-meter synchro title in their first competition together at the Winter Nationals in December.
“This is a really cool year because it’s the year before everything really begins. As a new synchro team going to the World Cup, it’s definitely the time to emerge onto the world stage,” Boudia said Saturday. “Sam and I will go into World Cup and hopefully do better than we did today, but it’s always good competing against Mikey and Darian and other divers that you push you to step up your game.”
Boudia has been competing at world-level events since 2006, although the 2014 World Cup will be his first world event competing on springboard. The World Cup will be Dorman’s first major world meet.
“I’m kind of speechless. It’s the first big meet I’ve ever made, so I just want to go and have fun,” Dorman said.
Hixon and Schmidt, who led by 12.88 points after the preliminaries, led by 34.29 points after the fourth round of the finals. In round five, Boudia and Dorman scored 76.38 points on a front 4 ½ tuck before Hixon and Schmidt followed with just 43.86 points on an inward 3 ½ tuck, allowing Boudia and Dorman to pull to within 1.77 points with one round of dives remaining.
In the final round, Boudia and Dorman had the edge in difficulty, performing a reverse 1 1/2 with 3 1/2 twists (3.5 DD) that earned 88.20 points on marks as high as 9.0. Hixon and Schmidt followed with a reverse 2 1/2 with 1 1/2 twists (3.3 DD) that went for 84.15 points.
“After the front 4 1/2, I was like, `Man, that might be it’, but then they had a little bit of a miss and now we’re back in the game. Three-meter is a little different. I’m still learning how to compete it, so I’ll transition that 10-meter experience down to 3-meter one day,” said Boudia, who won Olympic gold on 10-meter in 2012.
While Boudia was aware of the standings, Dorman was not.
“They kept us on our toes, that’s for sure, but I tend to not look at the scoreboard. I try not to get my head in the game. I just go into autopilot,” Dorman said.