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China's Shi dominates women's 3m springboard semis; USA's Cook eliminated

China Olympic Diving Shi Tingmao
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China's Shi dominates women's 3m springboard semis; USA's Cook eliminated

Only 12 competitors and one American remain as the women's individual 3m springboard event moves on to Sunday's final

Medals will be awarded for the women's individual 3m springboard final on Sunday after the top 12 competitors in Saturday's semifinal advanced. China's Shi Tingmao appeared in another class on a hot day in the 70s with little wind at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center in Rio, totaling 385.00 points for first place.

Shi's countrywoman He Zi finished second with 364.05 points and Canda's Jennifer Abel, who finished first in the preliminary round, placed third with 343.45 points.

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American Abby Johnston reserved her spot in the final with a consistant program and a 324.75-point, fifth-place finish, but teammate Kassidy Cook's first Olympic Games are over.

Cook churned up a large splash on her second attempt for a 41.85 and could not recover despite a strong close to her list. 

"I think I let my nerves get the best of me in that round," Cook said. "I had a little too much adrenaline. I missed the board so I ended up a little short of vertical. Those four points definitely came from that dive."

Cook closed with her best dive, a 70.50-point forward 2.5 somersault with one twist, but her 304.35-point total left her just 3.90 points away from qualifying, in 13th place.

"It’s never over till it’s over," Cook said. "I could have probably given up and gotten really disheartened after that second-round dive, but I clawed my way back up to 13th place. It can be hard in the Olympic Games after you miss a dive and you think it could be over. I had a really strong finish, and I’m proud of myself for sticking it out."

Johnston, meanwhile, scored between 60 and 70 points on each of her five attempts. She was in 14th place after her first dive, but a high score of 69.75 on her third dive -- a front 3.5 pike -- vaulted her into the top six.

"I feel really good about the way I dove tonight," Johnston said. "I think I was a little more nervous today than I was yesterday, and I hope I can be more confident tomorrow. I’m just excited to do my last list of dives out there."

Johnston earned silver in the synchronized springboard event alongside partner Kelci Bryant in 2012 and will look to add one more medal to her collection in Sunday's final. The 26-year-old Duke medical student was recently engaged and plans to retire following the Olympics.

Shi, the 2015 FINA Female Diver of the Year and the favorite entering the event, already took gold in the women's synchronized 3m springboard alongside partner Wu Minxia on Monday. Competing in her first Olympics, Shi will be out to make it a perfect two-for-two in Sunday's final.

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Russia's Kristina Ilinykh, who finished 15th and failed to qualify, balked on her second attempt and was served a two-point penalty after resetting and executing her forward 3.5 somersault. 

The following divers advanced to Sunday's 3pm final: Shi Tingmao (CHN), He Zi (CHN), Jennifer Abel (CAN), Maddison Keeney (AUS), Abby Johnston (USA), Yan Yee Ng (MAS), Tania Cagnotto (ITA), Olena Fedorova (URK), Pamela Ware (CAN), Esther Qin (AUS), Grace Reid (GBR), Nora Subschinski (GER).

The following divers were eliminated from contention: Kassidy Cook (USA), Uschi Freitag (NED), Kristina Ilinykh (RUS), Dolores Hernandez (MEX), Tina Punzel (GER), Anastasiia Nedobiga (UKR).

China has won the women's individual 3m springboard event at every Olympics since 1988 -- seven straight victories.

Rio officials plan to drain and refill the water polo and synchronized swimming pool Saturday evening, but the diving well will not be drained. The diving pool turned a dark green on Tuesday and the adjacent water polo/synchronized swimming pool began to turn a day later.

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Abby Johnston's list

1. Back 2.5 somersault -- 3.0 -- 61.50
2. Reverse 2.5 somersault -- 3.0 -- 63.00
3. Forward 3.5 somersault -- 3.1 -- 69.75
4. Inward 2.5 somersault -- 3.0 -- 67.50
5. Forward 2.5 somersault 1 twist -- 3.0 -- 63.00
Total: 324.75

Kassidy Cook's list
1. Inward 2.5 somersault -- 3.0 -- 64.50
2. Forward 3.5 somersault -- 3.1 -- 41.85
3. Back 2.5 somersault -- 3.0 -- 63.00
4. Revers 2.5 somersault -- 3.0 -- 64.50
5. Forward 2.5 somersault 1 twist -- 3.0 -- 70.50
Total: 304.35

USA Diving media services contributed to this report

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