The United States will participate in seven of the eight diving events at the Tokyo Olympics after qualifying for an additional three events – women’s individual 3m springboard, men’s synchronized 3m springboard and women’s synchronized 3m springboard – at the 2021 FINA Diving World Cup this weekend. The U.S. failed to qualify for the men’s synchronized 10m platform competition.
Sarah Bacon and Samantha Pickens earned USA Diving the maximum of two quota spots in the women’s springboard competition, finishing third and sixth, respectively, in the preliminary round to advance to the semifinal. All 18 semifinalists in each individual event earned Olympic quota spots for their respective nations.
The U.S. had previously qualified six out of a possible six divers in the other three individual events at the 2019 World Diving Championships.
The synchro pairs of Andrew Capobianco/Mike Hixon and Bacon/Kassidy Cook finished fourth and fifth in their respective springboard competitions to earn the U.S. representation in those Olympic events.
“Tonight was really special for Mike and I,” Capobianco said after competing Sunday. “We haven’t necessarily had all the preparation that we wanted leading into this but we showed a lot of heart and fight, which makes us feel really confident moving forward.”
Cook sustained a shoulder injury earlier in the meet but powered through the synchro springboard final with Bacon to grab the quota spot. Her partner heaped praise on her afterward. “I’m just so proud of Kassidy for pushing through and continuing to fight through the pain and stand by my side in order to secure that quota spot,” Bacon said. “We kept good spirits through it all and really just tried to lift each other up and keep smiling the whole way. Once we knew we secured the Olympic quota spot, a flood of emotions came from the both of us."
Team USA’s representatives in the men’s synchronized 10m platform competition, David Dinsmore and Brandon Loschiavo could only manage an eighth-place performance, three places below South Korea for the final Olympic berth. The U.S. will miss out on the same competition in which David Boudia and Steele Johnson won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Boudia has since transitioned to the springboard due to sustained head injuries on the higher, more physically taxing platform. The four-time Olympic medalist originally planned to compete at the World Cup but revealed earlier this month he was battling the COVID-19 virus
Although national diving federations rely on athletes to earn Olympic quota places for their country, that does not always mean the athlete (or pair) who earns a quota spot will fill it come the Olympics. The eight individual competitors and three pairs that will represent the U.S. at the Tokyo Games will be determined at the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials, June 6-13, on NBC, the Olympic Channel, and streaming on NBCOlympics.com.
The Diving World Cup continues through Thursday, May 6, with finals in the individual competitions. The event is taking place at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, the same venue that will host the Olympic swimming, diving and artistic swimming competitions this summer.