ASU Diver Joona Puhakka Claims European Title for Finland -- May 13, 2004
MADRID, Spain, May 13. ARIZONA State diver Joona Puhakka devastated the competition last night at the European Championships to win the 1-meter springboard title at the M-86 Center. With a final round total of 430.86 points, Puhakka outdistanced the field for an overwhelming 38-point win to earn a gold medal for Finland.
The sophomore All-American was the number one seed going into the finals after scoring a 416.01 in the semifinals, only 1.32 points ahead of Germany's Tobias Schellenberg. Puhakka found himself in second place after the first of six final round dives, yet he controlled the rest of the event from there. He scored a 78.72 on his second dive, the most difficult of his set, and took the lead that he would never surrender. Italy's Nicola Marconi finished second (392.25) with Schellenberg (389.07) in third.
On Sunday, Puhakka placed second on the 3-meter springboard in Madrid to earn a silver medal.
During the collegiate season, he won the NCAA Championship on the 3-meter and is the only student-athlete in the history of the men's swimming and diving program to win two national titles in a career after he also won the 1-meter title in 2003. He is being coached in Madrid by Arizona State head diving coach Mark Bradshaw, the 2004 Pac-10 Men's and Women's Diving Coach of the Year.