|LONDON, England, February 25. THE U.S. closed out the FINA Diving World Cup on Saturday with a pair of fourth-place finishes, one from Kelci Bryant (Chatham, Ill./Minneapolis, Minn.) and Abby Johnston (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Durham, N.C.) in synchronized 3-meter to earn the U.S. an Olympic berth and one from David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) in men's 10-meter.
Bryant and Johnston scored 315 points in the 3-meter synchro final, missing the podium by just 2.15 points as Italy's Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape took home the bronze. China's Wu Minxia and He Zi scored 345.30 for gold, and Canada's Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans were second with 321.90 points.
For Bryant, the fourth-place finish was especially tough.
'This hit a little too close to home for me because I was fourth in the last Olympics. I really wanted a medal,' said Bryant, who competed in synchronized 3-meter with Ariel Rittenhouse in the 2008 Beijing Games. 'This is really going to fuel the fire in me, not only to make the Olympic team again but to end up on the podium this time.'
Bryant and Johnston were in fifth through three rounds before scoring 73.8 points on their fourth dive, an inward 2 ' pike, that moved them into third place. They carried a three-tenths lead over Ukraine and a three-point over Italy into the last round, but the Italians scored 76.50 points on their last dive while the Americans and Ukrainians each scored 71.1 to close out their lists.
'I'm proud to have earned the United States an Olympic spot on this event, and the fourth-place finish is just going to motivate me more as I try to make it back here this summer,' said Johnston, who will look to make her first Olympic team.
In the men's 10-meter final, Boudia scored 501.1 points, behind China's Qiu Bo (574.9), Russia's Victor Minibaev (523.6) and Great Britain's Peter Waterfield (510.35).
Boudia, the 2011 World Championships silver medalist, jumped to second place after round three, when he scored 98.05 points on the difficult front 4 ' tuck. He held onto the second spot through round four, but had his lowest score of the night ' 73.8 points on his back 3 ' pike ' in the fifth round to drop to fifth. He closed out the night with 81 points on his back 2 ' with 2 ' twists to move up one spot.
Boudia improved his standing after each of the three sessions. He was 12th in the preliminaries and fifth in the semifinals. He also finished fourth in the men's synchronized 10-meter contest with Nick McCrory earlier in the week.
'It's taken me a little longer than usual to get used to this pool, but I made the adjustments. There's a lot I can take away from this experience. I really only hit one dive how I wanted, so to be fourth is pretty good. There's so much left in the tank,' Boudia said.
Although the U.S. did not medal at the World Cup, the team did earn five more Olympic spots, bringing its total to 11 out of a possible 12. The U.S. qualified its maximum eight individual spots (two on each event) and in three of the four synchronized events (both men's and women's 3-meter, along with men's 10-meter). The U.S. will select its Olympic team at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Federal Way, Wash., from June 17-24.
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