MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Newly married Rachelle Kunkel (formerly Smith) won her second U.S. senior national title Thursday night diving 1-meter at the U.S. National Indoor Diving Championships. The event, held April 17-22 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, is the first of two annual nationals for divers.
Although 1-meter springboard divers do not qualify to the U.S. Olympic Trials because the event is not yet an Olympic event, the honor is still important for these divers, the top of whom qualified for the 2000 U.S. National Team. The other members include Jamie Watkins (Jacksonville, Fla.), Kimiko Hirai (Bloomington, Ind.) and Lauryn McCalley (Moultrie, Ga.).
Preliminary action in the men's 3-meter springboard event also concluded Thursday, and with it ended the qualification of divers to the U.S. Olympic Trials, to be held June 20-25 in Seattle, Wash. The top 12 divers at this meet in each of the individual Olympic events, 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform, all qualified for the trials. No new divers will be added to the list of qualified athletes, but divers will be able to add to their point totals at the FINA/USA Diving Grand Prix, May 11-14 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Local diver P.J. Bogart (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and partner Chris Devine (Lighthouse Point, Fla.) picked up another synchronized 3-meter gold Thursday evening, the second of win for the duo in this event. Bogart and Devine last won the synchro event at the 1999 U.S. Spring Nationals. Miami divers Bryan Gillooly (Kissimmee, Fla.) and Chris Mantilla (Boca Raton, Fla.) finished second. Defending champions Mark Ruiz (Orlando, Fla.) and Rio Ramirez (Miami, Fla.) did not compete after Ruiz withdrew for a minor injury. Ruiz is expected to compete in both the 3-meter and platform finals this weekend.
Friday's competition will feature the finals of three 3-meter events — men's and women's individual 3-meter and women's synchronized 3-meter.
Troy Dumais withdraws from meet
University of Texas star Troy Dumais (Ventura, Calif.) withdrew from competition Thursday morning after missing every scheduled practice session because of an injured leg. Dumais, the current 1-meter and 3-meter NCAA champion, had only been entered on the 3-meter springboard event. Coach Matt Scoggin reported that Dumais' injury involved a strained or partly torn gastrocnemius (calf muscle in his right leg).