Kassidy Cook, Abby Johnston, David Boudia, Steele Johnson Fill Final 4 USA Diving Spots

INDIANAPOLIS The final four spots on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Diving Team were filled Sunday as the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Diving came to a close with finals in women’s 3-meter and men’s 10-meter. Kassidy Cook (The Woodlands, Texas) and Abby Johnston (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Durham, N.C.) qualified in women’s 3-meter, and David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) and Steele Johnson (Carmel, Ind./West Lafayette, Ind.) will compete in men’s 10-meter after already qualifying together in synchronized 10-meter earlier in the trials.

In all, 10 divers will represent the United States at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In addition to Boudia, Cook, Johnson and Johnston, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Diving Team includes Amy Cozad (Indianapolis, Ind./Bloomington, Ind.), Sam Dorman (Tempe, Ariz./Miami, Fla.), Michael Hixon (Amherst, Mass./Bloomington, Ind.), Kristian Ipsen (Clayton, Calif./Stanford, Calif.), Jessica Parratto (Dover, N.H./Bloomington, Ind.), and Katrina Young (Shoreline, Wash./Tallahassee, Fla.).

Boudia will have a chance to defend his 2012 Olympic gold medal after winning the men’s 10-meter contest with 1534.40 points. He opened the finals with 102.60 points on his armstand double back somersault with 2 ½ twits and never relinquished the lead he had after Tuesday’s semifinals.

“You know what’s funny, is when this competition was over, I wasn’t extremely happy with it. I obviously did well, but that’s not going to cut it in Rio. I know there is a lot more work to be done and there is going to be a lot more dives to be put down. While I’m happy, I know we have a lot more work to do for 40 days from now,” Boudia said.

While Boudia led the entire final, Johnson and David Dinsmore (New Albany, Ohio/Miami, Fla.) battled for the second spot. Dinsmore scored 102.60 points on his final dive and had two others score more than 90 points, while Johnson also scored more than 90 points on two of his dives in the finals. In the end, Johnson finished with 1475.15 points, just 12 points ahead of Dinsmore.

“It was an intense contest. I was diving right after (David) Dinsmore, so I wasn’t looking at the scores so I didn’t know where I was throughout the whole contest. I was able to hear their scores, but I was trying to put it out of my mind and not think about it. Just do the dive the best I could, and that honestly is all I could do,” Johnson said. “It worked out in the end. I had five really good, really solid dives and one just okay dive. At the end of the day we got the job done, and I’m really excited to go represent USA in two events now.”

Boudia, who is headed to his third Olympics, said a contest like will help the United States not only in preparation for Rio but for the future.

“(Johnson and Dinsmore) battled and they are troopers. That’s what’s so hard about chasing the Olympic Dream — you either make it or you get crushed. It’s hard to see David falter and get third place. He’s worked so hard and has had a great year. I know this will make him stronger come 2020,” Boudia said. “That’s what we needed. We needed those two guys to come in here and perform like that. I think it goes to all of our competition readiness. Steele and I know the dog fight will be even bigger in Rio.”

After missing out on an Olympic synchro berth by less than half a point in 2012, Cook made her first Olympic team after winning the individual 3-meter event at the 2016 trials. Johnston, who won Olympic silver in synchronized 3-meter four years ago, became a two-time Olympian after securing her first individual berth.

“Oh gosh, I’m at a loss of words. It all happened so fast. I knew going into my last dive that I just had to do it to make the team. And it’s just a rush of emotions after that. I ran to my coach and ran to my family. It kind of still a blur right now, but it was amazing,” Cook said.

Cook, who has had two shoulder surgeries and a knee surgery since the 2012 trials, scored 1003.65 points over three lists of dives to win the 2016 trials and realize her Olympic dreams.

“I was afraid that I was never going to get back to full form. I didn’t want to be a has-been at age 19. So I did have that thought in the back of my mind, but I never wanted to give up on my dream. Whenever I did feel like I was giving up, I would think about the little 4-year-old girl who was jumping off the boards and had that dream of going to the Balympics (as she called it as a little girl),” Cook said.

Johnston, who recently finished her second year of medical school at Duke University, qualified second with 949.30 points.

“It’s just as sweet as it was four years ago,” Johnston said.

Initially, the U.S. had qualified just one spot for the women’s 3-meter event but was notified Friday that a second spot had been awarded. For Johnston, that brought relief. She was in second place, 34.3 points behind Cook after Tuesday’s semifinals.

“It had been a long time coming waiting for the announcement. We expected that they would give us that second spot, and I was just trying to put it out of my mind the whole week. There were various times when they said it would be on Monday, then Wednesday and then finally they told us on Friday. I was just really, really happy that the job I set out to do in Rio was done, and that I would have the chance to go back there in that final spot,” Johnston said.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games begin August 5.

Courtesy of USA Diving.

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