Turning Poor Conditions Into Advantages, American Divers Shock World

Photo Courtesy: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

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Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS

By Erin Keaveny, Swimming World College Intern

Synchronized diving is an Olympic event extremely susceptible to upsets and shocking results. Today’s men’s synchronized 3-meter springboard did not disappoint. It was an exciting and unpredictable event. Between a green pool and less then favorable weather conditions, the event had more than its fair share of twists and turns.

The final scores earned by the top three teams were just under eleven points apart. British team Jack Laugher and Chris Mears came out on top, securing the gold medal for great Britain. This is the first ever gold medal for Britain in the men’s synchronized springboard.

Against seemingly all odds, finishing only four points behind the British team, Sam Dorman and Michael Hixon of the United States will be bringing a silver medal back home. The young team has been diving together for less than a year, and this medal is from their first international competition as a team. Even with the poor weather conditions and event hiccups, the Americans had what turned into their best meet ever.

In the final round, right before the Americans went, the Mexican team fought to repeat a dive causing a delay. A delay in any event is something that can severely interfere with an athlete’s mindset. Yet after the meet, Dorman talked about how the delay distracted him from thinking too much about his upcoming dive, something that he feels really helped his performance.

He commented that he’s “done the dive so many times, and your body is so used to the same dive all the time that once you start thinking your mind can do so many things and mess you up.” Dorman even claimes “both of us were very excited the weather was bad. I train in Miami, I’m used to bad weather. Having this was a benefit for us.”

Despite the terrible conditions and high pressure atmosphere, the Americans’ overall key to success was just staying relaxed. After jumping from seventh place to third in after the third round, Hixon looked over at his teammate Dorman and said “Let’s go have some fun man” That’s exactly what they did.

Hixon and Dorman went to Rio with the second to worst odds of winning, and no expectations of medaling. They are coming home as decorated Olympians.

The huge upset came for Qin Kai and Cau Yuan of China, who finished with the bronze medal. Qin Kai has only lost one of his last nine international competitions in this event. The team missed their last dive, and with no room for error were not able to secure the medal they wanted. China’s perfect streak has come to an end, and we will have to wait another four years to see if one country will ever be able to come away with a clean sweep.

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Author: Erin Keaveny

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Erin Keaveny is a senior diver at Villanova University. She is a history and political science double major who grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

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