Olympics: Andrew Capobianco, Michael Hixon Secure Silver in Men’s 3-Meter Synchro Diving

Jul 28, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Andrew Capobianco and Michael Hixon (USA) in the men's 3m springboard synchronized diving during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Capobianco and Michael Hixon of the United States; Photo Courtesy: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

Olympics: Andrew Capobianco, Michael Hixon Secure Silver in Men’s 3-Meter Synchro Diving

For a second straight day, American synchro divers took home a silver medal. When it comes to style points, the job done by Andrew Capobianco and Michael Hixon was smooth, poised and unquestioned.

Capobianco and Hixon were second after every dive from the third round on, tallying a six-dive total of 444.36 points to easily secure silver at the men’s 3-meter synchro springboard event at the Tokyo Olympics.

The duo was fifth after the compulsory dives. But once they DD ratcheted up, they rose up the ranks. A huge hit in the third round, a forward two-and-a-half somersaults with two twists, netted 83.64 points to vault them into second. It was their lowest score of any attempt in the final four rounds of the event.

There was no catching the Chinese pairing of Wang Zongyuan and Xie Siyi, who scored 467.82 points to take home gold for the powerhouse program. They had the highest-scoring dive of five of the six rounds, all but the fifth when Capobianco and Hixon converted their inward tuck three-and-a-half to get 86.70 points.

It’s the first Olympic medal for Capobianco, an All-American and NCAA champion at Indiana University who will also compete in the individual event. Hixon matches the silver he won with Sam Dorman at the Rio Games in the 3-meter synchro. It’s the third consecutive 3-meter synchro silver for the U.S. men.

Jul 28, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Wang Zongyuan and Xie Siyi (CHN) in the men's 3m springboard synchronized diving competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

Wang Zongyan and Xie Siyi of China; Photo Courtesy: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s one of the best synchro divers in the world,” Hixon said of his partner. “The four dives we do, we knew we were doing them two years ahead of time. He is incredible at those four dives.”

“I think a lot of it was just having someone to look up to and almost chase in practice a little bit,” Capobianco said. “It was just great to have the best diver in the country in your pool every day. To have him to look up to and learn from – he’s taught me so much about competing and just being a world-class diver, so it’s been great.”

The Chinese pair had the biggest dive of the competition, icing gold with 99.18 points on a 3.8 DD forward tuck four-and-a-half in the sixth. It’s a frightening sight to see, with Wang a mere 19 years old. He won the one-meter springboard at the World Championships in 2019.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for nine years,” Wang said. “I was so happy with our brilliant timing. I have a lot of emotions in my head right now. To participate in an Olympic Games for the first time was not so hard for me. It felt a little bit different, but I knew I had to do what I do well, and I did.”

Xie, 25, won gold in the 3-meter synchro at that Worlds with Cao Yuan after the pair took silver in 2017. (Yuan and Chen Aisen earned silver in the 10-meter synchro.)

It’s the fourth time China has won the men’s 3-meter synchro event, and it rectifies the one non-gold from eight events in Rio in 2016.

“We are very happy to get the gold medal,” Xie said. “We didn’t have very long to practice together, but from the moment we met, we understood each other very quickly and very well, so there were no problems for us.”

The bronze came down to the wire. A gamble by the Mexican pair of Yahel Castillo Huerto and Juan Celaya Hernadez didn’t pay off, their high-DD inward forward four-and-a-half dropping them from third to fourth. The Russian pair of Evgenii Kuznetsov and Nikita Schleikher failed their sixth dive, falling from fourth to last in eighth.

That allowed Patrick Hausding and Lars Rudiger of Germany to execute their forward four-and-a-half tuck to the tune of 85.50 points. It was the fourth-best dive of the round and enough to vault from sixth to bronze. For Hausding, it’s a third medal of his Olympic career.

Men’s 3-Meter Synchro Springboard Diving

  1. Wang Zongyuan/Xie Siyi, China, 467.82
  2. Andrew Capobianco/Michael Hixon, United States, 44.36
  3. Patrick Hausding/Lars Rudiger, Germany, 404.73
  4. Yahel Castillo Huerto/Juan Celaya Hernandez, Mexico, 400.14
  5. Sho Sakai/Ken Terauchi, Japan, 393.93
  6. Lorenzo Marsaglia/Giovanni Tocci, Italy, 388.05
  7. Daniel Goodfellow/Jack Laugher, Great Britain, 382.80
  8. Evgenii Kuznetsov/Nikita Shleikher, Russia, 331.08
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