Road To Tokyo 2020: USA Diving Events To Watch

Laugher Jack GBR gold medal Men's 3m springboard final Edinburgh 09/08/18 Diving Royal Commonwealth Pool LEN European Aquatics Championships 2018 European Championships 2018 Photo Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia /Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia /Insidefoto

By Erin Keaveny, Swimming World Magazine Contributor 

As the 2019 NCAA competition ends, many of Team USA’s elite divers have their sights set on the next big thing– the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Steele Johnson‘s recent announcement that he will forgo his last year of NCAA eligibility in exchange for a professional athletic career is just one of the first signs that divers are starting to focus in on what’s coming next August.

Here are the upcoming events between now and the 2020 Olympics that Team USA’s best divers will be preparing for.

2019 FINA Diving Grand Prix

Team USA has eleven divers competing in the Grand Prix, a series of men’s and women’s three-meter and ten-meter diving events that take place across the globe. The U.S. is hosting an event for the first time in 6 years in Mission Viejo, California, which takes place from April 11 to 14, 2019.

The divers competing in the Grand Prix were chosen based off of their 2018 USA Diving Winter Trials performances. These athletes have the chance to compete against some of the world’s most elite divers, including former Olympic competitors. The Grand Prix is a greta chance for exposure to international competition just over a year before the U.S. Olympic team will be selected.

2019 USA Diving Zone Championships

These meets are where divers qualify for Senior Nationals. Most divers who compete at a Zone meet have advanced from a Region Meet. Divers who finish in the top 5 spots on one and three meter springboard and ten meter platform advance to nationals.

There are divers who are pre-qualified for national meets. Champions from any events at a National Championship in the last four years automatically qualify in the events they won and members of the most recent Olympic team are automatic qualifiers in their Olympic events. Divers who finished in second through twelfth place on three-meter springboard or second through eighth on one-meter in the most recent National Championship and the top five U.S. Citizens at the most recent NCAA Championship have already qualified as well.

2019 USA Diving Senior National Championships, May 19 – 26, 2019

At this meet, divers who qualified at a Zone meet, or are pre-qualified compete for the top spot in the country on each event. The year right before an Olympic year typically yields the most competitive meet.

Further, this is the selection event for the 2019 Pan American Games Team, the 2019 World Championships Team, and some future Grand Prix Events. These events provide important exposure to international competition for divers, and help divers build experience that could be taken into consideration when selecting the Olympic team.

The selection of successful World Championship and Pan American teams is also essential for Olympic success.

World Championships, July 12 – 28, 2019

The Diving World Championships are the most important the year before an Olympic year, like the 2019 Championships. This is because the World Championships is the first event where a country can qualify a spot in the Olympic Games.

There are 136 spots for Olympic divers, half men and half women. Of those spots, the maximum amount a country can have is 16. That 16 breaks down to 8 men and 8 women, with two divers in each event.

In individual events at the World Championships, the top 12 divers earn a spot for their country, along with the top three teams in synchro events.

Pan American Games, July 26 – Aug 11, 2019

The Pan American Games is the second Olympic spot qualifier event for team USA.

There are five championships across the globe considered continental championships. At these continental championships, the champions in each individual event qualify an Olympic spot for their country.

2020 FINA Diving World Cup

The Diving World Cup is the final place for Team USA to qualify for olympic spots. In individual events, the eighteen semifinalists at the will achieve a spot, and the top four synchro teams.

2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, June 13 – 21, 2020

Any spots that the U.S. teams at the 2019 World Championships, 2020 Pan American Games, or 2020 World Cup are team spots, not spots assigned to the person who won them. At the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trails, the athletes who will compete at the Olympics are decided. This may or may not be the individuals who earned a spot for Team USA in the first place.

After Olympic Trails, the Olympic Team will train for the remaining time until the 2020 Olympics, which begins Friday, July 24, 2020.

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