World Championships: Delaney Schnell Earns Pair of Synchro Diving Medals

BACON Sarah USA 3m Springboard Women Semifinal Diving FINA 19th World Championships Budapest 2022 Budapest, Duna Arena 01/07/22 Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Sarah Bacon; Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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World Championships: Delaney Schnell Earns Pair of Synchro Diving Medals

American Delaney Schnell won medals on back-to-back days at the diving competition of the 2022 FINA World championships.

Thursday, she paired with Katrina Young to earn silver in the women’s 10-meter synchronized platform. A day later, she teamed with Carson Tyler to grab bronze in the 10-meter mixed platform event.

Schnell had a hand in two of the three medals won by Americans, with two days to go in Budapest. The other went to Sarah Bacon, who claimed silver on the 1-meter springboard event on Wednesday.

Schnell had to learn on the fly with a new partner in Young, the two-time Olympian who subbed in several weeks ago when Schnell’s usual partner, Tarrin Gilliland, withdrew with an injury. Schnell also filled Gilliland’s spot in the mixed synchro with Tyler, in lieu of the 3-meter women’s springboard synchro.

The Americans were in eighth place after two rounds and in fourth place entering the final round. But Schnell and Young scored 70.08 points on their back two-and-a-half somersault, one-and-a-half twist to surge to silver in 299.40, well behind the winning Chinese duo of Chen Yuxi and Quan Hongchan.

“It was incredible. It was a pretty last-minute change. It was a lot of stress going into this event, but it worked out,” Young said in a USA Diving release. “I mean, it was tough. I’m not going to lie. We have a little bit of a different technique, but we were able to take the time and make it work.”

“Back twister is kind of my go-to dive so I honestly wasn’t too nervous,” Schnell said. “I knew that we had to fight if we wanted to even get close to the podium. Our vols were obviously not so great, and that was a little unfortunate. I knew that if we could hit our three optionals, then it doesn’t matter about the vols. I was just happy that we could come back fighting and show that if you have a bad first dive, it doesn’t matter. You still have four more.”

Schnell won silver in this event at the Tokyo Olympics, paired with Jessica Parratto. Young won bronze at Worlds in 2019, paired with Samantha Bromberg. Schnell won bronze in the solo 10-meter platform at that meet.

Schnell added her third career worlds medal a day later, pairing with Tyler for bronze in the mixed 10-meter synchro. They scored 315.90 points in that event, just barely a point behind the Ukrainian duo of Oleksii Sereda and Sofiia Lyskun. It’s the best finish for an American mixed synchro team since it was added to the Worlds schedule in 2015.

“Coming here, not knowing who my partner was going be, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Tyler said. “Getting the chance to do synchro with Delaney was just amazing. We just synched very nicely. I had a feeling we could do pretty well, and when it all came together, I was super happy. Being able to perform for Team USA was an unreal experience. The atmosphere and hearing the cheers was great. Being able to do this at my first World Championships was such a valuable experience. I’m very thankful for my coaches and Delaney.”

Bacon picked up her hardware on Wednesday, scoring 276.65 points to edge past Canadian Mia Vallee by .05 points in the final round. She made up 9.10 points on the final dive, her front two-and-a-half somersault pike.

“It was a tough one,” Bacon said. “All the competitors in the final are amazing. Mia and I have been diving alongside each other basically all year throughout the NCAA season. I knew it was going to be a tough battle, but I pulled through in the end and hit my last dive. We are continuing to work hard towards the goals that we have set. We are moving forward. We are going to keep doing what we are doing and hopefully keep adding to what I have accomplished so far.”

Bacon also took home silver in this event at Worlds in 2019. Countrywoman Brooke Schultz advanced to the final and finished 10th.

China has won all 10 events through the first six days of competition, continuing its hegemony as the world’s top diving nation. The star has been Wang Zongyuan, who won gold in the 3-meter synchro and silver in the 3-meter springboard at the Tokyo Olympics. Wang has three golds to his name in Budapest, winning both springboard events by wide margins. He scored 493.30 in 1-meter and 561.95 on 3-meter.

Second in the latter was Cao Yuan, who teamed with Wang to win the 3-meter synchro event, though only by less than eight points.

That’s in part because Great Britain’s Jack Laugher is having a great meet. He won silver in the 1-meter springboard, bronze in the 3-meter and teamed with Anthony Harding for 3-meter synchro silver. Second on the medal table, Britain also won silver in the 10-meter platform synchro via Matty Lee and Noah Williams. James Heatley helped Britain to two bronze medals, with Grace Reid in the mixed 3-meter springboard and with Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix in the team event.

“I’ve overcome quite a lot of stuff, and I think I’m still really nervous when I compete and there are things I need to work on still – but in comparison to where I was last year, I just feel like I’m enjoying my diving again,” Laugher told British Swimming. “Now, I feel great and I’m really enjoying it. Today, that battle was great. I was never going to catch him [Wang], that’s probably a world record, the guy is 21 and he’s insane. But I’m super pleased with myself and how I’ve done, and three medals is great.”

On the women’s side, Chen and Quan went 1-2 in the 10-meter platform, separated by 0.30 points, then expectedly dominated synchro. Li Yajie won 1-meter springboard. Quan teamed with Bai Yuming to win the team event. Zhu Zifeng and Lin Shan captured the 3-meter mixed springboard, and Duan Yu and Ren Qian won the 10-meter mixed platform.

Malaysia has two medals in the women’s competition, with Pandelela Rinong taking bronze in 10-meter platform and teaming with Nur Dhabitah Sabri in women’s platform synchro. American collegian Chiara Pellacani of LSU won silver in the mixed 3-meter springboard with Matteo Santoro.