TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Four divers have punched their tickets to Barcelona for the 2013 World Championships as spots on 1-meter were up for grabs Wednesday on day one of the World Championships Trials.
Olympic bronze medalist Kristian Ipsen (Clayton, Calif.) and Harrison Jones (Spring, Texas) earned the two men’s spots, while Samantha Pickens (Murrysville, Pa.) and Deidre Freeman (Grinnell, Iowa) will represent Team USA on the women’s side. It will be the third World Championships for Ipsen and the first for the other three.
Ipsen put together a two-list score of 835.60 to qualify for his third World Championships team, although it will be his first time competing on 1-meter at that meet.
“I’ve always wanted to do 1-meter at a world meet but I’m usually doing 3-meter and 3-meter synchro and three events is a little tiring. Since I’m not diving synchro with anyone this year, I thought I might as well do 1-meter. It’s fun,” Ipsen said.
After scoring 390.25 in the prelims, he scored 445.35 points in the finals, starting off his list with a pair of 9s for 76.50 points on a reverse 1 ½ with 2 ½ twists. He closed out his day with 87.50 points on a reverse 1 ½ with 3 ½ twists – the most difficult dive done by any diver in the contest.
“I felt just a little bit off in prelims. I don’t know what it was but sometimes that happens during prelims. My first dive in the finals felt good and I was ready to go after that. I felt confident,” Ipsen said.
Jones scored 784.15 points to grab the second spot and make his first world team.
“I’m happy with how I did today. I missed one dive pretty good, but other than that I landed on my head and got in clean so I was very happy,” Jones said.
Pickens, who earlier in the year won the NCAA Championships on 1-meter while competing for the University of Arizona, scored 537.00 points over two lists to win the world trials two weeks after competing in her first international meet (the FINA Grand Prix Canada Cup).
“After my performance at NCAAs, I just wanted to keep going and didn’t want to stop. In Canada, I was just going for experience and wasn’t really expecting much since it was my first international meet. Then, when I made finals, it was crazy and I realized OK, now we’re going to World Trials and I can try to make the team. I just wanted to take it one step at a time,” Pickens said.
She was in second place behind Freeman after the preliminaries but vaulted ahead with a strong showing in the finals.
“My coach always tells me just be consistent, and that’s what I wanted to do in the morning. I got through the morning and then this afternoon I just wanted to dive well. I’m usually really nervous,” Pickens said.
Freeman finished second with 532.90 points in her first competition in nearly a year.
“I really didn’t have much in the way of expectations. I just tried to relax and not try to do anything over the top or more than I normally do in practice. I just wanted to have fun,” Freeman said. “I hadn’t competed since the (Olympic) Trials last (June), so this was my first competition in a while. It was a good meet to get back into competition.”
The world trials continue through Monday, May 20, and all four divers who earned the 1-meter spots are vying for spots on at least one other event. Thursday’s competition features men’s 3-meter and women’s 10-meter preliminaries and semifinals.