AUSTIN, Texas – The first two titles of the 2013 USA Diving Winter National Championships were awarded Tuesday, with Aaron Fleshner (Spring, Texas/Tuscaloosa, Ala.) and Tory Ishimatsu (Seal Beach, Calif./Los Angeles) winning the men’s and women’s 1-meter titles on the opening day of competition at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
Fleshner won the men’s title with 805.15 points. Scores were cumulative over prelims and finals, and Fleshner led by 37.70 points after the prelims. He extended his lead in the finals, winning his second national title by more than 100 points. Mizzou’s Clark Thomas (Olathe, Kan./Columbia, Mo.) was second with 695.85 points, and Stanford’s Connor Kuremsky (Wexford, Pa./Stanford, Calif.) scored 692.85 for the bronze.
Fleshner, who dives with Alabama Diving, had the highest degree of difficulty of any diver in the field, and he capitalized on that. In the prelims, his inward 2 ½ pike, with a degree of difficulty of 3.4, earned 78.20 points after receiving 8s from three judges. He earned 76.50 points on that same dive in the finals. He received 78.40 points on his front 2 ½ with one twist in the finals.
“I felt great. I stayed on top of everything and landed on my head 12 times. I was pretty confident with most of the big dives that I’m doing. I’m working on some bigger dives hopefully for 3-meter, and this was a warm-up for those bigger dives. It helps knowing that I can do really well on those warm-ups as I get ready for 3-meter,” said Fleshner, who also won the 1-meter title at the 2012 AT&T National Diving Championships.
Ishimatsu, who competes for Trojan Dive Club, came from behind to win her second career national title with 536.15 points over two lists. She was in fourth place, 15.6 points out of a first place, following the prelims. She was solid in the finals, scoring more than 50 points on four of her five dives, including 63.70 points on her front 2 ½ pike, to finish in first place.
“For 1-meter, it’s usually a pretty close contest the whole time, so you’re not really ever out of it. You just have to stay steady, and I think that was the key today. I was pretty happy with finals. My front 2 ½ was definitely the one that brought me up,” said Ishimatsu, who also won a 1-meter national title back in 2008.
University of Miami teammates Kara McCormack (Austin, Texas/Coral Gables, Fla.) and Thea Vock (Clermont, Fla./Coral Gables, Fla.) won silver and bronze at 532.60 and 526.00, respectively. McCormack was eighth after the prelims to earn the last spot into the finals, while Vock maintained her third-place finish that she had in prelims.
The USA Diving Winter National Championships continue through Sunday, December 22. Wednesday’s competition features men’s 3-meter and women’s 10-meter preliminaries and semifinals.