Gibson/Palmer, Hedberg/Tyler Grab Synchro Gold at 2023 Winter Nationals
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – Olympian Alison Gibson competed for the first time in more than two years on Friday, when she won the women’s synchronized 3-meter title with Krysta Palmer at the 2023 USA Diving Winter National Championships.
In other action Friday, Joshua Hedberg and Carson Tyler competed together for the first time and won the men’s synchronized 10-meter title.
The wins qualified the two teams for the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, where they will they look to qualify the United States for the 2024 Olympic Games in their synchro events.
Gibson and Palmer scored 582.24 points, highlighted by 75.48 points on their front 2 ½ with two twists in the final round, to win the 3-meter synchro national title in their first competition together since the Tokyo Olympic Games. Sarah Bacon and Kassidy Cook finished second at 567.84, and Anne Fowler and Carolina Sculti were third with 523.71 points.
The 2020 Olympic teammates got back together after Gibson did some reflecting this summer when several people told her she could consider a comeback.
“After summer nationals, people were like ‘hey, you should come back, we’d love to see you out there again’. At first, I laughed, like that’s hilarious,” Gibson said. “And then I was like, I don’t know. I started thinking about it and took time in silence by myself and thought maybe this is something I should pursue.”
After talking it through with a number of people, Gibson decided to give it another go. Friday’s competition was her first true competition since Tokyo.
“I’m back. I did a few small exhibition dual meets at (University of Texas) when the college divers were diving, but this is my first time in a real meet with real scoring and all the judging,” Gibson said. “It was really crazy, and I’m really glad I had Krysta by my side for it. It made it really fun. We got the band back together. I never thought it would happen. I really thought I was done.”
Palmer has also enjoyed getting back together with her Tokyo teammate the past few months.
“It’s been a really cool process coming back together. Everything has felt more natural. It just really shows through this competition how much chemistry we have. It’s such an exciting opportunity to be able to dive with her again,” Palmer said.
In men’s 10-meter synchro action, Hedberg and Tyler made their competitive debut with 825.21 points over two lists of dives to win the national title. Brandon Loschiavo and Jordan Rzepka took second at 771.45, and Sam Oelerich and Aidan Wang were third with 539.19 points.
“I was really happy with how we did considering we’ve only been a pair for about three months. I think we just kept being consistent, and it kind of reflected how we practice. That’s all you can ask for,” Tyler said.
Tyler and Hedberg scored more than 81 points on their last three dives in the final, including 85.47 on a front 4 ½ tuck and 85.32 on a back 2 ½ with 2 ½ twists.
“I’m very happy with how consistent we were throughout the event. It was definitely a great reflection of our training, and I’m really happy about that,” Hedberg said.
The USA Diving Winter National Championships continue through December 6. Saturday’s competition features men’s and women’s 1-meter preliminaries and finals.