U.S. Qualifies for Paris as Downs and Duncan Finish Fourth at World Championships
Olympian Tyler Downs (Ballwin, Mo./Ripfest) and Greg Duncan (Oakton, Va./Purdue Diving) finished fourth in men’s synchronized 3-meter Saturday at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Their finish qualified the United States a spot in that event for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Also on Saturday, Olympian Hailey Hernandez (Southlake, Texas/University of Texas) placed seventh in the women’s 1-meter final, and Kaylee Bishop (Boca Raton, Fla./Coral Springs Diving) and Max Weinrich (Brookeville, Md./Johansen Diving Academy) finished 11th in mixed 10-meter synchro.
Downs and Duncan scored 385.23 points to finish fourth in the 3-meter synchro final after placing seventh in the preliminaries.
The top three teams excluding the Olympic host country earn quota spots for their countries to compete in the Olympic Games. France’s Jules Bouyer and Alexis Jandard won the 3-meter synchro bronze with 389.10 points, opening up the quota spot for the U.S. in fourth.
China’s Long Daoyi and Wang Zongyuan scored 456.33 for gold, with Great Britain’s Jack Laugher and Anthony Harding taking silver at 424.62.
“It’s always an incredible honor to represent the USA at any level of competition, but being able to do so at World Championships is a pride I’ve never felt before. Earning a quota spot has been the goal this entire season, and to have gotten the job done on the first try is relieving but thrilling,” Duncan said. “Our performance today is impossible without the incredible efforts of the USA Diving staff, med staff, and of coaches here in Japan and back home. I’m excited and grateful to be able to represent and cheer on Team USA."
Downs and Duncan scored 76.50 points on their front 2 ½ somersaults with two twists and added 77.52 points on an inward 3 ½ somersaults tuck and 71.61 points on a front 3 ½ pike. They were in third ahead of France heading into the last round but scored 63 points on a reverse 1 ½ somersault with 3 ½ twists while France came through with 78.75 points on the same dive to overtake the U.S. for a spot on the podium with bronze.
“It felt amazing being able to qualify Team USA a quota spot for the Paris Olympics. Greg and I have worked so hard and it paid off, but we still have so much more we can put out. This is just the start, and it feels amazing to represent such an amazing country,” Downs said.
Hernandez scored 259.20 points to finish seventh in the 1-meter final after qualifying in 10th place in Friday’s preliminaries. She was ninth heading into the final round but jumped two spots in the standings with 54.60 points on her front 1 ½ somersaults with two twists to finish seventh. Hernandez was consistent throughout the contest as she opened with 51.60 points on her inward 1 ½ somersaults pike and then scored between 50.40 and 52 points on each of her next three dives.
China took the top two spots, with Lin Shan winning gold at 318.60 and Li Yajie scoring 306.35 for silver. Mexico’s Aranza Vazquez Montano took bronze with 285.05 points.
Bishop and Weinrich finished with 256.02 for 11th place in the mixed 10-meter synchro final. Both divers were competing in their first World Championships. They scored 62.10 points on their back 2 ½ somersaults with 1 ½ twists and turned in 56.28 points on a reverse 2 ½ somersaults tuck.
China’s Wang Feilong and Zhang Jiaqi won gold at 339.54. Mexico’s Jose Balleza Isaias and Viviana del Angel Peniche were second at 313.44, and Japan’s Hiroki Ito and Minami Itahashi scored 305.34 for bronze.
Diving events at the World Aquatics Championships continue through July 22. Sunday’s competition kicks off with 2020 Olympic silver medalists Jessica Parratto (Dover, N.H./Johansen Diving Academy) and Delaney Schnell (Tucson, Ariz./University of Arizona) in the women’s synchronized 10-meter preliminary. Jack Ryan (Denver, Colo./Stanford University) will dive in the men’s 1-meter final, with the women’s 10-meter synchro final to follow. The two finals will be aired live on Peacock starting with men’s 1-meter at 1:30 a.m. ET.