Cook/Bacon, Loschiavo/Rzepka Win National Titles in Synchro Events
by USA Diving
MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – Olympian Brandon Loschiavo paired with Jordan Rzepka to win the men’s synchronized 10-meter title, while Olympian Kassidy Cook teamed up with Sarah Bacon to win women’s synchronized 3-meter Friday at the USA Diving National Championships.
Their wins also secured the two teams spots on the U.S. roster for this summer’s World Aquatics Championships. The World Championships will mark the first opportunity for countries to earn quota spots for the Olympic Games in Paris.
Loschiavo and Rzepka scored 763.35 points over two lists of dives for the 10-meter synchro gold, with Zach Cooper and Max Flory taking silver at 713.52. Leyton Dean and Noah Turner finished third with 460.74.
Rzepka and Loschiavo trailed throughout most of the morning preliminaries but took the lead in the last round when they closed out their list with 86.58 points on a front 4 ½ tuck to take a 6.03-point lead into the afternoon finals.
“For me, I was more focused on the outcomes of the dives. In the prelims we weren’t doing what we necessarily wanted to, because the goal is to just train like practice. The competition should look exactly like practice, and we were fading away from that,” Loschiavo said. “I think we were able to put all of those pieces together, or at least get closer to it, in the final.”
Loschiavo and Rzepka were consistent in the finals, scoring 74 or 75 points on all four of their optional dives to win their first national title together.
“The prelim was a little rough. It was only our third time competing together, so we’re still a little new to it. I think for finals, we really dialed in more on what needed to be done. No messing around, just do what we came here to do,” Rzepka said.
Cook and Bacon also overcame a rough start in prelims to finish with 568.08 points on their two lists to claim the 3-meter synchro title. Kyndal Knight and Samantha Pickens were second at 531.30, and Krysta Palmer and Kristen Hayden scored 505.80 points for bronze.
Cook and Bacon came back from a missed reverse dive pike that put them in 12th place and 18.60 points out of first place after two rounds. They responded with 70.40 points on their inward 2 ½ pike in the next round to move up to third place and then took the lead on their front 3 ½ pike in round four of the prelims.
“I think after this morning, we recovered really well from the second round. We knew that when we came into the finals, all we needed to do was just five dives the way we do every day in practice. We just needed to land on our heads,” Cook said. “I think we were just feeling a little bit of pressure this morning, but we came back feeling really confident and more like ourselves this afternoon.”
In the final, Cook and Bacon opened with 102 points on their first two dives. They added 68.40 on their inward 2 ½ pike in the third round and scored 72.90 points on their final dive, a front 2 ½ with one twist.
Cook and Bacon won a silver medal in synchronized 3-meter at a World Cup meet in Montreal earlier this month.
“We felt great in Montreal. We were only about 10 points behind China. That gave us more confidence coming in here. We had a mess up in prelims, yes, but we bounced back from it, and it feels good to be national champions,” Bacon said.
The USA Diving National Championships continue through Wednesday, May 24. Individual events begin Saturday with men’s and women’s 1-meter competition.