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U.S. Olympic Diving Trials loaded with intrigue
There are events loaded with high-flying divers vying for a single spot on the Olympic roster. There also are well-established favorites, veterans seeking another triumph and youngsters aiming to break out.
The U.S. Olympic Diving Trials that run Saturday through June 26 in Indianapolis offer numerous attractions as the federation selects its team for the Rio Games in August.
Orange County’s hopes appear to rest with up-and-comers Mark Anderson (El Toro), 20, and Cami Hidalgo (Capistrano Valley), 17, while the national scene is stuffed with storylines.
Here’s a preview of the meet at the Indiana University Natatorium with analysis from Stephen Foley, high performance director for USA Diving:
Women’s 3-meter springboard (June 26 final): There’s only one Olympic berth available at this point in arguably the deepest event of the competition.
Kassidy Cook of The Woodlands, Texas and Olympic silver medalist Abby Johnston of Ohio could be favorites based on their first-second finish at the U.S. winter nationals in December, Foley said. But he also views Laura Ryan of Elk River, Minn., 2008 Olympian Ariel Rittenhouse of Santa Cruz, Maren Taylor of Arlington, Va., Deidre Freeman Huff of Iowa and USC-based Ajie Drew among other contenders to watch. Drew was born in China and recently became a U.S. citizen.
“It would be one heck of a story if (Rittenhouse) were to make the Rio team,” Foley said. “It’s going to be one heck of an event.”
Women’s platform (June 25 final): Foley sees a “big three” with Amy Cozad of Indianapolis, Jessica Parratto of New Hampshire and Samantha Bromberg of Ohio. A strong group of youngsters will be in pursuit, including Hidalgo. The three-time CIF-SS Division 1 champion from the Mission Viejo Nadadores is a member of the U.S. Tier II high performance team or junior national team.
“We just have a plethora of young girls on the platform that are very exciting,” Foley said. “It’s only a matter of time before (Hidalgo) makes it on the senior team.”
The top-two finishers qualify for Rio.
Women’s synchronized (June 22 final): The U.S. women didn’t qualify for Rio on the 3-meter partner event but will send its platform winner to the Games. The duo of Cozad and Parrotto is the squad to beat on the 10-meter platform, Foley said.
Men’s 3-meter springboard (June 25 final): Another deep event. The lead pack features Olympian Kristian Ipsen of Clayton and Stanford, Sam Dorman of Tempe, Ariz., Michael Hixon of Amherst, Ma., veteran Troy Dumais of Ventura and Darian Schmidt of Indiana.
The Texas-based Dumais, 36, will need a top-two finish to become the first five-time Olympian – male or female -- in U.S. diving.
“Anyone who is lining up for their fifth Olympic team in diving is incredible,” Foley said of Dumais. “He has helped raise the level of the next generation.”
Men’s platform (June 26 final): Defending Olympic champion David Boudia of Indiana is the class of the field but could be pushed by his synchro platform partner Steele Johnson, also from Indiana. Johnson finished ahead of Boudia at a recent FINA meet in Russia.
“That gave Steele a lot of confidence and he’s a man on a mission,” said Foley, who also is watching for David Dinsmore of New Albany, Ohio and 17-year-old Jordan Windle of North Carolina.
“A young superstar in the making,” Foley said of Windle, who was born in Cambodia.
Men’s synchro (June 22-23 finals): The winners of the 3-meter and platform partner events qualify for Rio.
The 3-meter event includes the Olympic bronze medalist duo of Ipsen and Dumais while Boudia and Johnson form a powerhouse duo on platform.
Anderson, a Nadadores product at the University of Texas, is competing on 3-meter, platform and the springboard synchro. But he also could surface in the platform synchro event with Windle, Foley said.
“Mark is just a very versatile athlete,” Foley said of Anderson, who also competed at the 2012 Trials. “Anderson and Windle could be a really good pair.”
O.C. entries: Tarek Abdelghany (Capistrano Valley), Mark Anderson (El Toro), Amanda Casillas (El Modena), Cami Hidalgo (Capistrano Valley), Kahley Rowell (Santa Margarita), Michole Timm (Nadadores)