FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (AP) — In a three-way battle of perfect marks, David Boudia outdid Nick McCrory and Thomas Finchum to lead the 10-meter platform semifinals at the U.S. diving trials on Tuesday night.
Boudia led all six rounds in totaling 1,083.75 points. He snagged five perfect 10.0 marks for his second dive, an inward 3 ½ somersaults.
“I look at my dive total and that’s it,” he said. “I don’t pay attention to how many 10s or 9s or 8s I get. I knew Nick was hitting it. It’s cool to see him rise to the challenge.”
McCrory, who led after the prelims, answered with four 10s for his second dive, an armstand back with 2 somersaults, but it wasn’t enough to get past Boudia, his synchro platform partner who is seeking his second Olympic berth. They own a commanding lead going into Thursday’s final in that event at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, south of Seattle.
McCrory was second at 1,043.95.
“It’s easy to get caught up in that (perfect marks),” he said. “You’re forced to watch everyone before you when you’re the last diver and you have to remember you’re doing your dives.”
Thomas Finchum, who finished 12th on platform at the Beijing Olympics, was third at 974.95. He collected six 10s in the fourth round for a reverse 3 ½ somersaults.
Scores carry over each round, and the top three men were clearly the class of the 18 divers in the semis. Boudia, McCrory and Finchum boast the most international experience of any U.S. man on platform. They led 12 divers into Saturday’s final. Only the top two finishers earn berths in London.
Boudia, McCrory and Finchum all did the same dive in the last round, a backward 2 ½ somersaults with 2 ½ twists that carries a high 6.6 degree of difficulty.
McCrory won that battle, scoring 102.60 points, including one 10. Boudia tallied 97.20, while Finchum struggled and scored 77.40.
“I left it a little bit short,” Finchum said. “I did miss a couple (dives) and when everyone’s diving for 10s, you can’t miss.”
McCrory showed Boudia what he’s made of by standing up under the pressure.
“I’m most proud of how Nick handled all that because it is Team USA,” he said. “It shows his mental toughness. He handled it awesome.”
David Bonuchi was fourth at 820.60, followed by Logan Shinholser at 790.10 and Harrison Jones with 789.95.
Boudia had set the tone for perfection in the prelims, when he earned a combined six 10s for two of his dives.
Finchum, who first made a splash as a tiny 15-year-old at the 2005 world championships, is trying to make his second Olympic team after going through what he called four “very difficult” years. He had right shoulder surgery at the end of 2010, the first serious adversity he’s faced in his career.
“Everything went easy for me when I was little,” he said. “It would mean a lot more to me because of what I’ve had to persevere through. It has made me so much stronger.”
Cassidy Krug moved closer to making her first Olympic diving team when she finished first in the 3-meter springboard semis.
Krug, who led after morning preliminaries, totaled 718.85 points and will take a 39.20-point lead over 2008 Olympian Christina Loukas into Saturday’s final.
Loukas had 679.65 points, with scores from prelims carrying over to the semis. Kassidy Cook was third at 653.25, followed by Bianca Alvarez at 626.00.
Kelci Bryant was fifth at 610.70 in her bid to make a second straight Olympic team.
The top 12 women advanced to the final. The two highest finishers earn berths in London.
Krug was in first throughout the five-dive semi. Her highest scoring dive came in the second round on a forward 3½ somersaults that earned marks ranging from 8.0 to 8.5.
“I was still diving a little bit controlled for me,” she said. “In the finals, I really want to let my body go. I can do a little cleaner entries and a little faster spins — a little more.”
Krug quit the sport four years ago when she finished eighth at trials. The 26-year-old daughter of two diving coaches from Pittsburgh has been around the sport her entire life because her parents coach at the university and club levels. Krug gave it up for a year before returning in 2010. She’s come on strong since, winning four national springboard titles, including this year’s winter nationals.
Loukas was cheered on by eight family members wearing turquoise T-shirts featuring her diving on the front. Her family owns the popular Cubby Bear Lounge near Wrigley Field in Chicago, where she figured the TVs were tuned to the NBA Finals on Tuesday night instead of the diving.
“I’m sure most people would want to see the basketball,” she said.
Loukas finished fourth on springboard at last year’s world championships in Shanghai, the best finish by an American woman at the meet since 1994, and was ninth in Beijing.
“This morning I was playing it a little safe and ended up not diving as well,” she said. “Tonight I was going for it more and it worked. I did feel more energy in the building, so that was fun. I love hearing my family yelling for me.”
Others making the final were Meili Carpenter, Summer Allman, Sarah Bacon, Samantha Pickens, Victoria Ishimatsu, Abby Johnston and Gracia Leydon-Mahoney.
The US Olympic Diving Trials continue through Sunday, June 24 at The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center is located at:
650 SW Campus Drive
Federal Way, WA 98023
— Copyright 2012 The Associated Press with contribution from tamacbsseattle.