Five women to watch at U.S. Olympic Diving Trials
Diving sets the stage this weekend for three eventful weeks of U.S. Olympic Trials. Berths on the diving team headed to Rio will be awarded next week, and the squad will be known in full June 26.
Preliminary rounds take place each day in Indianapolis from Saturday through Tuesday, followed by finals June 22-26. Much of the action will be aired live on NBC, NBCSN and streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra.
U.S. divers qualified for Olympic berths in seven of eight events. They failed to secure a spot in the women’s synchronized springboard event, but will compete in men’s synchronized springboard and platform, men’s individual springboard and platform, women’s synchronized platform, and women’s individual springboard and platform.
Here are five women’s divers to watch at trials. Click here for the men.
Along with Kelci Bryant, Johnston captured the only diving medal among U.S. women in London, which snapped a drought that hadn’t seen any American females win a diving medal since Laura Wilkinson in 2000. Johnston and Bryant won silver in synchronized springboard – the event in which the U.S. did not earn a 2016 berth. While synchro is Johnston’s specialty, the Duke medical student was the top American in women’s individual springboard at the 2015 World Championships (21st in the preliminary round), and placed second in the event at last year’s Winter Nationals.
The U.S. women are guaranteed one berth in individual springboard in Rio, and might be awarded a second depending on how FINA distributes some spots. Regardless, Cook could be the top American on springboard, which is saying something considering doctors once thought she might not dive competitively again. The 21-year-old Stanford student won both the Summer and Winter Nationals last year. Four years ago, she missed making the Olympic team by .42 of a point in synchronized springboard with Christina Loukas. Cook placed fourth in the individual event at the 2012 trials.
The favorite to claim one of two berths on women’s platform is Amy Cozad, who took the title at 2015 Winter Nationals. She placed sixth at Worlds last year, highest among U.S. women, and third at the 2012 trials, one spot away from an Olympic berth. Cozad, with Jessica Parratto, was also on the top U.S. women’s synchro platform team at Worlds. That duo took titles at both the Summer and Winter Nationals last year, too.
Cozad’s partner in synchro, Parratto is Cozad’s top competitor in individual platform. Parratto was runner-up at the most recent Winter Nationals, the 2015 NCAA champion on platform while at Indiana, and finished 21st individually at 2015 Worlds. She’s the daughter of a former All-American diver at Wellesley College (her mom was her first diving coach) and turns 22 on the last day of trials. What a gift an Olympic berth would be.
Pushing Johnston and Cook on the springboard will be Ryan, the only other U.S. woman at 2015 Worlds with Johnston on springboard. Ryan placed 25th. She finished second at both the Summer and Winter Nationals in 2014, then placed third at the most recent winter event. She also competed in the synchro springboard event at Worlds – she and Johnston placed ninth – but was unable to help secure an Olympic berth in that event for the U.S.