Women's Synchronized Springboard
- Top Contenders
- Kassidy Cook / Christina Loukas - Finished behind Bryant and Johnston at the 2012 Winter Nationals after leading heading into finals. Could that act as a motivator?
- Abby Johnston / Kelci Bryant - Missed a medal at the 2012 World Cup by less than two points, but will need to be on their game to win trials.
- Amanda Burke / Summer Allman - Will face an uphill battle to qualify, but this pair has the talent, they just need a few breaks from the top two teams.
As with the women's individual springboard event, there are five divers that stand out at the trials, and these five divers have been paired together at one point or another in synchro contests.
But five is not an even number so it looks as if Cassidy Krug is the odd diver out for the trials. As a result this contest looks to be a battle between two teams: Christina Loukas/Kassidy Cook and Abby Johnston /Kelci Bryant.
And it should be a battle to watch! The two teams clearly have a jump on the rest of the field, but not so much of a jump that this might resemble a one-on-one contest, a scenario that could be as much of a hinderence as it is a blessing.
It's a well known fact that Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer lost many a golf tournament as they were two fixated on beating each other instead of the competition. I know it's a different sport, but the concept is the same. If the two teams do not concentrate on diving, a team such as Summer Allman and Amanda Burke could steal the show.
But back to the show. Both teams have the tools to win the contest, and with a good showing possibly a medal in London. As with the individual events, the scores are cumulative so there will not be a reprieve after a bad dive or round – everything counts. That means the diving will be about consistency and the queen of consistency historically has been Kelci Bryant.
Bryant has made her mark by being a consistently good diver. She may not get 10’s on her dives, but she is not going to throw in a clunker either. It is why she was a 2008 Olympian in synchro and why she is back in 2012.
If Abby Johnston can match Bryant’s consistent nature, they will be hard to beat. But as much as Kelci has been consistent, Abby has been a bit inconsistent. That will be the key: how consistent Johnston is through prelims, semis and finals.
The two have obviously proved that they are capable with a win at the 2012 Winter Nationals and a fourth at the recent World Cup, but Loukas and Cook are a formidable team and it should be nip and tuck all the way to the final dive.
Men's Synchronized Springboard
- Top Contenders
- Chris Colwill / Drew Livingston - Colwill is a 2008 Olympian in synchro and was the last diver to win a national title in synchro before Dumais and Ipsen teamed up. The team finished second to Dumais/Ipsen at the 2012 Winter Nationals.
- Troy Dumais / Kristian Ipsen - The clear favorite with the results to back it up. Odd things do happen though. The great racehorse Man O' War lost one race in his career to a horse named ... Upset. Get the point?
- Michael Hixon / David Bonuchi - Serious contenders for ... Rio. Jokes aside, these two definitely have the talent and the dives to compete, but may be hampered by inexperience.
- Justin Dumais / Dwight Dumais - The brothers could be dangerous, especially if Justin can knock off the competitive rust that built up while he was away flying jets.
You don't want to call this a one-horse race because it takes a bit of the fun out of the trials, but it kind of is. Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen have by far been the most dominant synchro team in men's springboard for the past three years. The two have won every national synchro title since 2010 and have silver medals from both the world championships and world cup to add to their growing list of achievements.
So what could keep them from taking that talent to London? Probably not much other than themselves.
I would expect them to win the event in workmanlike fashion with no new dives or wrinkles - just doing what they have done for the past three years, then hop on the plane to London.
This is not to say that the other teams are going to roll over and play dead, but the event is theirs to lose. Things do happen though, just ask Troy and his brother Justin Dumais about that at the Athens Olympics. And I doubt Justin would loose much sleep over knocking his bother off the top of the podium to be the only diver to go to the Olympics with different brothers as a teammate. Could make the holiday season interesting though!
Men's Synchronized Platform
- Top Contenders
- David Boudia/Nick McCrory – A fourth at the 2012 World Cup and a fifth at the 2011 World Championships. They just aren’t going to get beat.
- Rest of the Field – There are some good teams, but they won’t have much of a chance unless Boudia or McCrory get hurt.
I don't want to sound like a broken record, but the men's synchronized platform scenario is very similar to springboard synchro. A dominant team enters the trials with multiple national championship wins, the only difference is that this team has not won an international medal.
This is one of those events where it would be hard to pick against the favorite, and I won’t. They are just that much better than the rest of the field, have more experience and would need some sort of catastrophic event (such as a meteor hitting the earth) to keep them off the team.