David Boudia kept his lead after the men’s platform semifinal competition at the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials in Indianapolis, but he is hearing footsteps behind him. Thomas Finchum continued his exceptional diving, cutting into Boudia’s lead which now stands at 26 points.
Finchum started the competition 48.7 points behind Boudia, but put together a list of six dives that scored 541.3 points, almost cutting the lead in half. To put this in perspective, if Finchum were to receive a perfect score of 10 on every dive, he would have a point total of 582. In a sport where a score of 10 is a rarity, his diving is getting close to perfection.
“I feel pretty pleased with how tonight came out,” said Finchum. “But I feel there is room to improve.”
Not that much room though.
Finchum was not the only story, as the semifinals were characterized by exceptional diving from the top three competitors - Boudia, Finchum and Drew Livingston. In a scene that was eerily reminiscent of the 1996 trials at this same venue, none of the top three was willing to concede the contest.
The trials that year saw Mark Lenzi, Scott Donie and Dean Panaro battle on springboard for the top two spots, and berths on the Olympic team. Each dive was followed by a better effort from the next competitor, finally reaching a crescendo with Lenzi and Donie securing the two Olympic spots.
This contest was a mirror of that previous event. Case in point, during the fourth round each of the divers were performing a reverse 3 ½ somersaults in tuck. First was Livingston, who hit his dive for scores of 8.5 and 9; by any standards, an exceptional dive. Next came Finchum who upped the ante and received scores of 9, 9.5, and three perfect scores of 10. Boudia followed, and his answer was the highest scoring dive of the evening on which he received four 10s. Needless to the say, the crowd roared with its approval.
“It was definitely exciting,” said Boudia. “Having the crowd into it was fun.”
This contest, and the competitive environment that was shown will no doubt benefit whoever competes in Beijing, where every diver in finals will be capable and motivated.
“It’s definitely an advantage diving in this kind of environment,” said Finchum. “Drew puts pressure on me and and I put pressure on David. I think we are all capable of doing well internationally.”
After not having his best day in the prelims on Wednesday, Boudia rebounded with five great dives, and one good one. The one good dive was his back 3 ½ somersaults in pike, a high degree of difficulty dive and one on which he normally has a lot of confidence.
“Tonight was a lot better than Wednesday,” said Boudia. “I missed one of my best dives and I know I can hit that, so I'm not too worried about that for finals.”
Despite having a great semifinal, Livingston finds himself almost 100 points behind Boudia and will need to have the meet of his life to catch the leaders. But motivation for this Texas native does not seem to have dimenished.
“They have pulled away,” said Livingston of Boudia and Finchum. “But anything can happen. I’ll just try to do my best each time.”
What makes this an exciting contest to watch is that these three athletes are well matched. Take away the 65 points with which Boudia earned prior to the preliminaries, and take away Livingston’s armstand balk in the prelims, and the three are only separated by 50 points after two lists of dives.
The finals should be exciting!
- David Boudia (Noblesville, Ind.) – 1091.90
- Thomas Finchum (Indianapolis) – 1065.25
- Drew Livingston (The Woodlands, Texas) – 987.90
- Harrison Jones (Spring, Texas) – 845.05
- David Colturi (Sylvania, Ohio) – 840.55
- JJ Kinzbach (Montgomery, Texas)– 838.15
- Nick McCrory (Chapel Hill, N.C.) – 825.35
- Weston Wieser (Chesterfield, Mo.) – 815.70
- Daniel Mazzaferro (Cheshire, Conn.) – 814.50
- Matthew Cooper (Bethesda, Md.) – 813.30
- Sean Moore (Englewood, Colo.) – 708.55
Men's 10-meter Platform Semifinals