After the competition ended in men’s springboard, Troy Dumais didn’t appear to be all that relaxed. Like a man with unfinished business. Like a man trying to fill a void.
A void that apparently can only be filled with an Olympic medal.
Dumais will get his third chance after winning the springboard competition at the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials in Indianapolis. As a result of his victory, he has locked up one of the two spots for the U.S. in springboard.
“I remember watching Greg Louganis win all those gold medals,” said Dumais. “And I thought that I want to win more than him.”
That probably won’t happen, but the fact that he hasn’t won a medal in two tries eats away at the 28-year-old from Ventura, Calif. “It burns a hole in your stomach,” said Dumais.
This is a new Olympics, and this may be a new Dumais. After two sixth place finishes on springboard, he has taken a new approach to diving, thanks in part to his coach Matt Scoggin.
“Mentally, he can handle higher pressure situations now,” said Scoggin, who also coached Dumais at the University of Texas. According to Scoggin, Dumais was taking things too seriously and it affected his diving. Now his success is important, but not that important.
That’s not to say that Dumais doesn’t have the drive, but his focus is different. It seemed evident in his performance at the trials. He came with a job to do, and accomplished his goal of qualifying for the Olympic team. Now he will move to the next step – preparing for the Games in Beijing.
“It was easier,” said Dumais of these trials as compared to the past. “Easier to keep control of my emotions. We knew what we had to do, and it’s an ongoing process.”
As for the competition at the Olympics, Dumais is confident about his ability to compete.
“On any given day, any of the top-12 divers in finals can win the gold. It’s going to be dive for dive. As long as my fitness is there, it becomes a mind game.”
He also wants a shot at the best the Chinese can offer. “I don’t want to beat them when they miss, I want to beat them when they are at their best.”
Dumais clearly was the winner of the contest and locked one of the spots, what remains is the selection of the second springboard diver.
If that diver was chosen from the performances at the trials, Chris Colwill would clearly be that diver, as he separated himself from the field. Outside of Dumais, Colwill was easily the most consistent over the course of the prelims, semifinals and finals. He also used a new dive in finals, a dive that only one other diver in the world is using – a reverse 2 ½ somersaults with 2 ½ twists, with a degree of difficulty of 3.9.
“It was nice throwing in the big dive and doing it quite well,” said Colwill. “This is only the second time I’ve done it.”
As one of the top six finishers, Colwill will head to the Olympic Selection Camp in Knoxville, Tenn., where he will have to prove that he can consistently repeat his performance from the trials. If he does, he will probably earn the second springboard berth.
“I definitely feel comfortable going to the camp, I’ll just try to do the same, if not better.”The Olympic Selection Camp will run July 2-6, and will also function as the selection process for the synchro teams.
The trials signaled the end of competitive diving for veteran Mark Ruiz. After finishing 11th, the two-time Olympian officially retired. “I’ m done for sure,” said Ruiz.
After retiring following the 2004 Games, Ruiz staged a comeback with hopes of qualifying for Beijing. Despite not diving as well as he would have wanted, Ruiz had no regrets about his decision to return to competition. “As I said before, I’m happy that I came back,” added Ruiz. “I didn’t want to wonder about what could have been.”
- Troy Dumais (Ventura, Calif.) – 1552.90
- Chris Colwill (Brandon, Fla.) – 1465.10
- Justin Wilcock (Smithfield, Utah) – 1363.40
- Jevon Tarantino (Boca Raton, Fla.) – 1362.80
- Kristian Ipsen (Clayton, Calif.) – 1304.45
- Burkley Showe (Columbus, Ohio) – 1267.25
- Aaron Fleshner (Spring, Texas) – 1247.15
- Harrison Jones (Spring, Texas) – 1221.30
- Jonathan Wilcox (Bellevue, Wash.) – 1182.55
- Kellen Harkness (Puyallup, Wash.) – 1176.20
- Mark Ruiz (Orlando, Fla.) – 1129.45
- Terry Horner (Orlando, Fla.) – 1057.95
Men's Three-meter Springboard Finals