Dorman, Hixon deal big blow to Dumais' Olympic hopes
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Samuel Dorman and Michael Hixon struggled to find words to describe the biggest accomplishment of their lives Wednesday night. So the two divers hugged, shook hands, pointed to the crowd and waved a flag bearing the letters U-S-A with the five Olympic rings.
A few feet away, 36-year-old Troy Dumais, the sport's iron man, walked down the pool deck and somberly hugged everyone he wanted to thank in what looked like a farewell lap.
Yes, it was an emotional night at the U.S. Olympic diving trials.
Dorman and Hixon never gave an opening to Dumais and Kristian Ipsen in the men's synchro 3-meter final and claimed the first spots on the diving team bound for Rio by easily beating the defending bronze medalists in the event. Jessica Parratto and Amy Cozad also qualified with 89-point victory in the women's 10-meter.
''Amazing, great, the best. Words can't describe it, really,'' Dorman said with that wide grin. ''It was definitely a nerve-wracking experience waiting for Kristian and Troy to go, knowing they hit all their dives.''
They sure didn't look anxious.
The 24-year-old Dorman, a Miami resident, and the 21-year-old Hixon, a student at Indiana University, came into the night with a 56-point lead and maintained by matching the scores of Dumais and Ipsen on three of their six dives. Dorman and Hixon had a cumulative score of 1,308.36 points, well ahead of the second-place finishers at 1,260.39.
While the Olympic veterans performed better Wednesday than they had in last weekend's prelims and semifinals, they still weren't good enough and it may cost Dumais a shot at making history.
He will compete Saturday in the men's 3-meter finals, but is 110 points out of the second qualifying spot.
If he can't overcome that big deficit, Dumais' bid to become the first American male diver to make five Olympic teams and the oldest American man to dive in the Olympics in more than a century will end in Indianapolis.
''It's tough,'' Dumais said, his voice cracking. ''I didn't know if I was going to be able to dive with the shoulder (injury). I never wanted to let Kristian down. I'm not that kind of athlete.''
Ipsen immediately jumped in and said he was every bit as proud of what they had accomplished through the years and this week as Dorman and Hixon seemed to be with their making their first Olympic team.
The difference in Indy was that Dorman and Hixon took advantage of a more difficult set of dives. They're scoring advantage was so great that Hixon's big mistake on the last barely altered the victory margin.
''I started celebrating a little early, I guess,'' Hixon said, drawing laughs.
But Dumais acknowledged they were the better team all week.
''They did the dives,'' he said. ''All I can do is congratulate them.''
Now the two Olympic newcomers will find themselves surrounded by some other familiar first-time Olympians.
Dorman has trained with Hixon at Indiana University, which is where Parratto competes and is Cozad's alma mater.
Like the two men, the women's teammates came into the finals with a big lead and built such a wide margin they didn't even need to attempt their final dive to clinch the victory. They did anyway, getting a 69.12 to finish with a 15-dive score 935.76. Samantha Bromberg and Delaney Schnell were second at 846.42.
''We've been working so hard for this for so long and it's not even our accomplishment,'' Parratto said. ''It's all the people who have been behind us for years and years and years. So we're sharing that, and I'm sure it will sink in eventually.''
The trials resume Thursday with finals in the men's synchro 10-meter. Two-time Olympic medalist David Boudia and Steele Johnson are the heavy favorites in that event.