June 22, 2012
Minnesota diver Kelci Bryant earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic diving team for the second time in her career by winning the women's synchronized 3-meter springboard, along with partner Abby Johnston, Thursday night at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Federal Way, Wash.
The pair tallied 956.40 points to win the synchronized 3-meter event, narrowly defeating the second-place pair of Christina Loukas and Kassidy Cook by just .42 points.
A two-time NCAA Champion with the Gophers, Bryant took the year off in 2011-12 to concentrate on making the U.S. team for the London 2012 Olympics and will be eligible to return to the team for her senior season in 2012-13.
Scores at the Trials were cumulative, with lists from preliminaries, semifinals and finals all counting toward team selection. Bryant and Johnston had a 6.51-point lead heading into the finals, and although Loukas and Cook outperformed them on their final five dives, Bryant and Johnston's scores from prelims and semifinals were enough to keep them atop the leaderboard at the end of the competition.
In a release from USA Diving, Bryant said the pair will benefit from the television coverage that's surrounded this week's Trials. In 2008, synchro teams were chosen at a selection camp.
"It's different this time around because it wasn't on TV (in 2008). This will help us in London with all of the pressure," Bryant said. "Getting up on the podium is what we're looking to do."
Bryant also competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the synchronized 3-meter springboard with partner Ariel Rittenhouse under U.S. diving coach, and current Minnesota diving coach, Wenbo Chen, where she finished fourth overall in her Olympic debut.