Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sports

Brandon's Chris Colwill makes U.S. Olympic team with win at diving trials

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — No matter what happened on the final dive, Kristian Ipsen and Troy Dumais were already bound for London. Chris Colwill didn't have that security.

With his Olympic hopes on the line and a sliver of a lead in the men's 3-meter final at the U.S. Olympic trials, the Brandon native's last dive Sunday was the highest-scoring one of the entire competition.

It gave him the win and a spot on his second Olympic team.

"Competing in the (2008) Olympics, that definitely was the biggest pressure," said Colwill, 27, who finished 12th at Beijing. "But I felt like I did a good job. (I wanted to) enjoy myself and have fun and not worry so much about how the event was going to go and embrace the environment."

Dumais finish second and reached his fourth Olympics in the 3-meter event. Only the top two finishers got spots for London. Ipsen and Dumais previously qualified for the Games in the 3-meter synchro event.

In the other final Sunday, Brittany Viola, daughter of 1988 Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Frank Viola, won the women's platform in her third attempt to make the Olympics.

Viola, a graduate of Orlando Lake Highland Prep and the University of Miami, won by nearly 60 points over Katie Bell, who got the other qualifying spot.

In the 3-meter, Colwill was third after the preliminaries and third after the semifinals. With scores carrying into the final, the former Tampa Prep standout entered more than 42 points behind leader Ipsen.

His key dive came in the fourth of the six rounds, when he scored 85.00 points on a reverse 1½ somersault with 3½ twists.

"I missed that big time in prelims, and (it was) the reason why I was struggling behind trying to keep up with the pack," Colwill said. "I needed to make sure that was going to go down solid."

Entering the final round, the three divers were separated by 2.40 points, with Colwill in the lead, and all three had their favorite dives for their finale.

Colwill, who dived before the other two, scored 99.75, the highest of the competition, on a reverse 3½ somersaults to all but clinch the title.

(Judges score dives on a scale of zero to 10 points; Colwill's finale got 9s and 9.5s.)

Colwill finished with 1,457.45 points. Dumais had 1,448.35 and Ipsen 1,447.10.

Dumais is making his fourth Olympic trip, tying Greg Louganis as the only men to make four U.S. diving teams.

Viola, 25, barely missed a trip to Beijing, finishing fourth at the 2008 trials. She held a comfortable lead going into the final Sunday and never had her Olympic spot threatened.

"It was wonderful to make the team and continue on a dream I've had for a long time," Viola said. "For me, it's just a miracle. It's a gift to be able to do what I'm going to do now."

Viola's dad wasn't able to get away from his job as pitching coach for the Savannah Sand Gnats, the New York Mets' low Class A affiliate, to attend the trials, but he told his daughter he would be watching on a clubhouse TV and likely not doing much coaching.

Savannah lost to the Augusta Greenjackets 2-1 Sunday.

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Published: 12/11/17