INDIANAPOLIS (Purdue Sports) — Incoming Boilermaker Tyler Downs executed all six of his dives at a high level to again improve upon his list score from the previous round, not only qualifying for the Olympic Games as a 17-year-old but also emerging victorious on 3-meter at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on Sunday.
He still sums it up well: “Making the Olympic team at 17, it’s unreal.”
— Purdue Diving (@PurdueDivers) June 14, 2021
Downs entered the night in fourth place, just 4.3 points behind second place and an Olympic bid. His list Sunday was highlighted by a clutch round 5 dive that produced a 92.75 and gave him the lead for good. The Ballwin, Missouri, native won the three-list competition with a cumulative score of 1333.75. His list scores improved from 423.05 (prelim) to 446.85 (semifinal) to 463.85 in the bright lights of Sunday’s final.
Purdue alumnus and hall of famer David Boudia took third with a three-list total of 1314.95, finishing just 4.45 points behind Andrew Capobianco in second place and an Olympic bid. Capobianco rallied from sixth place entering the day, riding Sunday’s best list score (493.90) to make up the 48.70-point deficit he faced on second place. Capobianco was also an Olympic qualifier in 3-meter synchro this year.
Boudia’s quest to become just the third American diver to be a four-time Olympian may have come up just short, but he was gracious in congratulating the much younger Downs and Capobianco after the sixth and final round wrapped up. At 32 years old, Boudia was the only 30-year-old man (and third overall including the women) competing at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials this year. He also competed on 3-meter for the first time at the Olympic Trials after winning four Olympic medals on 10-meter.
Rising senior Maggie Merriman finished 11th in the women’s 10-meter competition. She produced her best list score (274.65) of the week in Sunday’s final. She was a finalist in the event at the Big Ten Championships, NCAA Championships and Olympic Trials this year.
Downs is the youngest diver to qualify for Team USA this year. He was also a top-five finisher on 10-meter Saturday, producing another strong showing in an event won by Purdue alumnus and fellow first-time Olympian Brandon Loschiavo. Downs is currently coached by John Wingfield of RipFest Diving in the Indianapolis area. Wingfield also coached Boudia before he came to Purdue as a freshman in the fall of 2008.
Meanwhile, 13 years after Boudia was a first-time Olympian for Team USA as an incoming freshman at Purdue, Downs represents another talented and versatile recruit that earned the right to compete at the Olympic Games as a teenager. Ten Boilermakers competed at diving’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials this week. Fellow incoming freshmen Jordan Rzepka and Sophie McAfee also had strong showings in their debuts at the Olympic Trials, with Rzepka joining rising senior Ben Bramley, Loschiavo and Downs in the men’s 10-meter final.
Boudia’s list score dropped to 425.25 Sunday after he held the lead entering the day thanks to scores of 434.50 (prelim) and 455.20 (semifinal) Wednesday. After his lowest-scoring dive Wednesday was 57.8, an ill-timed miss in round 4 Sunday ultimately cost him. He regrouped nicely with scores of 80.50 and 84 in the final two rounds but could not overcome the 40.80 in round 4.
Capobianco’s lowest-scoring dive in the final was 75.60 in round 4 and Downs’ poorest mark was 66.30 in round 3. They didn’t miss any of their six dives Sunday and it led to them earning berths on Team USA.
Eight of the 11 diving qualifiers for Team USA this week were first-time Olympians.
Diving at the Olympic Games in Tokyo is set for July 25 to Aug. 7. The men’s 3-meter competition begins Aug. 2. The men’s 10-meter competition is on Aug. 6.