Already dominating the diving pool at the world championships, China took its performance to an even higher level in men’s 3-meter synchro. Qin Kai and Luo Yutong earned 10 perfect marks on their way to winning the host country’s sixth gold medal.
The Chinese divers pulled away midway through the final Tuesday and finished with 463.98 points, giving China its second gold of the day and eighth medal overall in the outdoor pool.
Earlier, Shi Tingmao and Wang Han finished 1-2 in the women’s 1-meter to complete a springboard sweep for the Chinese.
Mexico’s Yahel Castillo and Julian Sanchez earned the bronze at 437.61.
Americans Kristian Ipsen and Troy Dumais settled for fourth at 429.06, the highest finish for the United States so far. They were in second place going into the last dive, but Dumais missed on a reverse 2½ somersault with 1½ twists to drop out of medal contention. The duo won the silver two years ago in Rome.
“I missed my last dive and that’s what happens,” Dumais said. “I’m sorry I had to bring my teammate down with me, but that’s just the way it is — he did a great dive and I missed mine.”
The Chinese led all the way, increasing their lead by double digits starting with the third round. Qin, who won the gold in Rome with a different partner, and Luo did the same dive as the Americans in the final round, and the Chinese received one 10 for execution.
Their first two dives earned four 10s each for synchronization, and their third dive received one 10, causing fans to pound their red-and-white Thunderstix.
“Our rivals gave us a lot of pressure, especially for the final dive,” Qin said. “They made a few difficult dives. However, we kept our confidence and solved the problem.”
The Chinese are known for their high degree of difficulty, but it was the Russian duo who performed the toughest dive of the competition.
Zakharov and Kuznetsov went for it on their final dive, a forward with 4½ twists that earned high enough marks to push them onto the medals podium.
“I don’t think we can’t compete with them,” Zakharov said of the Chinese, “but here in Shanghai, it’s easy for the Chinese divers to win the title because they have their home swimming pool.”
The women’s contest was close, with Shi totaling 318.65 points and Wang just 8.45 points behind for silver with 310.20. Wang improved on her third-place showing two years ago in Rome.
“I was nervous today, so it’s hard to win. But I feel pretty good at last,” said Shi, a 19-year-old who is not on China’s national team. “My opponents are strong so I stayed in a low key before the contest. The biggest achievement is that I am now a world champion, not just a national champion anymore.”
Italy’s Tania Cagnotto earned the bronze with 295.45 after being 12th in the preliminaries.
“This is a great medal, maybe my best one,” she said. “This time I’m congratulating myself.”
The Italian diver broke her wrist last month in a scooter accident and had surgery, leaving her just two weeks to train for worlds.
“I even didn’t know whether I can compete,” Cagnotto said. “The Chinese divers are consistent and they are the best. Although I trained very hard, it’s still too difficult to beat them.”
Wang led after the first round before Shi took over the top spot through the last four rounds.
Wang received her lowest marks on her second dive.
“It’s a pity that I failed to win the title. I made mistakes in my second dive, which I usually did well,” she said. “I should have had more practice.”
Their teammates, Li Shixin and He Min, won gold and silver in the men’s 1-meter event Monday.
Shi’s victory gave China its fifth gold in diving with five events remaining. The Chinese have won seven medals overall at the outdoor pool.
Shi led Wang by just 4.55 points after four dives. Both women performed reverse 1 1-2 somersaults with 1 1-2 twists on their last dives — with equal 2.6 degree of difficulty — but Shi received marks of 9.0 and higher, while Wang’s marks ranged from 8.0 to 9.0.
“The Chinese are really consistent, and they are beautiful divers,” said American Abby Johnston, who was sixth.
Anastasia Pozdniakova of Russia was in position to claim the silver, but she badly missed on her fourth dive and dropped from second to last in the 12-woman field.
Pozdniakova came out of her dive and landed on her belly, creating a huge splash. She received marks ranging from 1.5 to 3.0, and with only one dive remaining had no chance to move up.
The other U.S. diver, Kelci Bryant, finished ninth.