INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Olympic trials in diving open Saturday and run through June 26 at the Natatorium at IUPUI. Two divers will qualify for the Rio Olympics in each individual event, plus three teams of two divers each in synchronized events.
Five things to watch:
BOUDIA GOES FOR BACK-TO-BACK
Much has changed for David Boudia since winning a gold medal on 10-meter at the 2012 London Olympics.
Purdue’s six-time NCAA champion has become a husband and father. He has been a judge on the celebrity diving TV show Splash, picked up endorsements, written an autobiography and changed synchro teammates.
Much has stayed the same, too. Boudia is one of the best in the business.
Besides 2012 gold, he has silver medals from the 2015, 2013, and 2011 World Championships. That is rare consistency in a technical sport dominated by the Chinese. No diver has won successive Olympic golds on platform since Greg Louganis in 1984 and 1988.
This is the fourth Olympic trials for Boudia, 27, who as a 15-year-old came close to making the 2004 team in synchro. He made his first Olympic team at Indianapolis in 2008. He and Nick McCrory won synchro bronze in 2012, and he is teaming with Purdue’s Steele Johnson in 2016.
Boudia announced a year ago that Rio de Janeiro would be his last Olympics. He has backed away from that, saying he would decide after these Olympics. He did not win an individual medal in any of this year’s four World Series events, an international series, but has shown enough to reinforce his status as a Rio contender.
NERVES FOR STEELE
One of the most compelling contests will between Johnson and David Dinsmore to decide the second U.S. spot in men’s 10-meter.
Dinsmore and Johnson finished third and fourth, respectively, in February’s World Cup at Rio. In no other event does the United States have three potential medalists. Only two make the team.
Dinsmore, 19, of New Albany, Ohio, beat out Johnson for the second world spot 13 months ago. Johnson turned 20 Thursday. With Boudia sitting out, Johnson finished first and Dinsmore third at December’s winter nationals.
In a state known for basketball, Indiana is more influential in diving than in any other sport. It’s not just that USA Diving offices are in Indianapolis. Out of 16 on last year’s U.S. squad for the World Championships, nine had Indiana ties — that is, they are residents, attend college or trained here. Nearly 20 divers connected to the state have qualified for these trials.
Besides Boudia, the only American diver to win a medal at the 2015 worlds was Indiana University’s Michael Hixon, who took bronze on 1-meter (not an Olympic event). The two-time NCAA champion redshirted the 2016 college season, as did IU’s Jessica Parratto, a 2015 NCAA champ.
Amy Cozad, 25, an IU graduate, was sixth on 10-meter at the 2015 worlds. That was best by an American since Laura Wilkinson in 2007. She is Parratto’s synchro teammate.
Sarah Bacon, 19, and Zach Cooper, 18, who represented Team USA at the 2015 Pan American Games, are other contenders. Jordan Windle, 17, of Morrisville, N.C., was born in Cambodia, adopted at 18 months, and is a former Indianapolis resident.
YOUNG AND OLD
Entries range from Tarrin Gilliland, 13, to Troy Dumais, 36, and Qiogqie Drew, 34.
Gilliland, of Liberty Hill, Texas, is eligible because she meets the Olympic age qualification of 14 in this calendar year (born Sept. 17, 2002). She is a genuine contender, having finishing third on 10-meter platform in December’s winter nationals at the Natatorium.
Dumais competed in his first Olympic Trials at the Natatorium in 1996 or before some of these divers were born. He is trying to be the first U.S. diver to make five Olympic teams. He has five world medals and won his first Olympic medal in 2012, a 3-meter synchro bronze.
Drew, born in China, became a U.S. citizen last year and competed for the first time in nearly a decade at winter nationals. She is in women’s 3-meter.
ENTERTAINMENT FOR FANS
The Natatorium, built in 1982, ‘’looks like a brand new pool.’’ That’s what Boudia said at the Natatorium’s grand reopening last week, signaling the end of a $20 million renovation. This will be the first major event since the end of the five-phase, 21-month project.
To spectators, the most obvious upgrade will be the interior, brightened by new lights and fresh white paint. A feature for fans will be the AT&T H2O Zone, located in the gymnasium off the main concourse. It opens 90 minutes before each session and includes merchandise, entertainment, and autograph and question-and-answer sessions with athletes.
The U.S. Olympic Committee’s Road to Rio traveling tour comes to Monument Circle with displays, zip line and virtual reality experiences. On June 24, a noon Olympic Day celebration will include an autograph session with Boudia, a concert by Olympian-turned-musician Thomas Finchum and sport demonstrations. On June 25, there will be an autograph session with Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and a concert by country artist Hunter Hayes.