Meet The 11 Members Of The U.S. Olympic Diving Team
by Karen Rosen
Their names are now inscribed on the famous wall at the Indiana University Natatorium along with other Olympians going back as far as 1984, including the legendary Greg Louganis.
After maintaining their fitness through the pandemic year, these divers now have a few more weeks to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
USA Diving qualified for 11 of the 12 quota spots available through placement at the 2019 World Championships or the World Cup in early May. Team USA will compete in every diving event in Tokyo except for synchronized 10-meter platform.
Team USA could have qualified a maximum of 14 athletes at the Trials, but three doubled up with berths in both synchro and individual events.
Here’s a little more about the 11 divers who are Tokyo-bound.
Andrew Capobianco competes in the men's 3-meter springboard at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 9, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The native of Holly Springs, North Carolina, won the Level 8 Junior Olympic national title on floor exercise in 2013 and did gymnastics and diving at the same time for several years. When he began focusing on diving, he believes his career took off. Capobianco, 21, was the 2012 NCAA champion for Indiana University on both 3-meter and 1-meter.
He had never tried synchro diving until he arrived in college, where he was paired up with Mike Hixon, the reigning Olympic silver medalist. At the World Cup in Tokyo, they earned the Olympic quota spot by placing fourth. Working together for a couple of weeks in Bloomington, Indiana, they worked on their approach.
Despite a back injury that has been bothering him, Capobianco climbed from sixth place in the individual final to second and nailed his new dive, the 207C, a back 3 ½ somersaults tuck. He finished with 1,319.40 points to edge three-time Olympian David Boudia by 4.45 points.
Tyler Downs competes in the men's 3-meter springboard at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 9, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Ballwin, Missouri, native will be the youngest diver at Team USA in Tokyo, Now 17, he will turn 18 on July 19. Downs jumped from fourth place to first in the final at the Olympic Trials, finishing with 1,333.75 points to defeat his idol, David Boudia, who had been in first after the prelims and semifinals. Although Boudia did not make the team, he gave one of his Olympic rings to Downs. It is a tradition for Olympic divers to give rings to the new Olympians, who will give them back once they get their own.
Downs also placed fifth in men’s platform. He is the 2018 world junior silver medalist on 1-meter and at the 2019 Junior Pan American Championships he won two gold and two bronze medals. Downs is also a six-time individual junior national champion.
The youngest of seven children, Downs had an active TikTok account with more than 500,000 followers who watched videos of him dancing and diving.
Alison Gibson competes in the women's 3-meter springboard at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 8, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Austin, Texas, native went to college at her hometown school. As a freshman at the University of Texas, Gibson won the first event she contested at the NCAA Championships (1-meter springboard, which is not an Olympic event), becoming the Longhorns’ first female NCAA diving champion in 10 years.
She is coached by Matt Scoggin, a 1992 Olympic diver for Team USA. At her first Olympic Trials in 2016, Gibson placed sixth in 3-meter springboard, and moved up a spot to fifth in the event this year.
She competed in the 2017 and 2019 world championships. A swimmer before she started diving at age 9. Gibson is the three-time Junior Pan American Championships medalist on 3-meter and gold medalist on 1-meter, which is not an Olympic event. At the request of Palmer, her synchro partner, she performs the 5154B, which makes them a formidable duo. They also like to dance before they dive.
Hailey Hernandez competes in the women's 3-meter springboard at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 8, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The youngest female diver going to Tokyo for Team USA at age 18, Hernandez is a four-time Texas state champion. She placed second at the Trials, finishing with 926.55 points by displaying consistency despite having a lower degree of difficulty than her top rivals.
The Southlake, Texas, native began diving at age 7 and was first taught to do flips by her brother Nathaniel, who is five years older and also competed at the Trials.
Hernandez is a 10-time junior national champion. She won two silver medals at the 2018 world junior championships (1-meter and 3-meter) and won a gold and two silver medals at the 2019 Junior Pan American Championships. Hernandez will attend the University of Texas.
Michael Hixon competes in the men's 3-meter springboard at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 9, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
After winning the 2016 Olympic silver medal in synchronized 3-meter springboard with Sam Dorman, Hixon was still in college at Indiana when Dorman retired. So Hixon teamed up in 2018 with freshman Copabianco, as their coach, Drew Johansen, had the younger diver match his timing to the veteran’s. Hixon, who will turn 27 on July 16, qualified for his second straight Olympic team with Capobianco as they finished with 1,289.37 points.
However, Hixon, who was 10th in Rio in the individual 3-meter event, placed fourth at the Trials for Tokyo and did not qualify.
Hixon’s mother, Mandy, dove at Ohio State and is a diving coach, guiding her son’s career until he went to college. His father, David, is the basketball coach at Amherst College in Hixon’s hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts. Hixon, who majored in economic consulting, is now in an MBA program at the University of Michigan. He was NCAA champion on 1-meter and 3-meter while competing for the University of Texas.
Brandon Loschiavo competes in the men's 10-meter platform at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 12, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Following in the tradition of fellow Purdue Boilermakers David Boudia and Steele Johnson, Loschiavo won the 2021 NCAA title in 10-meter platform and then qualified for the Olympic team in the event. Despite missing his final dive, the 24-year-old was the Trials champion off the tower. He scored 1,421 points.
Loschiavo missed the 2016 Trials while recovering from a broken wrist. He had the option of using bone from his hip to heal his wrist, but declined, choosing to a screw put into the scaphoid bone instead.
Loschiavo, a native of Huntington Beach, California, was eighth at the 2019 World Championships in individual platform and sixth in synchronized 10-meter in 2017. He is a five-time national champion and would like to become a diving coach. He is majoring in mass communications at Purdue and plays the ukelele.
Krysta Palmer competes in the women's 3-meter springboard at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 8, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
By the time Palmer celebrated her 29th birthday on June 13, she had won two events at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials -- Diving. Palmer was a gymnast and a national champion on trampoline before learning to dive when she enrolled in college at the University of Nevada.
Palmer’s skills transferred well to the pool. She has competed in two world championships and was the only American female diver at the Trials who attempted a 5154B on her individual list. The forward 2 ½ somersaults with two twists – it’s more common for women to do only one twist -- earned her 81.60 points in the finals to give her a commanding total of 1,011.95 points. It also puts her on a par with top international divers.
The Carson City, Nevada, native finished ninth in the 2016 Olympic Trials on individual 10-meter platform and fourth in synchronized platform. Because her training facility does not have a tower, she decided to switch to springboard. She graduated with a degree in kinesiology and is a volunteer assistant coach.
Jessica Parratto competes in the women's 10-meter platform at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 9, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Parratto, who will turn 27 on June 26, made her second straight Olympic team, but with different partners. In 2016, she teamed up with Amy Cozad (now Magana) and they placed seventh. They planned to dive together again at the Trials, but Parratto made the “hard decision” to dive with Schnell instead. In the final, they held off Katrina Young and Murphy Bromberg, 930.00 points to 888.54.
Parratto also competed in the individual event in Rio, placing 10th, and was a a member of three world championships teams: 2011, 2015 and 2017. The 2016 Trials winner in individual platform, she placed fourth in the event at the 2020 Trials.
Her father, Mike, had to rush from Indianapolis to Omaha, Nebraska, where he is the swimming coach for Regan Smith. He also coached 12-time Olympic medalist Jenny Thompson. Parratto graduated from Indiana University with a degree in sports media.
Delaney Schnell competes in the women's 10-meter platform at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 9, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Winning the bronze medal in individual 10-meter platform at the 2019 World Championships was the “turning point,” Schnell said, in boosting her confidence. The Tucson, Arizona, native and University of Arizona diver was the first Team USA female diver to make the podium at worlds in an individual event since Laura Wilkinson won the gold on platform in 2005.
Jordan Windle competes in the men's 3-meter springboard at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 9, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Born in Cambodia, Windle was adopted when he was 18 months old by his father, Jerry. They wrote a children’s book together in 2013 called “An Orphan No More: The True Story of a Boy: Chapter One.” When he was a youngster participating in a diving camp in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Windle was nicknamed “Little Louganis” by the son of Louganis’ coach Ron O’Brien. Coached by Olympian Matt Scoggin at the University of Texas, Windle was first on 1-meter at the 2021 NCAA Championships, second on 3-meter and fourth on platform. He was the 10-meter champion in 2019.
At age 22, Windle was an Olympic Trials veteran. He competed for the first time in 2012 on sychronized platform with Zach Cooper when he was 13 and they placed sixth. At the 2016 Trials, he was fourth on platform.
Second after the semifinals at these Trials, Windle opened the final with a prodigious score of 96.00 on an inward 3 ½ somersault tuck. He finished with 1,401.40 points. Windle was going to try to double on springboard, but withdrew after two dives in the preliminaries.
Katrina Young competes in the women's 10-meter platform at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Diving on June 9, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Young, 29, made her second straight Olympic team in this event, again finishing in second place at the Trials. Young led the after the preliminaries and finals, but had a rare miss on her second dive, a back 3 ½ somersault tuck, to drop into third place. She came back to place second, defeating her synchro partner Murphy Bromberg by 2.95 points. Young and Bromberg were second in the synchro event, with only one team qualifying for Tokyo.
In Rio, Young placed 13th, missing the final by one spot. She won a bronze at the 2019 World Championships in synchronized 10-meter and is a three-time national champion.
Young graduated from Florida State with a degree in music and is a singer and guitar player who performs in the Tallahassee area. Although the Shoreline, Washington, native writes her own songs, she mostly does covers, such as Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson songs. Her grandmother Elaine Silburn, competed for Canada in track and field at the 1948 Olympic Games. Young said one of her more memorable moments was competing at the 2005 Junior Pan American Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when Hurricane Katrina hit.
Karen Rosen has covered every Summer and Winter Olympic Games since 1992 for newspapers, magazines and websites. Based in Atlanta, she has contributed to TeamUSA.org since 2009.