U.S. Olympian and IU senior Christina Loukas won a national championship in the 1-meter springboard competition Thursday at the Speedo USA Diving Spring Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
But after a near-miss during her second-to-last dive, her victory was in jeopardy.
Loukas’ lead was tenuous as she and second-place finisher Bianca Alvarez were separated by about one point heading into the fifth and last dive of the final round.
“I knew it was really close, and we had the same degree of difficulty going into the last dive,” Loukas said. “I knew I had to hit it.”
Once she hit the water, there was little doubt.
“She just drilled it,” said IU diving coach Jeff Huber, who accompanied seven IU divers to the national competition.
Loukas won the national championship by nearly nine points.
“One-meter is hard,” Loukas said. “Everyone does the same exact dives, and
everyone’s very capable of doing the dives very well.”
But on Thursday, Loukas was that much better.
“We had a good day,” Huber said.
IU divers Brittany Feldman, a junior, and Gabby Agostino, a freshman, also qualified for the eight-woman final round. Feldman placed fourth and was one of two collegiate divers to qualify for the World University Games, to be held this summer. Agostino placed seventh.
The win was Loukas’ third 1-meter national championship, having previously won back-to-back titles at the summer national competitions.
Loukas won an NCAA Championship from the 3-meter springboard, her self-described preferred event. Loukas finished ninth in the Olympics on the 3-meter board, and she will get a shot at her first national championship in the event on Friday.
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