After IU sent six divers to the Olympic Trials this past week, half of them walked away with at least one qualifying spot.
Michael Hixon, an IU junior, secured his individual spot in the 3-meter springboard June 25 Redshirt-sophomore Jessica Parratto followed that with a first-place finish in the 10-meter individual event.
It wasn’t their first wins of the week, though.
On June 22, Hixon and his partner Sam Dorman took the lone Olympic spot in the 3-meter synchro.
Parratto and former Hoosier Amy Cozad, both competing in their home pool, combined to earn a place on Team USA later that night.
It wasn’t easy to refocus after that emotional night, Hixon said.
“That whole emotional thing that went down on Wednesday, that takes it out of you,” he said. “I definitely tried to put it out of my mind.”
Hixon and Kristian Ipsen, who took the second qualifying spot on the 3-meter Saturday, led the group of 12 divers going into the finals. After botching the fourth dive of his set, Hixon came back with two solid dives to secure second place, including a 95.2 on his final attempt.
“I thought the way I came back was really important,” Hixon said.
He beat out four-time Olympian Troy Dumais in the last trials of his career.
Dumais has meant a lot to Hixon’s diving career, as well as so many other young divers, both as a mentor and synchro partner. The first time Hixon made a national team, Dumais was his partner. The first time he went to World Series, Dumais was by his side.
Hixon spoke to Dumais following his final professional dive.
“I just told him I loved him and I said thank you,” Hixon said. “What he’s done with USA diving has been unbelievable as an ambassador for the sport. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t quite cut it when you’re talking to him.”
With Rio just six weeks away, Hixon said his preparation will be similar to any other meet because he’s used to competing in two events.
So is his teammate Parratto, who kept a consistent lead through the semifinal and final rounds of 10-meter individual competition.
Parratto called her performance Saturday night “flat,” but it was enough.
“Consistency is the name of the game, and that’s a huge thing for me,” she said. “At the end of the day, I’m going to the Olympic Games in two events, so I can’t be disappointed about that.”
Her synchro partner Cozad went back and forth with Samantha Bromberg and Katrina Young, fighting for the second qualifying spot.
Ultimately, Young came out on top, with Cozad falling into fourth.
Though she hoped to qualify for both for her events, Cozad said it relieves some pressure knowing she can now focus on synchro going into the Olympics later this summer.
“Especially seeing what Team USA did in the last Olympics, strong in synchro, I hope to carry on that tradition at this Olympics,” she said. “And then be there to support the team for the rest.”