Louganis Bombs on Dive but Gains the Finals
World champion Greg Louganis survived missing a dive to reach the men’s three-meter springboard finals, and Megan Neyer, winner of eight NCAA titles, won the women’s one-meter event Friday in the U.S. Diving Indoor Championships.
Mark Bradshaw finished first in the men’s qualifying, and Louganis, helped by a change in the rules, will get another shot at the title, since preliminary scores are not carried into the finals.
Bradshaw, the 1983 NCAA three-meter champion from Ohio State and runner-up to Louganis in the indoor and outdoor championships last year, compiled 616.11 points for his 11 dives.
Louganis, an Olympic and world champion in the event and undefeated in it since 1981, placed 11th with 559.86. The top 12 finishers in the field of 33 moved into Saturday night’s final.
In previous years, only eight advanced to the finals of the national championships.
“The change was a welcome break for me,” said Louganis, who was an Olympic silver medalist in 1976 at the age of 16. “It’s given me the chance to defend my title in the finals. And I’ll be diving early. That’s something I like because it means I can put the pressure on the divers who follow me.”
Louganis received a score of zero for his failed dive, which was the seventh of the 11 in his program.
“My knees just gave out,” said Louganis of his failed forward 3 1/2 somersault in the pike position. “My weight was back in my hurdle on the takeoff. I tried to get my weight forward, and then my knees went out.”
Louganis, 26 and seeking to add to his record collection of 36 national championships in the meet, slipped from the board and hit the water awkwardly.
“I would have to be lying if I said I wasn’t embarrassed,” Louganis said.
Neyer, who swept one- and three-meter honors in the NCAA meet all four years of her college career at Florida, finished with 442.82 points for her 10 dives in winning her 10th national springboard event.
Wendy Williams, a freshman at Miami, was a close second with 438.24 points.