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Wood Overcame Poor Dive to Win Platform Title

A shaky handstand atop the 10-meter platform imperiled Ricky Wood’s chances. After splashing into the pool below, he emerged to scores of only 3 1/2.

It was the 8s and 8 1/2s on the reverse two-and-a-half somersault that saved Wood and enabled him to win the National Junior Olympic Diving platform title in the 16-18 age division last weekend in Clayton, Mo.

His margin of victory? Two points.

“I was excited,” said Wood, 18, a Simi Valley resident who competes for Rose Bowl Aquatics. “It’s not that I expected to win . . . well, I did, but I didn’t. I knew it would be hard.”

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Wood’s triumph was his ninth in the national age-group meet. As a 13-year-old he became the first diver to win titles on all three boards. The following year, in the 14-15 age group, he repeated the feat. At 15, he won two more titles.

A 10th title, on the three-meter springboard, eluded Wood by 16 points. He finished second after his front three-and-a-half somersault went awry.

“I landed on my stomach.” Wood said.

On Saturday, he will travel to Orebro, Sweden, for the Age Group World Championships, which are held every four years.

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Wood, along with Nancy Janik of Simi Valley and Janae Lautenschlager of Northridge, then will compete in the U.S. Diving national championships, Aug. 14-18 in Bartlesville, Okla.


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