FEDERAL WAY, WASH. - Kelci Bryant, the Gophers' two-time NCAA champion diver, made her second Olympic team Thursday night, pairing with Abby Johnston to barely win the 3-meter springboard synchro final Thursday night at the Olympic trials.
Johnston and Bryant totaled 956.40 points in the final, with scores carrying over from rounds earlier in the week. Kassidy Cook and 2008 Olympian Christina Loukas were second at 955.98 despite outscoring the winners in every round Thursday. Only the winning team goes to the games.
"This is going to help us going into London, being in that high- pressure situation," Bryant said.
Johnston and Bryant survived the tight final in which they never led by more than six points. Only two points separated them from Cook and Loukas over the final three dives.
"I'm in shock," said Johnston, a Duke student whose previous biggest meet was last year's world championships in Shanghai. "I couldn't stop looking at the scoreboard to make sure that it's real."
Amanda Burke and Summer Allman finished third at 806.10.
Cook and Loukas included a tougher dive in their list than Johnston and Bryant. They totaled 67.89 points for a forward 3½ somersault pike, which carries a 3.1 degree of difficulty. Johnston and Bryant's highest DD was 3.0.
Cook and Loukas dived just in front of Johnston and Bryant. They scored 78.30 on their final dive, earning mostly 8.0s for execution and 9.0s for synchronization on a forward 2½ somersault with 1 twist pike. That gave Cook and Loukas the lead by 76.98 points.
Johnston didn't listen to the scores for Cook and Loukas before she and Bryant climbed the ladders to the boards.
"I totally looked at the scoreboard," Bryant admitted. "Then I heard their scores and I was like, 'Well, here it goes.' Then I just told myself not to think."
Johnston and Bryant walked onto the boards needing to pull off their backward 2½ somersault to win.
"I knew we had to do a good dive or we wouldn't be going to London, and that just added to the magic of it all," Johnston said.
They did it.
Johnston and Bryant scored 77.40, receiving 8.0s for execution and 9.0s for synchronization, and clinching trips to London by 0.42 points.
Cook was left in tears on the deck.
"We're devastated," Loukas said in a statement to USA Diving. "Kass and I fought to the end and I'm happy we could put the pressure on them. They handled it well and they deserve to go."
Deidre Freeman and Veronica Rydze were fourth and Carrie Dragland and Bianca Alvarez were fifth in the eight-team final.