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July 29, 2012
LONDON (GoDuke.com) - The United States captured its first medal ever in a synchronized diving event Sunday as Duke's Abby Johnston paired with Kelci Bryant to earn silver in the women's 3-meter synchronized competition. Johnston, a first-time Olympian, also claimed Duke's first medal of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Johnston and Bryant, who locked up the United States' Olympic berth in dramatic fashion at last month's U.S. team trials, started off their list of five dives Sunday with three 9.0s on a forward dive for a 2.0 degree of difficulty to put them in second place. The American duo then earned three more 9.0s on a reverse dive to bring their total score to 105.00.
In the third round, Johnston and Bryant scored 74.70 points on a forward 2 ½ somersault with 1 twist to give them 179.70 total points. They followed up that dive with 70.20 points on an inward 2 ½ somersault to remain in second with one dive to go.
With a medal on the line, Johnston and Bryant scored 72.00 points on their final dive, a back 2 ½ somersault for a 3.0 degree of difficulty. The U.S. divers finished the competition with a final score of 321.90 points to secure the silver medal.
Zi He and Minxia Wu of China won the gold with a total of 346.20 points, while Canada's Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans took bronze with a score of 316.80. NBC will re-air the women's 3-meter synchronized competition Sunday evening in prime time.
Johnston and Bryant garnered the first Olympic synchronized diving medal for the United States in the history of the sport, and ended a 12-year medal drought for the Americans in all diving events.
Already an ACC and NCAA champion in diving, Johnston joins former Blue Devil Nancy Hogshead (1984 - Los Angeles) in capturing an Olympic medal as a member of the Duke Swimming & Diving program. Johnston competed in London under the guidance of Duke diving coach Drew Johansen, who is serving as the head coach of the U.S. Diving Team for the 2012 Olympic Games.