Xie claims gold as Cao collapses
BUDAPEST — China claimed another diving gold at the World Aquatics Championships on Thursday.
It didn’t go to the Olympic champion.
Xie Siyi cruised to victory in men’s 3-meter springboard, giving the powerhouse Chinese team its sixth world title in Budapest.
The 21-year-old Xie wasn’t seriously challenged after teammate Cao Yuan, the gold medalist last summer at the Rio Games, botched two straight dives.
Assured of victory with his final plunge, Xie collapsed in the arms of his coach and wiped away tears with a towel. He finished with a score of 547.10 points.
“I did feel an extra burden on my shoulder during the individual event,” said Xie, “but I could not allow myself to think about the result too much. I had to keep calm. Otherwise, I could have messed it up.
“I only focused on my movement, not caring too much about the result,” he added.
“I wasn’t expecting to win a gold medal, a silver or a bronze, I was just working as hard as I could. Then if it wouldn’t have been enough, it would have been OK.”
Silver went to Germany’s Patrick Hausding (526.15), while Russia’s Ilia Zakharov (505.90) claimed bronze.
Cao slipped all the way to 10 th after posting the top score in the semifinals and leading through the first three rounds of the final. He under-rotated his fourth dive, hitting the water at a 45-degree angle and dropping back to sixth. His next dive was even worse, the crowd gasping as he made a loud splash with an over-rotated effort.
“I didn’t perform in a mature way,” said Cao. “I was up and down and my performance wasn’t consistent.
“I was overly confident about my fourth dive and I did it awkwardly. After that, I felt frustrated and lost my usual form.”
Russia’s Svetlana Kolesnichenko claimed her fourth gold medal of the championships by winning the duet free routine in synchronized swimming with Alexandra Patskevich.
Kolesnichenko led Russia to its fifth gold in six synchronized swimming finals this week.
“All our attempts weren’t in vain. We did everything we possibly could. We were training for 10 to 12 hours a day,” she said.
Having reversed their retirement decision after each got married and gave birth, China’s 30-year-old twin sisters Jiang Wenwen and Jiang Tingting finished second with a score of 95.3000 points. Anna Voloshyna and Yelyzaveta Yakhno of Ukraine ranked third at 93.2667.
Meanwhile, France won open-water gold in the 5-kilometer mixed-team race, holding off the United States.
Marc-Antoine Olivier anchored France’s victory on Lake Balaton, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Budapest, having already won the men’s 5k individual race as well as claiming bronze in the 10k.
The winning time was 54 minutes, 5.9 seconds. Olivier finished 12.2 seconds ahead of American Jordan Wilimovsky, the 10k silver medalist.
There was a new format for these worlds, with each team featuring two women and two men racing in whichever order they preferred.
“I like this new formula, since there are more tactics, and it is more exciting,” American swimmer Haley Anderson said.
“We were struggling a little bit at the relays, but it was pretty much new for everyone.”
Mario Sanzullo anchored Italy to bronze, 25.1 seconds behind France.
Xie Siyi of China poses with his gold medal after winning the men’s 3m springboard title at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Thursday.