Arizona rising senior and NCAA Champion diver Samantha Pickens concluded competition at the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Pickens represented Team USA in the 1-meter springboard and 3-meter synchronized diving events.
Pickens opened up the competition on Saturday with partner Amanda Burke for a seventh place finish in the 3m synchronized competition. Burke and Pickens, both competing in their first World Championships, scored 284.64 points in the final. It was their first international meet together as a synchro team, and their score was less than eight points behind bronze medalists Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware of Canada (292.08). China’s Wu Minxia and Shi Tingmao captured the gold at 338.40, with silver going to Italy’s Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape at 307.80.
Burke and Pickens improved their score from the preliminaries by nearly 20 points as the duo scored 265.92 in the morning session.
In the finals, Burke and Pickens scored more than 63 points on all three of their optional dives, including a back 2 ½ pike that earned 68.40 points. In the morning preliminaries, only one optional dive went for more than 60 points.
They were one of 21 teams in the event and the only American team.
Meanwhile, competing in her first individual event at the FINA World Championship, Pickens scored 232.65 points in the 1m competition to finish 14th in the preliminaries, just missing a spot in the finals by 4.5 points after making a strong comeback late in the contest. Pickens was in 34th place after three dives but rallied with 52.80 points on her reverse 1 ½ pike and 55.20 points on her inward 1 ½ pike in the final two rounds to jump to 14th. The top 12 advanced to the finals.
The Wildcats will have Kevin Cordes, Kevin Steel, Matt Grevers and Christine Magnuson competing in the swimming competition beginning on July 28. U of A head coach Eric Hansen will serve on Team USA’s men’s swimming coaching staff.