NEW ZEALAND DIVING
Diver Proud of his Eighth Placing
Wellington diver Anton Down-Jenkins far exceeded his own expectations by finishing an impressive eighth in the final of the men’s 3m springboard competition today.
The 21-year-old, who was pleased just to get past qualifying yesterday, went into the semi-final needing a top 12 placing to advance.
He peeled off scores of 66.00, 63.00, 72.00, 71.30, 72.00, 79.90 for a total of 424.20, which he believed was his personal best and placed him eighth among the semi-finalists.
In the final he repeated the eight place effort in a quality decider.
Down-Jenkins’ best dive in the final was his fourth, a forward 3½ somersault that earned him a score of 74.4. He finished on 415.60 points over the six-round final with scores of 67.50, 67.50, 70.50, 74.40, 66.00 and 69.70.
The three medalists, Chinese pair Xie Siyi and Wang Zongyuan, and Briton Jack Laugher, all topped 500 points and Xie, who was the leading diver throughout, scored 558.75.
Down-Jenkins said after the final he was nearly lost for words.
“I can’t really believe what has happened,” he said. “It was so hard qualifying for the Olympics. That was a very difficult job. My next thought was not to embarrass myself at the Olympics. Then it was a real challenge to go on and qualify for the semi-finals.
“To get to the final…I’m lost for words.”
Down-Jenkins is the first male diver to represent New Zealand at the Olympics since Mark Graham in 1984. “To make the final, I’m stoked.”
He said he would always be happy with a score of over 400 in an international event. “To get scores like I got today at the Olympics – it’s like a dream.”
Down-Jenkins said his legs began to tire over his final few dives. “It was a really quick turnaround between the semis and the final. I was thinking I might have a sleep, but by the time I got back to the village and had a bite to eat it was time to get back on the bus and get ready for the final.”
The New Zealander’s eighth placing qualifies him for the world series professional circuit, the best opportunities for divers to earn money from their sport.