Future Longhorn Hernandez, Palmer advance to women’s 3m springboard diving finals

Japan 2020
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 30: Hailey Hernandez of Team United States competes during the Women's 3m Springboard Preliminary round on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 30: Hailey Hernandez of Team United States competes during the Women’s 3m Springboard Preliminary round on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

 

TOKYO (NBC/KXAN) — Americans Krysta Palmer and future Longhorn Hailey Hernandez both finished in the top 12 of the women’s 3m springboard diving semifinals to advance to the medal round slated for Sunday.

Hernandez punched her ticket to the final by nailing a tucked 2 1/2 somersault in Round 3 and staying cool under pressure during her final two dives. Though her third dive was not the most difficult, her score tied for the fourth highest of the round. The 18-year-old did not expect to compete in Tokyo and instead had planned to dive at the Junior National Championships in Indianapolis. Now she’ll advance to an Olympic diving final three years ahead of schedule.

The Southlake native is the youngest female diver going to Tokyo for Team USA at the age of 18. Hernandez is a four-time Texas state champion. She placed second at the U.S. diving trials.

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Palmer improved on her 15th place finish in preliminaries by climbing up the leaderboard to fifth in the semis. Her final two dives, a forward piked 3 1/2 somersault in Round Four and a forward piked 2 1/2 somersault with two twists in Round 5, were her highest marks of the Tokyo Games.

Unsurprisingly, two Chinese divers sit at the top of the rankings heading into the final round. Reigning Olympic champion Shi Tingmao and Wang Han qualified to the individual competition in the 1-2 spots just days after winning gold as a pair in the women’s synchronized 3m springboard final.

Canada’s Pamela Ware finished fourth in preliminaries and looked to be a lock for finals until she failed to complete a dive in Round 5 and finished in 18th.

The country will still have a chance at a medal, though, as Jennifer Abel replicated her third-place finish from preliminaries.

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