Xie Siyi gives China another diving gold in Budapest

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — China claimed another diving gold at the world championships.

It didn’t go to the Olympic champion.

Xie Siyi cruised to victory in men’s 3-meter springboard Thursday, 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 in Rio, 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 only focused on my movement, not caring too much about the result,” Xie said through a translator. “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.”

The silver went to Germany’s Patrick Hausding (526.15), while Russia’s Ilia Zakharov (505.90) took the bronze.

Cao slipped all the way to 10th 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 like the athletes who got medals,” he said. “My performance was up and down. I wasn’t really consistent.”

Also Thursday, France took an open water gold in the 5-kilometer mixed team race, holding off the American squad, and Russia’s Svetlana Kolesnichenko claimed her fourth gold medal of the championships by winning the duet free routine in synchronized swimming with Alexandra Patskevich.

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 silver medalist in the 10k.

There was a new format for these worlds, with each team featuring two women and two men racing in whichever order they prefer.

“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 all.”

Mario Sanzullo anchored Italy to bronze, 25.1 seconds behind France.

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,” Kolesnichenko said.

Chinese twins Jiang Tingting and Jiang Wenwen earned silver, while Anna Voloshyna and Yelyzaveta Yakhno of Ukraine got bronze.

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