Laura Ryan in 12th place heading into televised finals of US Olympic diving trials
ura Ryan, the former state diving champion for Elk River currently competing in the USA Olympic trials, has reached the 10-meter platform finals but occupies 12th place after a disappointing semifinal round.
“Prelims went really well, and I was in fourth place,” said Ryan, by phone Friday from Seattle, “but the semifinals were a nightmare.”
The diving finals, held in Federal Way, WA, will be televised by NBC on Sunday beginning 3 p.m. The semifinals on Thursday evening were also televised.
Ryan hit all five of her dives in the prelims Wednesday morning and ranked fourth among 34 hopefuls.
“Then I missed all five in the semifinals,” she said, meaning faults that got low scores. “I never got it going. My body felt ready but I wasn’t as sharp (mentally.)”
Among 18 who advanced to semifinals, she slipped to 12th place. The finals includes the top 12.
Ryan was state champion as a sophomore with the Elks, the last year she competed for the Elks. She missed her junior year with a shoulder injury, and didn’t do high school swimming her senior year because she was competing on a national schedule by then.
Competing for Indiana University, she was Big Ten champion in one-meter diving and third in three-meter diving her freshman year.
She did not compete in Big Ten this past year because she was at the world meet in London competing in synchronized diving with Indiana teammate Amy Cozad. They’ve won three national titles in sychro together but did not make the top eight at worlds, which was required to compete at nationals.
Ryan, majoring in exercise science, has transferred to the University of Georgia, where she will have two more years of eligibility.
Not likely to earn an Olympic spot this year, Ryan was asked if she’ll try again in 2016 when she’s still just 23.
“After being so close after prelims and then having such a disappointing semifinals,” she said, “it definitely makes me want a do-over, with better results next time. But I’m not sure. We’ll have to see what happens over the next four years. That’s a long ways off.”
Ryan appears much stronger than her high school days.
“Once I decided on 10-meter as a specialty,” she said, “I had to spend a lot more time in the weight room. You have to get stronger to prevent injury.”
Ryan has a nice entourage at with her parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins on hand.
“It’s nice to have them cheering for me, even when I’m not doing well,” she said.