Though 21 countries were represented at this weekend’s FINA Diving Grand Prix at Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, China dominated the competition by winning all eight events.
After just two months diving together, Huo Liang and Jian Yang of China took first in synchronized men’s platform with a score of 460.77 to kick off Sunday’s finale.
Germany’s Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein finished second — a familiar spot for the duo that earned a silver medal in the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Huo actually won the gold medal with Lin Yue in Beijing, besting Hausding and Klein by 17.76 points.
“I think we’re also remembering every other Chinese that was in front of us,” Hausding said. “It’s hard to see that you’re working and working, and they’re still in front of you. Sometimes they can be beaten, but not [Sunday].”
Through a translator, Huo said the reason for his country’s success in the sport comes down to concentrating on the details.
Countryman He Chao, who captured the 3-meter springboard Sunday with what he called his best performance, agreed.
China’s diving team spends eight-to-nine hours a day fine-tuning details that make a difference at meets.
He also purposely plans his most-difficult dives on his last attempts.
Diving runs in his family. His older brother, He Chong, was the gold medalist in the event at Beijing and took bronze in London.
“I’m following my brother’s footsteps, but I’m going to surpass him,” He said through a translator. “In this diving environment competition you’ve got to do the hardest, toughest difficulty at the end so you get the best scores.”
Troy Dumais, London’s bronze medalist in the synchronized men’s 3-meter, placed second in the 3-meter springboard with 474.50 points.
Dumais, 33, won’t say whether he’ll try for the 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro. Rather than rely on long-term plans that might not pan out, he’s focused on each day as it comes.
“We’re a young team,” Dumais said of Team USA. “There’s a lot of experience and a lot of inexperience. The idea is to bridge the two and average it. Bring up the kids while the experienced people can push themselves to another level.”
Zhang Jun and Qu Lin won synchronized women’s 3-meter springboard, while Jie Lian beat out teammate Huang Xiaohui in the women’s platform to complete China’s sweep.
• On Saturday, Zhang Yanquan edged USA’s David Boudia for the 10-meter platform title. Zhang Jun won gold in the women’s 3-meter springboard.
He and Li Shixin teamed up for the men’s 3-meter title.
Jie and Huang Xiaohui were victorious in the women’s synchronized platform.
Jordan Windle, 14, who was adopted from Cambodia, returned to the venue where he learned to dive at the age of 7 for his first international meet.
Windle and Zachary Cooper, who have been diving together for two years, finished seventh in the synchronized men’s platform.
Windle moved from South Florida to Indianapolis a few years ago when he was invited to dive there.
“It was a lot of fun,” Windle said. “I was a little nervous at the beginning because of all these great divers. It was fun to compete against them.”