Gophers diver makes U.S. Olympic team

by Megan Ryan

Gophers diver Kelci Bryant qualified for the U.S. Olympic diving team Thursday in Federal Way, Wash. Bryant and her 3-meter springboard synchro partner Abby Johnston will compete at the summer games in London from July 27 to Aug. 12.

The pair won the event with a combined preliminary, semifinal and final score of 956.4 points. The two barely surpassed second-place team Kassidy Cook and Olympic veteran Christina Loukas' 955.98 points.

Only the first-place team qualified for the Olympics. Cook and Loukas outscored Bryant and Johnston throughout the final, but the prior two rounds were enough to send the Minnesota and Duke students through.

This summer marks Bryant's second trip to the Olympics and the first for Johnston. Bryant competed in Beijing with former partner Ariel Rittenhouse. They placed fourth and missed out on an Olympic medal by just more than four points.

Bryant's longtime coach is Minnesota's head diving coach Wenbo Chen. The Illinois native transferred for the 2009-10 season from Miami to the Gophers to follow her coach. In her time at Minnesota, Bryant became national champion on both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard.

The Olympian did not compete with the Gophers this past season in order to prepare for the Olympics. She has one year of eligibility left and may compete for the Gophers in 2012-13.