KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Aaron Fleshner and Sarah Bacon won the 1-meter titles Wednesday in the U.S. national diving championships.
Fleshner won the men’s title with 452.4 points, and Bacon took the women’s with 287.15. Both led throughout the final rounds.
Fleshner also won the 1-meter titles in the 2012 national championships and at last year’s winter national championships. Although he’s older than most of his competitors and has a job as a mobile developer designing apps for the University of Alabama, the 26-year-old Fleshner shows no signs of slowing down.
”I’ve always loved it and I have a dream of going to the Olympics,” Fleshner said. ”I’m getting closer and closer every day. That keeps me going.”
Bacon also has been on a roll lately. The 17-year-old from Indianapolis won the 1- and 3-meter events last week in the junior national championships.
Bacon was clinging to a 2 1/2-point lead when she wrapped up the title by scoring 58.5 points on her fifth and final dive, a forward 2 1/2-somersault pike.
”I just wanted to hit every dive as best as I could and just see where that got me,” Bacon said. ”I was very happy.”
In the men’s division, Michael Hixon was second with 427.05 points and Bryce Klein third at 415.95. Hixon, the 2014 NCAA champion in the 1- and 3-meter events, announced last month he’s transferring from Texas to Indiana.
”There were a lot of factors,” Hixon said. ”It really just came down to I wasn’t completely happy at Texas and I think I’ll be really happy at IU.”
In the women’s division, 2008 Olympian Ariel Rittenhouse was second with 277.85. Kassidy Cook finished third with 275.75.
Cook was participating in her first USA Diving competition since the 2012 Olympic Trials. Cook has spent most of the last two years dealing with injuries to her labrum, knee and collarbone. Injuries caused her to miss most of her freshman season at Stanford.
”I just came in to get my feet wet,” Cook said. ”I didn’t expect to do as well as I did, so I’m really thrilled with the outcome.”
The national championships run through Sunday at the University of Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center.