Originally created 08/16/98

Gamecocks diver wins women's 3-meter title



ATLANTA -- Michelle Davison, a rising sophomore at the University of South Carolina, won the women's 3-meter springboard gold Saturday in the U.S. Diving Summer Nationals at Georgia Tech.

David Pichler of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., won the men's title.

Davison moved into first place on her next-to-last dive. But she said her final attempt, a forward 2$ somersault with one twist was her best.

"That last dive had a high degree of difficulty, and I had to hit that to get in," said Davison, who claimed her first senior national title. "I've worked really hard for this. Finally, it all paid off."

Jenny Keim, a member of the 1996 Olympic diving team, won the silver. Erica Sorgi, the spring national champion, took the bronze.

The field for the men's individual event got a break when points leader Troy Dumais, the spring indoor champion and the silver medalist in the Goodwill Games, had to withdraw because of swelling in his left foot.

Pichler, 29, said Dumais' absence did not affect his thinking.

"Like I just told him, I wish he would have been in the field," said Pichler, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "I don't know if I would've beaten him or not."

Mark Ruiz, who won 1-meter gold on Thursday, finished the 3-meter in second place after scoring an 84.0 on his final dive. But Ruiz will not represent the U.S. in the 3-meter in the World Cup.

That honor goes to bronze medalist Travis Niemeyer, who had more points entering the final and finished ahead in the World Cup points standings. Niemeyer scored an event-high 85.05 on a reverse 3 1/2 somersault with a difficulty rating of 3.5. The hardest dives have a 3.6 rating.

In individual competition, spots in the World Diving Cup in January at Wellington, New Zealand, were awarded to both the gold and silver medalists.

Tracy Bonner and Kathy Pesek won the women's 3-meter synchronized diving title. Chris Mantilla and Bryan Gillooly won the men's 3-meter synchronized title.

Both the men's and women's synchronized champions won trips to the World Cup.