Stanford grad Cassidy Krug went from fourth place to a national title in the span of a few hours Wednesday, rallying to win the 3-meter diving title at the USA Winter Nationals in Knoxville, Tenn.
Krug, in her only event of the week-long championship, clinched a spot at the February World Cup with a 1.35 victory over Olympian Christina Loukas (1,046.3-1,045.00). Kelci Bryant, the leader following semifinal, finished third with 1,015.75 points.
"The finals felt great. I knew I had to make up some ground, and although I wasn't happy with everything I did, I was pretty happy overall," Krug said. "The competition was great. I was neck and neck with Christina, and that always makes it fun to be in a competition like that."
The top three divers held the lead at some point in the finals, with Krug holding it over the final two dives. The former NCAA champion and Cardinal All-American scored 76.50 points on a reverse 2 1/2 somersault, thanks to 8.5's from the judges and then closed out the meet with 72.00 points and 8.0's on a forward 2 1/2 somersault twist to secure her fifth 3-meter national title.
Loukas had her only lead of the finals following 81.00 points in the third round and 9.0's across the board on a back 2 1/2 somersault. Krug took a brief lead after the second round of dives after Bryant faltered on the board.
Krug opened up the finals with 76.50 points with an inward 2 1/2 somersault, gaining 8.5's from the judges and then followed that up with 74.40 points and 8.0's on a forward 3/12 somersault to take the first of two leads. Bryant faltered on her second dive, a forward 3 1/2 somersault pike, scoring just 5.5's from the judges as Loukas and Krug passed the 2008 Olympian.
Krug was still 16.80 points behind heading into the 12-woman final after gaining three points in the semifinals (682.45), trailing both Bryant (699.25) and Loukas (682.55). Loukas had taken the lead after Tuesday's quarterfinals, 19.80 points ahead of Krug, then in fourth place.
It was Krug's 10th overall title. Krug will be joined by Stanford freshman Kristian Ipsen, who won the 3-meter synchro title and was second in the 3-meter. The World Cup runs from February 20-26 in London, England.