University of Miami diving alum Sam Dorman will trade in orange and green for red, white and blue as he represents Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Dorman, along with synchronized 3-meter partner Michael Hixon, clinched the U.S. bid in the event Wednesday night with a first-place finish at U.S. Olympic Trials at the IU Natatorium on the IUPUI campus.
Competing together for the first time, Dorman and Hixon posted a first-place score of 1308.36 points. In a heated battle throughout the finals with reigning Olympic bronze medalists Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen, it was Dorman and Hixon – partners for just over one month’s time – who emerged victorious.
“Sam is absolutely at the top of his game,” Miami head diving coach Randy Ableman said ahead of Wednesday’s synchro 3-meter finals. “He’s in perfect shape. He’s doing the hardest dives in the world, and doing them spectacularly. It’s very gratifying to be a part of that development, and to see a kid achieve so many of his goals and dreams.”
Dorman is the 12th Hurricane to qualify for the Olympics under the tutelage of Ableman, who just finished his 23rd year at the helm in Coral Gables.
Dorman and Hixon were already among the nation’s best 3-meter divers, but with such limited time together as a synchro team, Dorman said the key was learning how his new partner handled a competition environment.
“I think when we started off, we realized there needed to be a lot of communication and a sense of how we compete and not just how to be synched up. We had to talk to each other and say, ‘Hey, how do you do in meets? How do you work? Do you need to be hyped up? What makes you get all nervous and worked up? How can we both work with each other so we can keep each other’s heads level?’ I think that was the most important part of us doing synchro,” Dorman said.
2016 will mark the second straight Olympics where a Miami Hurricane diver will represent Team USA; Brittany Viola competed in the platform event at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Dorman and Hixon entered the final round with a lead of 56.52 points over Dumais and Ipsen, a margin that gave them the cushion they needed to secure their trip to Brazil. They won with a score 47.97 points ahead of Dumais and Ipsen’s 1,260.39.
Dorman, 24, is a four-time national team member who has won four synchronized three-meter national titles, most recently with Ipsen at the 2015 winter nationals.
The NCAA three-meter national champion as a senior at Miami, Dorman received a degree in mechanical engineering in 2015. In the past two years he has partnered with some of USA Diving’s elite in synchro competition, including David Boudia, Dumais and Ipsen.