KAZAN, Russia -- Fresh off a victory in the most recent stop on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series tour, Purdue alumnus Steven LoBue won bronze Sunday at the inaugural FINA High Diving World Cup, which was contested Aug. 8-10.
Diving from 27-meters, LoBue (2004-07) finished with a five-dive total of 571.70 to pick up the bronze medal in Sunday's men's contest behind gold medalist Orlando Duque of Colombia at 601.20 and silver medalist Gary Hunt of Great Britain at 580.05.
Fellow Purdue alumnus and Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series veteran David Colturi (2008-10) finished sixth at the FINA competition with a score of 525.40.
LoBue went into Sunday's final two rounds in first place, 3.3 points ahead of Duque, after the first three rounds of dives Friday. The Colombian world champion took the lead after the fourth round with 96.90 points on a reverse flying somersault tuck, while LoBue scored 89.30 points on a front triple somersault with a half twist. LoBue finished his day with 117.60 points on a back triple somersault with three twists, but it wasn't enough to hold off Hunt, who overtook the American for second place with 130.50 points on a front triple somersault with 3 ½ twists.
LoBue was victorious July 26 in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series tour stop at the Archipelago of the Azores, located off the coast of Portugal. Colturi finished third in the same competition, which featured 14 athletes diving from heights of more than 27 meters.
"The past two years here have been rough for me," said LoBue, who finished ninth in the Azores in both 2012 and 2013. "When this stop was on the schedule at the beginning the year I was eyeing that one and thinking that I'd better be ready for what was coming up. But now I've been here a couple of times, I'm starting to get more comfortable with the specific challenges that this place poses and I took some time to train in Austria last week and get my focus back after a disappointing result at the last World Series stop in Norway. Once I did my quint half from the platform, I had a feeling that maybe I would be able to put it all together and come away with the win."
LoBue moved into second place and Colturi up to eighth in the world series standings with their strong showings in Portugal. The next stop on the tour is Sept. 20 in Bilbao, Spain (where divers will compete from a bridge) before the 2014 series wraps up Oct. 18 in Yucatan, Mexico. Hunt is in first place with 750 points, followed by LoBue (610 points) and Duque (520).
Meanwhile, the AT&T USA Diving National Championships begin Tuesday and run through Sunday at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Rising senior Nate Cox will be representing Purdue in the 10-meter platform. Platform prelims begin on Aug. 15 and the finals are set for Aug. 17.
The American women won gold, silver and bronze to sweep the podium at the inaugural FINA High Diving World Cup.
Competing from 20-meters, Rachelle Simpson won gold, Ginger Huber took the silver, and Cesilie Carlton picked up the bronze in Saturday's women's contest.
Simpson scored 216.00 points in the three-dive contest. In fifth place after round one, she scored 86.70 points on her front three somersaults with a half twist that vaulted her into first place. It ended up being the highest scoring dive by any diver in the contest. She followed up with 76 points on her final dive, a front three somersaults with 1 ½ twists to earn the gold. A former performer in acrobatic shows, Simpson also has two golds on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series circuit this year.
Huber finished with 191.60 points for silver, after having also finished second at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona last year. A former University of Georgia dive, Huber was in first place after round one before Simpson overtook her in round two.
Carlton, the gold medalist at the FINA World Championships last year, scored 181.70 points for the World Cup bronze.
-- Portions of Story by Jen Lowery, USA Diving