Nick McCrory boasted a gift on his left hand after earning his first Olympics berth Thursday night at the U.S. National Diving Trials at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.
Given to him by synchronized 10-meter platform partner David Boudia, the ring featuring five Olympics circles is passed down by U.S. divers every four years as a rite of passage to new qualifiers.
Don't plan on the No. 1-ranked diver in the U.S. gift-wrapping anything else for McCrory when the two face off in the individual 10-meter platform Saturday.
"I don't want to lose to this guy even though we are teammates right now," Boudia said after he and the Duke standout cruised to a win by racking up 1,387.86 points over the three-session competition. "It'll be interesting on Saturday. It's going to be a good competition between Nick and Thomas (Finchum) and I."
Still fresh to international competition, McCrory offered a more humble retort when asked to describe competing against a friend in the most important event of his career.
“It’s exciting. It keeps us our toes,” he said. “There is a really great dynamic between the two of us. It’s supportive but also competitive at the same time. We both want to dive our best, but it’s always fun competing against each other."
The duo entered the night with a comfortable 100-point lead in the synchro 10-meter platform after burying opponents in the preliminaries and semifinals by executing an array of challenging dives.
Boudia said he wasn’t surprised by the landslide victory.
“When you have your two best divers in the country, it kind of makes sense to put them together,” he said.
McCrory and Boudia eliminated any thought of an unprecedented collapse with a pair of nearly flawless synchronized inward dives in the first round.
In the third frame, they capped a week of dominance by nailing a pair of forward 4 ½ somersaults to earn a 92.13, their best score of the night.
By the fifth round, they had their trip to the Summer Olympics in London clinched.
McCrory couldn’t help but savor his emotions before he and Boudia return to the pool next week to begin perfecting the six dives they hope will end a 12-year Olympics medal drought for U.S. Diving.
“It feels incredible,” he said. “I finally reached my life-long goal. I think we have a lot more to come this summer and I’m excited to keep training hard.”
Carrie Dragland, a Woodinville native and Bothell High School grad, capped the first Trials of her career by finishing fifth with partner Bianca Alvarez in the women’s synchro 3-meter springboard. Dragland, 23, went to Alabama before transferring to the University of Miami, where she was an All-America selection.