Hayden becomes first black woman to win national diving title


Kristen Hayden became the first black woman to win a senior national title in the United States when she teamed up with Quinn Henninger for a mixed 3-meter synchronized victory on Monday at the United States National Winter Diving Championships.

Hayden, a recent transfer to Indiana University, and freshman Henninger took the lead on their third dive of the competition. Their next two dives scored mostly 7.0 and 7.5 for a total score of 286.86 points, three points ahead of Carson Tyler and Anne Fowler.

It was the first synchro competition together for Henninger and Hayden.

Hayden joined Mike Wright as the only black divers to win U.S. national titles. Wright won on the 1-meter springboard in 2012.

“I don’t think words can even describe the feeling,” Hayden said. “You read about people like that, you watch Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, but when it’s yourself it’s crazy. I think the whole diving community is headed in the right direction and I just want to be a good example for young black Americans or any minority really for diving in the United States. “

Hayden is the first black American diver to win a world championship bid in May in Japan. She was a member of the team at the 2016 world junior championships.

She is a founding member of the USA Diving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. The 23-year-old diver from Hillsborough, New Jersey, started the sport at the age of 10.

Hayden will also compete in the 3-meter synchronized with his partner Margo O’Meara, as well as the individual 1-meter and 3-meter events.

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Naomi C. Amerson