Diving: Ex-Deerfield star Loukas earns second Olympic berth
Riverwoods' Christina Loukashas qualified to the Olympics for a second time. | Michael Thomas Photography
Updated: July 29, 2012 4:56PM
After qualifying as a diver for her second Olympics, on Sunday, former Deerfield star Christina Loukas participated in a Q & A session with wide-eyed kids in Washington state.
Following the U.S. Olympic Trials, held in Federal Way, Wash., one fan asked, “Do you get scared when you dive?”
Loukas’ quick answer was, “Sure. But that’s what makes diving exciting. You’re out of your comfort zone for a while, but you do what you can to get centered.”
Loukas, a Riverwoods native and 2004 Deerfield graduate, was shattered at the trials on June 21. But only for a day. She and her women’s synchronized 3-meter partner, Kassidy Cook of The Woodlands, Texas, missed qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in London by nearly a half-point.
The tandem of Kelci Bryant, of Chatham, and Abby Johnston, of Upper Arlington, Ohio, scored 956.4 points to edge runners-up Loukas/Cook by 0.42 to capture the trials’ lone berth in the event.
“That was rough,” admitted Loukas, ninth in the women’s 3-meter springboard at the 2008 Olympic Games in China. “We were really upset. Our coach told us to cry all we wanted that night, but he also told us to be ready to move on the next day.”
Loukas had another shot to represent the U.S. in London, and she came through on Sunday with a second-place showing in the women’s 3-meter springboard. Her Olympic-qualifying score of 1,017.85 trailed only the 1,094.85 put up by Cassidy Krug of Coraopolis, Pa.
“I knew I had to be consistent, and for the most part I was,” said Loukas, a three-time IHSA state champion (2001-03) and one-time NCAA champion at Indiana University. “I felt pretty good. It wasn’t my best overall meet, but I’m looking at that as a good thing. You don’t want to peak at the trials, and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to build on it in London.”
Loukas scored 72 points or higher on three dives, with her best mark (76.5) coming on her back 2 ½ in the first round.
She flew to Houston, where she trains, on Monday. The U.S. diving contingent will fly to London on July 15.
“I was really happy with how I did in China,” said Loukas, 26. “But after some changes in my training, I’m really excited about competing in the Olympics again. I’ll be more confident, mostly because I’ll know exactly what to expect, and I’m planning to be aggressive. Go big or go home, right?”
Loukas’ score at State as a Deerfield senior was huge. The Warrior overwhelmed the field with a state-meet record 507.55 points, a mark that still stands. Chatham Glenwood’s Kelci Bryant — the same Bryant who represented half of last week’s women’s synchro champions — was a distant second with 457 points at the meet in ’03.
Doug Foerch was Loukas’ coach then.
“That last dive of hers that day was magical,” Foerch recalled. “And it was her most difficult dive. Christina ripped it, got a lot of 7s. She’s got a lot of God-given talent, and she’s never wasted it. But you’re not going to get to where Christina is in the sport of diving on talent alone. She’s always had the motivation and an incredible work ethic. She’s got it all, the entire package.
“Christina is also fun-loving with such a big heart — as nice of a person as you’re ever going to meet.”