He Chong won his record-tying third consecutive world title in the men’s 3m springboard on Friday, giving China their seventh gold medal in eight diving events.
Trailing heading into the fifth and next-to-last round, He nailed an impressive dive to ultimately finish with 544.95 points. It was He’s second gold this week after dominating the synchronized 3m springboard with Qin Kai on Tuesday.
He’s victories in 2009, 2011 and this year match American Phillip Boggs’ record of three titles from 1973 to 1978.
“I don’t think records exist in diving,” He said. “I had never thought about it. But I am very happy now that I have it.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov of Russia took silver with 508.00 points, his second at these worlds, while Yahel Castillo of Mexico claimed bronze with 498.30.
The 26-year-old He’s latest title came a year after he was dethroned as Olympic champion in this event. He said that the adversity had made him work harder.
“It is normal there are some doubts, nobody can be on top all time,” He said. “I failed and made mistakes, but I grew from those mistakes and faced the future.”
The final was billed as a two-man battle between He and Qin, given their run of titles in recent years and the elimination of Olympic gold medalist Ilia Zakharov of Russia in the semi-finals.
However, Qin never recovered from a poor start. A blown third dive, when the 2007 champion entered the water at an ugly angle, doomed him to a fifth-place finish.
Instead, the steadier Kuznetsov emerged as the leader. However, He executed a tough forward tuck with four-and-a-half somersaults to total 102.60 points and overtake the Russian.
Earlier at the Montjuic Municipal pool, Chinese duo He Zi and Wang Han topped the semi-finals for the women’s 3m springboard.
He led the 18-diver field with 370 points. Wang was next with 362.40, and Canada’s Jennifer Abel was third with 344.10. The final was to be held yesterday.