She’s one step closer to the world championships in Japan!
Kristen Hayden just made history as the first Black woman to win a national diving title, NBC Sports reports.
Hayden is a Hillsborough, New Jersey native who began diving as a sport at the age of 10. Now, the 23-year-old is raking up titles in the big leagues, making history as the first Black woman to win a national diving title at the USA Diving Winter Nationals this past week.
Hayden teamed up with Quinn Henninger for the mixed synchronized 3m springboard competition. Together, the duo took the lead on their third dive, earning 7.0s and 7.5s on the next two dives and totaling a score of 286.86 points, securing the victory just three points ahead of competitors Carson Tyler and Anne Fowler. Hayden now joins Mike Wright as the only two Black divers to win U.S. national titles, Wright taking his home in 2012 for the 1m springboard.
“I don’t think words can even describe the feeling. You read about people like that, you watch Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, but when it’s yourself, it’s insane. 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 U.S.,” Hayden told reporters.
The Indiana University student is also a founding member of the USA Diving’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Hayden will go on to partner with Margo O’Meara for the individual 1m and 3m springboard events and is the first Black American diver to earn a bid to the world championships, set to take place May 2022 in Japan. Hayden was previously a team member in the 2016 Junior Worlds.
Congratulations Kristen! Because of you, we can!
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images/NBC Sports