Posted: Thursday August 9, 2012 12:30 AM

Chen leads going into women's 10M diving semifinal

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LONDON (AP) - China didn't stay down for long in Olympic diving.

Chen Ruolin goes into the women's 10-meter platform semifinal at the London Olympics on Thursday atop the standings, moving herself closer to defending the title she won four years ago in Beijing.

The 19-year-old diver finished first with 392.35 points in the preliminaries on Wednesday.

China has won five of six diving golds so far in London, including the women's 10-meter synchronized title claimed by Chen and Wang Hao. The country's attempt to sweep all eight golds was spoiled when Ilya Zakharov of Russia won the men's 3-meter springboard on Tuesday.

Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia was second at 349.00, followed by Christin Steuer of Germany in third at 341.75.

Scores do not carry over, so all 18 divers will start from scratch in the semifinal. The top 12 will advance to the final on Thursday evening.

Chen was second after her opening dive, then moved into first and stayed there the rest of the way.

"I feel it's all right,'' she said, adding that she was not in control on her second and fourth dives. "I just focus on my dives. I do not really notice the performances of others.''

Brittany Broben of Australia was fourth at 339.80. Her teammate, Melissa Wu, was fifth at 337.90.

Chen's teammate, Hu Yadan, advanced in sixth. She missed her fourth dive when her legs smashed the water and she earned mostly 5.0s.

Steuer was in London as a reserve athlete and only got into the competition when her teammate Nora Subshinski withdrew because of a neck injury.

"When she wasn't getting better, I just jumped in,'' said Steuer, who found out at lunch on Tuesday that she would get to compete in her third Olympics. "The girls who are here for the first time must be nervous. I'm a bit more mature, that might be why I did a bit better.''

Katie Bell of the U.S. rallied from 24th to finish ninth.

"I didn't think I could get back in the game again,'' she said. "I calmed down a lot after those first two dives. I was able to do my last three dives like I do every day in practice.''

Bell's teammate, Brittany Viola, was sixth after two rounds and qualified in 14th.

"My nerves were OK,'' she said. "I greatly enjoyed myself. It's so cool to be here.''

Viola was cheered on by her father Frank, a retired major league baseball pitcher who was the most valuable player of the 1987 World Series for the Minnesota Twins.

Both of North Korea's divers made the semifinal. Kim Jin Ok was 15th and Kim Un Hyang grabbed the last spot in 18th.
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