Kimball hit the water—splash!—just off line. Scores of 7.5 and 8.0 went up on the board, and the Florida protesters cheered for the first time all week. Kimball had not only failed to make the team, but he had also dropped to fourth.
The final scores showed Louganis first with 1,331.19 points, Jeffrey next with 1,261.71 and the late-closing Mike Wantuck third with 1,254.72. Kimball finished with 1,244.43. "This week has helped Bruce's spirits," said a subdued Dick Kimball. "But it has only delayed the inevitable. Reality is going to hit, and it's going to hit hard."
The reality at Indy was that champions would repeat—Louganis, Kelly McCormick and Michele Mitchell all duplicated their '84 trials victories—and that others would battle memorably for second place. "This is the toughest meet in the world," said Olympic coach Ron O'Brien.
The 5'9", 168-pound Louganis, 29, who had seemed vulnerable after several losses in the last year, dived with his left wrist taped because of a ganglion cyst and bone chip but still seemed to be rounding into form. He has added eight pounds of muscle since the '84 Games, and O'Brien, his coach with the Mission Bay (Fla.) Makos club, has been working with him on bracing his hands to get cleaner entries into the water and to save wear and tear on his arms and wrists.
"Greg has, unbeknownst to him, I think, a little clock in his head," said O'Brien. "Next week he'll start to do something a little better, and then the week after that, he'll do something else. That's good, because in Seoul he'll have to dive better than he did here."
Louganis wasn't the only old-timer competing in his fourth U.S. trials. Another was women's springboard winner McCormick, 28, the '84 Olympic silver medalist and free-spirited daughter of former Olympic champion Patricia McCormick. Kelly, who since the '84 Games has significantly boosted the D.D. in the dives on her list to keep pace with the world-leading Chinese, turned in the performance of her career despite a seriously strained left calf muscle, which has plagued her since February. She built a small lead (528.90 to 513.57) over University of Miami junior Wendy Williams in the preliminary round and—pumped up by between-dive sessions with her boom box in a room under the stands—blew away the field with an unofficial American-record score of 578.22 in the finals.
McCormick's 1,107.12 put her more than 76 ahead of the Dick Kimball-coached runner-up Wendy Lucero, 24, an ex-figure skater and ex-ballerina who nipped teammate Mary Fischbach for second by just .81. If Fischbach had received a score .5 higher from even one judge on almost any of her dives, she would have made the team. "It makes you wonder what one little thing you could have done better," she said.
The fight for second in men's springboard was just as tense. While Louganis was cruising to victory with rounds of 722.88 and 717.72—his best scores of the year—Makos teammate and part-time dental assistant Kent Ferguson was trying to hold off Mark Bradshaw.
On the first round of the finals, Ferguson, 25, who has spent much of the year recovering from a left shoulder dislocation suffered while competing on platform in January, dislocated the same shoulder as he hit the water on a straight inward dive. "It's out again!" he cried to team physician Dr. Ben Rubin as he climbed from the pool. Rubin hustled Ferguson into a training room and popped the shoulder back in place. Astonishingly, Ferguson was able to move his left arm without too much pain. He decided to keep diving. "It was trials," he said later. "I had to go for it."
Bradshaw, 26, who trains with Jeffrey and McCormick under Panzano, was being lifted by an enthusiastic rooting section. More than 40 friends and family members from at least six states had come to Indy, and most were wearing blue T-shirts with such identifications as BRADSHAW'S UNCLE Or BRADSHAW'S COUSIN inscribed on them. "Every time I stepped on the board I almost started laughing because they were so rowdy," Bradshaw said later. After five rounds of superb diving by both men, he still trailed Ferguson by more than 21 points.