"Vying for world’s best synchronized diving team

Noblesville’s Thomas Finchum and David Boudia are almost like any other 17-year-olds — they like to hang out with their friends and play Xbox — but before they can act their age, they practice for five hours a day to be the world’s best synchronized diving team.

In January, Finchum and Boudia, who have been diving together for seven years, were named to the United States Diving team roster for the 2007 FINA World Championships to be held in Melbourne, Australia, March 19-26. The two will compete together in the 10-meter synchro competition, as well as against each other in the 10-meter individual competition. The irony of competing with and against each other is nothing new for the duo.

“I don’t think it’s weird. We’ve been diving together for a long time and we both support each other,” Finchum said. “It’s different going from partners to individuals, but if I didn’t dive well I would want David to.”

In the synchro competition, Finchum and Boudia’s head coach, David Wingfield, said they have a good chance of placing in the top three and bringing home a medal.

Finchum and Boudia, whose diving roots began in gymnastics at a very young age, are used to success on the synchro and individual levels. They have already claimed the title of the best synchro team in the United States after winning the platform competition in the 2006 Speedo U.S. Open Championships. In those same championships, Boudia edged out Finchum for the gold medal in the individual platform competition by 35 points. One year prior, Finchum was the one standing on the podium above his teammate after winning the 2005 U.S. National Championships in the 10-meter.

“I think it’s a pretty neat relationship that they have,” Wingfield said. “When they’re at a major event they know there’s someone behind them.”

Finchum and Boudia both began home schooling this year in order to prepare for the world championships and the eventual 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Finchum, a junior, used to attend Lutheran High School and Boudia, a senior, used to attend Noblesville High School.

“It was different,” Boudia said about the move to home school. “Some days [I miss high school] and some days I don’t. I don’t miss the whole going to class ... that whole thing.”

Their days are as long as a regular high school day, but arguably, twice as strenuous. They do dry land training from 7:30-9:30 every morning, then take a break for school and lunch before training in the pool from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“[I get tired] all the time,” Boudia said. “But I look ahead to our goals and what we’re working for.”

What the two are working for is not just the world championships, but also the 2008 Olympics. In 2004, Finchum missed the Olympics by one place in the diving trials and he and Boudia both have their goals set on bringing back diving medals to the United States for the first time in eight years.

“A lot of people’s goals are to make the Olympics,” Wingfield said. “These guys are a little different. Their goals are to bring back medals.”

For a web cast of the championships: www.wcsn.com/swimming.