Long Island native Andrew Capobianco will return home from the Tokyo Olympics with a silver medal and a great experience for a first-time Olympian.
Capobianco finished 10th in the men’s individual 3-meter springboard diving competition early Tuesday morning. He won a silver medal in the 3-meter synchronized diving event with Michael Hixon last week.
"Honestly, I’m just really grateful for the opportunity that I had to be here," Capobianco told Newsday in a phone interview from Tokyo. "The experience has been wonderful. I couldn’t really ask for anything more for my first Olympics. Coming away with a silver medal was amazing and to follow that up with a 10th-place finish, that’s my highest international finish ever. I had never made the final individually, so I have a lot to be happy with. Obviously, I know I could have finished better individually but I have a lot to be proud of."
Capobianco’s six dives in the individual competition totaled 401.70.
Xie Siyi led another 1-2 finish for China in the Games, claiming gold with a score of 558.75. Teammate Wang Zongyuan (534.90) held off Jack Laugher of Britain (518) for the silver. Xie and Wang teamed to win gold in the 3-meter synchronized diving event.
The 21-year-old Capobianco grew up in Wantagh before moving to North Carolina for high school. The Mineola-born Capobianco became the first seventh-grader to win the Nassau diving championship when he was competing for Wantagh High School in 2012. His score broke the county record. As an eighth grader he repeated as county champion and broke the record he set a year earlier.
He moved to North Carolina and graduated from Holly Springs High School in 2017. He’s a seven-time All-American at Indiana University.
The Americans were hoping to claim their fourth diving medal of the Tokyo Games, which would match their best output since 1988.
"I’m a little bit disappointed about how tonight went in the final," Capobianco said. "But overall through the whole Olympics I’m very proud of how I handled myself in my first Olympics. And I’m excited for what’s to come."
Capobianco said he’s been dealing with a psoas back strain "since before the Olympic Trials" in June.
"Unfortunately, it was not diagnosed until three weeks after Olympic Trials," Capobianco said. "So, I didn’t have any way of treating it, so it just got worse through the Olympic Trials and after I wasn’t able to train for three weeks."
Capobianco finished 10th in the semifinals of the individual event Monday night, with the top 12 divers in the 18-competitor field advancing to Tuesday’s finals. Capobianco scored a total of 419.60 with his six dives in the semifinals. His scores for each dive were 81.60, 77.00, 59.50, 63.00, 66.30 and 72.20. He entered the final round of dives in the semifinals in ninth place with a score of 347.40.
"One thing I would say I could’ve done differently was preparing," Capobianco said. "But, unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with a back injury coming into the Olympics, so I could only do a certain amount of numbers. So, I didn’t have the preparation that I wanted coming in. So, through mental toughness I was kind of able to get through it and I definitely would have liked to be more prepared physically."
Capobianco said his individual performance could set him up for an exciting future with an eye on the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
"I think this is going to build my confidence a lot," Capobianco said. "Seeing how the diving went here, I definitely see that I can be at the top in individual if I continue training like I have been for the next three years. And for synchro we’ll see where things go. But it definitely helps my confidence and makes me really excited for the future and makes me excited to get back to training."
With The Associated Press