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Wilkinson, Ishimatsu advance to platform semifinals

August 20, 2008 | 10:25 am

Laura Wilkinson competes in the women's 10-meter platform preliminary event at the National Aquatics Center on Wednesday.

2000 Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson finished fifth in the women’s platform preliminaries on Wednesday night at the National Aquatics Center. Teammate Haley Ishimatsu (Seal Beach) finished 10th.

Both divers are among the 18 athletes who are advancing to Thursday morning's semifinals at the Beijing Games.

Wilkinson finished with 370.70 points, Ishimatsu, with 329.00. China’s Chen Ruolin and Wang Xin led the field with 428.80 and 420.30 points, respectively.

Wilkinson tallied 81 points on her first dive and scored more than 70 points on three of her remaining four dives. She also became the first woman to perform a back 3 ½ pike at an Olympic Games.

“I had a pretty good prelims," Wilkinson told USA Diving. "I was steady and did some good stuff. This was my last prelims ever, and I had a great time. I don’t really like prelims, but this was a great warmup for" Thursday.

Ishimatsu was in 21st place after two rounds but moved up to 16th after scoring 72 points on her reverse 3 ½ tuck in round three.

“I’m really excited," Ishimatsu told USA Diving."I just qualified, and that’s all I needed to do tonight. I was a little nervous at first, but I calmed down.”

Preliminary scores don't carry over to the semifinals and divers will compete in reverse order on Thursday from their preliminaries finish.

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: U.S. diver Laura Wilkinson competes in the women's 10-meter platform preliminary event at the National Aquatics Center on Wednesday. Credit: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images

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