BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Kristen Hayden became the first Black woman to win a U.S. national senior title when she paired with Quinn Henninger for a victory in mixed synchronized 3-meter at the USA Diving winter national championships.
They were in a tight competition with with teammates Anne Fowler and Carson Tyler. Hayden and Henninger's third dive, a Forward 3 1/2 Somersault Pike, placed them in the lead. Their next two dives earned mostly 7's and 7.5's. Hayden and Henninger won by just three points in their first synchro competition together.
“I don’t think words can even describe the feeling,” Hayden said when asked about becoming the first Black female National Champion, “You read about people like that, you watch Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, but when it’s yourself it’s insane. I think the whole diving community is headed in the right direction and I just want to be a good example for young Black Americans or any minority really for diving in the U.S.”
Hayden is a founding member of USA Diving’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. She had this advice when asked what she would say to a younger version of herself, “Everything happens for a reason, don’t give up and train hard. Every single day come in with a mindset of what you want to accomplish, look at the best and never give up.”
Hayden is also competing in the Women’s 3-Meter Synchro with Margo O’Meara, as well as the Individual 1-Meter and 3-Meter events.
Hayden joins Mike Wright as the only Black divers to win U.S. national titles. Wright won on 1-meter springboard in 2012. Hayden is the first Black American diver to earn a spot in the world championships in May in Japan.