BUDAPEST – The degree of difficulty separating dives in the women’s 3-meter final on Saturday was so minuscule that a victory required exceptional consistency. The standings at the end of each round featured several three- and four-way ties. But Chen Yiwen led after each of the five rounds to amass 366.9 points and capture China’s 11th world title in 11 events so far in Budapest.

Fifty-nine of the 60 dives in the 12-woman final carried a DD of 3.0 or 3.1. The only athlete who dared to add risk was Sayaka Mikami of Japan whose final dive, a 5154B (double twisting 2½), would have multiplied her score by 3.4. Mikami was in second place after four dives, but the risk was costly. As she entered the water, she was bent at the waist and still twisting. She earned 20.40 points and placed 7th.

Instead, Canada’s Mia Vallee claimed the silver (to accompany the bronze medal she earned in the 1-meter event). She finished 37.9 points behind Chen.

“I can’t say I ever would have imagined coming to these world championships to have these results,” Vallee said. “My goals were to make finals in both events. And here we stand, two medals later.

After earning the 1-meter bronze, Vallee said, “I was a lot more calm and a lot more centered. Going into the final round [of the 3-meter] I just wanted to be proud of my diving. I was extremely confused when I came out of the water and everybody was cheering so hard, especially when my scores came up. Then it hit me when somebody said, ‘You’ve got to get changed for medals.’”

Chang Yani added a bronze for China, jumping from fifth place to third on her final dive – matching the 72.00 points awarded to her winning teammate, Chen, for the same final dive. In fact, both Chinese divers performed an identical dive list, in identical order. So did American Sarah Bacon, who was trying to win the first medal in the event since 1982. (Bacon placed fifth, hurt by her second and third dive.)

Chen’s victory was the eleventh consecutive victory for China in the women’s 3-meter event. It should be noted that Guo Jingjing won the first five titles in a row (2001-2009), and Shi Tingmao contributed the last three (2015-2019).