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Olympic trials champ finished third

7/22/2004

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. -- Kimiko Soldati, the Olympic trials
champion in the 3-meter springboard, was third in qualifying
Wednesday and advanced to the finals of the U.S. National Diving
Championships.

Nancilea Underwood finished first with 464.01 points, while
Chelsea Davis had 460.65 and Soldati was third with 457.17. The top
eight in the a field of 31 advanced to Saturday's finals.

The nationals are the final tuneup before the Athens Olympics
next month, with many of the Olympic qualifiers training through
the meet to prepare.

Soldati, of Magnolia, Texas, and Rachelle Kunkel, of West Valley
City, Utah, will represent the U.S. at Athens in the 3-meter event.

In an upset Wednesday, Kunkel finished ninth and did not advance
to the final. Underwood, of Spring, Texas, led Soldati after the
quarterfinals, then increased her lead during the semifinals.

Soldati has undergone four major shoulder surgeries in recent
years, forcing her to miss several national and international
competitions. She won the Olympic trials in the 3-meter springboard
and was third in the 10-meter platform event.