History was made this week when diver Kristen Hayden became the first Black woman to win a U.S. national senior title.
According to Team USA, Hayden and her Indiana University diving teammate Quinn Henninger won the mixed synchronized 3m springboard Monday at the USA Diving Winter Nationals in their debut competition. With that accomplishment, Hayden became the first-ever Black female to win a Senior National title.
“Quinn and I did awesome, we came in with an open mindset,” said Hayden. “We just wanted to have fun. Of course, we wanted to make the team but it was also our first time doing synchro together and we just wanted to do the dives the best we can.”
The victory also made her the first Black U.S. Diver to gain a bid to the FINA World Championships. Hayden joins Mike Wright, the first Black National Champion in 2012 on the 1-Meter, in the history books.
“I don’t think words can even describe the feeling,” she said after the victory. “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.”
USA Diving also acknowledged the historic accomplishment.
“💥History Made💥 @krishayden just became became USA Diving’s FIRST Black female National Champion and the FIRST ever Black U.S. Diver to qualify for the @fina1908 World Championships. We are so proud of Kristen and her synchro partner @quinn.henninger 😭”
The 23-year-old Hayden is also a founding member of USA Diving’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.
Hayden will also compete in the Women’s 3-Meter Synchro with Margo O’Meara. She is also competing solo in the Individual 1-Meter and 3-Meter Events. .