Maria Polyakova Qualifies for Olympics in 3M Diving
Former UCLA standout Maria Polyakova has qualified for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo after winning the 3-meter diving championship at the Russian Olympic Trials this week.
With Polyakova headed to Tokyo, the UCLA swim and dive program will now have had a representative at every Summer Games dating back to 1960 (exempting the 1980 Games, which were boycotted by the United States and other countries). In addition, she becomes just the fourth diver in program history to reach the Olympics, and only the second to have competed at UCLA (Karla Goltman, 1992).
The Moscow native will not be the only UCLA-dive-affiliated athlete competing in Tokyo, as incoming freshman Eden Cheng will represent Great Britain in 10-meter synchronized diving.
Polyakova posted a finals score of 323.10 to win the 3M championship at the Olympic Trials, topping the second-place finisher by 13.70 points. That margin was the highest of any diver, place-over-place, that reached the finals.
Even prior to her most-recent 3-meter crown, Polyakova has been a standout for Russia on the international stage this year in the lead up to the Olympics. She won a trio of events (1-meter, 3-meter, 3-meter synchro) at Russia's Winter Nationals, securing a spot at this spring's FINA Diving World Cup (also in Tokyo) where she placed top-20 in 3M. Her performance at the World Cup helped Russia add a second quota spot for the Summer Olympics.
A double record-holder at UCLA, Polyakova this summer will look to build upon her previous-best international performance. At the 2017 World Championships, Polyakova placed top-10 in both individual springboard events, ending up fifth in 1-meter and ninth in 3-meter.
A 2019 graduate of UCLA, Polyakova had arguably the most storied and decorated career of any diver in program history. She garnered CSCAA All-American status eight times during her time at UCLA, remains the program record-holder in 1M (355.50) and 3M (398.75), and was a two-time Pac-12 Diver of the Year.
Her redshirt senior season of 2018-19 was arguably the finest by a Bruin diver ever, as she became UCLA's first-ever national champion in women's diving (3M: 396.00), was named CSCAA National Diver of the Year, and swept the springboard events at both the Pac-12 and Zone E Diving Championships.
Stay tuned to UCLABruins.com and @UCLASwimAndDive on Twitter for updates on Polyakova, and all Bruin Olympians, this summer.