Kristen Hayden Becomes First Black Female National Champion in U.S. Diving

Kristen Hayden on Dec. 13 became the first Black woman to win a U.S. national senior title in diving.

Hayden and her partner Quinn Henninger won the mixed synchronized three-meter at the USA Diving 2022 Winter National Championships with a score of 286.86.

It was the first time Hayden and Henninger — both students at Indiana University — did a synchro together.

As a result of their victory, Hayden and Henninger will represent the U.S. at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships in May in Fukuoka, Japan, which also then makes Hayden the first ever Black U.S. diver to qualify for the said world championships.

“I don’t think words can even describe the feeling,” Hayden said when asked about becoming the first Black female U.S. national champion in diving.

“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 also said.

Hayden joins Mike Wright as the only Black divers in the U.S. to win national titles.

Hayden is also a founding member of USA Diving’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.

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