Kristen Hayden on Monday, Dec.13 rewrote the history books at the USA Diving winter national championships becoming the first Black woman to earn a senior US national championship title in diving.
Hayden, a recent transfer to Indiana University, and freshman, teammate Quinn Henninger won the mixed synchronized three-meter springboard event.
This marked their first synchronized competition together, according to USA Diving who congratulated her on the double feat:
“????History Made ???? @krishayden just 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 ????” USA Diving wrote on Instagram.
Hayden stands proudly as only the second Black diver to claim a US national title.
Mike Wright became the first Black athlete to win a national title in 2010 for his performance in the one-meter springboard event.
“Quinn and I did awesome,” Hayden, from Hillsborough, NJ, told USA Diving, “we came in with an open mindset. 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.”
“You read about people like that, you watch Serena Williams, Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, but when it’s yourself it’s insane.”
On achieving the history making feat, Hayden said, “I don’t think words can even describe the feeling.” She added, “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 US.”
According to Hayden she has a background in gymnastics and started diving when she was in the fourth grade. She is a founding member of USA Diving’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council.