Johnston and Bryant registered a score of 651.60 on two lists to earn the national title, edging out Christina Loukas and Kassidy Cook, who finished second with a score of 638.82. Earlier in the day, Loukas and Cook led the field of 12 in the quarterfinal round, while Johnston and Bryant were six points back after the first list. However, Johnston and Bryant posted 70-plus points on all three optional dives in the event finals to surge ahead for the first-place finish.
The national title comes one day after Johnston - the 2011 NCAA National Champion on the 3-meter springboard - recorded a ninth-place showing in the women's 3-meter competition in Knoxville.
"I kind of bottled up yesterday, and today was a new day," Johnston said. "I really feel like Kelci and I bring out the best in each other, and I was really excited we had another chance to show what kind of dives we can do."
With the first-place performance, Johnston and Bryant automatically qualify for the 2012 FINA World Cup, which will take place Feb. 20-26 in London.
Nick McCrory will join Johnston in London after he and David Boudia claimed the national title in the men's synchronized 10-meter competition on Tuesday. The duo led the field after two lists with a score of 898.53 to earn the gold medal, as well as a spot on the FINA World Cup team.