Beijing: Canada captures a total of six medals in China
Meaghan Benfeito said she’s having her best start to a season in over a decade.
The three-time Olympic medallist won a bronze medal in the women’s 10m platform, then followed it up with a third-place finish in the mixed 10m synchro platform, alongside teammate Nathan Zsombor-Murray, on the final day of the FINA Diving World Series in Beijing, China.
“It’s probably the best beginning to the season I’ve ever had in my career, I only missed out on one medal so I’m very happy about that and looking forward to going back home and training hard so that it continues,” said Benfeito, who collected five medals (one silver, four bronze) in six events from both Beijing, and last week’s season opening Diving World Series in Japan.
Today, Benfeito, 30, scored 336.40 points for third-place. She said the judges were hard markers throughout the event.
“They weren’t giving out the scores so easily, everybody had to fight for every single point they got, it was for everybody, it wasn’t for any diver in particular, we all had to fight for every single point that we needed,” said Benfeito.
“It makes it interesting but it also makes it frustrating, because you think your dive is better than what you got, but then it kind of throws you off a little bit but I tried to stay as focused as possible.”
Two Chinese divers finished ahead of the Canadian. Jiaqi Zhang won the event with 400.05 points and her teammate, Qian Ren, picked up the silver medal with 371.20 points.
Victoria’s Celina Toth was fifth in her semifinal (307.75 points) and did not advance to the final.
Benfeito added her second bronze medal of the day by amassing 300.96 points in the mixed synchro event with Zsombor-Murray, improving on their sixth-place finish from last week.
Zsombor-Murray, from Pointe-Claire, said waiting until the last event of the competition wasn’t easy, “The longer the wait the more nerve-wracking it gets because the longer you have to wait the more thinking you do and the more you start to doubt yourself and all these thoughts running through your head, so you try to avoid that,” said the 15 year-old.
Benfeito said, in a way, she helped to nurture his performance, “Sometimes it’s hard, but as long as we enjoy ourselves and we laugh and we really focus on what we have to do and not think about anything else I think that’s what makes us a good team,” said the veteran.
“She kept telling me to stay calm, stay focused, just do the dives that we know we’re capable of doing and to not doubt myself,” said Zsombor-Murray, “Definitely more motivated now that we have a competition out of the way and we did it well and now that I know I’m capable of getting a medal and doing my best it’s a good confidence booster, so very excited to get home and train harder than ever.”
Neither Rylan Wiens nor Vincent Riendeau advanced out of the men’s 10m platform semifinal stage.
The Canadian team leaves China with one silver medal and five bronze for a total of 11 medals over the first two Diving World Series.
The Canadians now head back home to prepare for both the Canada Cup FINA Diving Grand Prix April 4 to 7 in Calgary, and the Canadian stop of the FINA Diving World Series in Montreal, to be held April 26 to 28.
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