CAELI MCKAY AND KATE MILLER EARN TICKET TO PARIS IN SYNCHRONIZED DIVING
February 6, 2024 – The competition was fierce and the stakes were high in the 10m synchronized diving final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday. China, Great Britain, France, and the USA had already qualified for the Paris Olympic Games, and four final spots were up for grabs.
With a final score of 287.34, Caeli McKay and Kate Miller finished sixth, which was enough to secure the Canadian duo’s ticket to the French capital in July. Moments after the final, the two athletes still could not quite believe they had accomplished their goal.
“It’s unreal! It’s crazy! We’re extremely relieved and very excited. I still can’t believe it. It’s really crazy!” exclaimed Miller.
“We’re really happy. It was a good challenge today (Tuesday). Qualifying for the Olympics is a great achievement. When we get home, we’ll work really hard. We can focus on Paris now!” added McKay.
After four rounds, the battle for bronze was fierce between Ukraine, Great Britain, Spain, and Canada. Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini Sirieix of Great Britain ultimately secured the third spot on the podium with a score of 299.34.
Despite an excellent final dive, McKay and Miller were unable to move up from provisional sixth place.
“Going into our final dive, I knew it was close, but I didn’t know which teams were ahead of us. We focused on our dive so as to get the best possible score. We also wanted to enjoy ourselves, and we did!” explained McKay.
According to the two divers, their complicity is one of the keys to their success.
“This event was clearly more enjoyable than my individual. I had someone to share the moment with, and we could feed of each other positivity”, said McKay
“It’s really special to be able to experience this moment with Caeli, we were stressed but mostly excited”, continued Miller.
The gold medal went to Yuxi Chen and Hongchan Quan of China, who finished first with 362.22 points. Mi Rae Kim and Jin Mi Jo of North Korea finished second with 320.70 points.
This will be Miller’s first Olympic experience. It will be the second for McKay, who placed fourth in the 10m synchronized event in Tokyo in 2021 with Meaghan Benfeito.
A comeback and a new experience in men’s 3m
Earlier in the day, Cédric Fofana and Carson Paul competed in the preliminary rounds of the men’s 3m springboard event. Fofana finished 34th with 338.20 points, while Paul finished 36th with a score of 330.80. Neither Canadian advanced to the semi-finals.
Seventy athletes participated in the preliminary rounds, which lasted more than five hours.
It was Fofana’s first international competition since the Tokyo Olympic Games. Although he was not among the sixteen semi-finalists, the 20-year-old was satisfied with his overall performance.
“Considering the circumstances, it didn’t go too badly. I’m pretty happy. Of course, I would have liked to go further, and there are certain things I need to work on. It was the first time I took part in such a long competition. There was a lot of waiting around, and I tried to take it easy between each dive,” explained the Québécois.
For Paul, whose usual specialty is the 10m platform, it was the first Senior World Championships of his career, and he thoroughly enjoyed his experience in Qatar.
“I was pretty satisfied with my first five dives, which were very consistent. Overall, it was a great experience. I’m glad the day is over. It was a long competition. It was very different, but it was cool,” he said.
The diving events will continue on Wednesday in Doha. Pamela Ware and Mia Vallée will compete in the 3m synchronized event. The two Québécoises finished fifth at the World Championships in 2023.