Canada Cup: Canada’s synchronized duos go for gold
The chemistry between Mia Vallée (Beaconsfield, QC) and Margo Erlam (Saskatoon, SK) became readily apparent in the FINA Diving Grand Prix three-metre synchronized event on Saturday in Calgary. The two Canadians won gold with 305.40 points in only their second competition together.
“It’s great for our confidence! We haven’t been training together for very long, but we’re both strong technically in the individual events, and that carries over well when we dive together. We’ve known each other since we were little, so it’s really nice to work as a team,” said Erlam, following their win.
“We’re really happy with our performance! We were a bit nervous before the competition, but it turns out we’re on the same wavelength, which is very encouraging,” added Vallée.
Vallée and Erlam had to work hard to clinch the gold medal, as they were closely trailed throughout the final by another Canadian duo, made up of Pamela Ware (Montréal, QC) and Aimee Wilson (Calgary, AB), who finished second with 299.46 points. The gold medallists finally pulled away from their rivals by scoring 72 points in their final dive.
“I was really nervous before our final jump because there was no room for error if we wanted to win. We did one of the dives we’re best at, and it went well,” explained Erlam.
“I try to avoid checking the scores during events, but I could still hear the announcers, so I knew that (Ware and Wilson) were always right behind us. Our last two dives were our best, and that’s what made the difference,” concluded Vallée.
Australia’s Kate Rosman and Alysha Koloi finished third, with 276.30 points.
Erlam’s gold medal with Vallée was not her first of the day. Earlier, she had won the mixed 3m synchronized final with her male teammate Bryden Hattie, of Victoria, BC. They came out just ahead of Brazil’s Anna Santos and Rafael Fogaca.
Photo credit: Dave Holland
A confidence boost for Zsombor-Murray and Wiens
Like their compatriots Vallée and Erlam, Nathan Zsombor-Murray (Pointe-Claire, QC) and Rylan Wiens (Saskatoon, SK) were also participating in one of their first competitions as a team. The two Canadian men put on an impressive performance in the 10-metre platform final, earning the top spot on the podium with 436.56 points.
“I had a great time today. Obviously, there are things we need to work on for next time, but overall, it went well. Most of our training was done individually, but when we started diving together, it all came together quickly,” said Wiens.
Following the retirement of Vincent Riendeau (Montréal, QC), Zsombor-Murray had been looking for a new diving partner, and Wiens quickly proved to be a great match. Given their excellent performance today, their future looks bright.
“Synchronized diving comes easily to us. We’re both strong as individual competitors, so when we dive together, everything flows well. We were very well prepared for today’s final. We started the day strong and we’ll continue to train just as hard together,” stated Zsombor-Murray.
Also in action were Benjamin Tessier (Blainville, QC) and Matt Cullen (Rosemère, QC), who finished third with 374.31 points, just behind Britain’s Ben Cutmore and Kyle Kothari, with 374.58.
Celina Toth celebrates return with silver medal
After strong performances in Thursday’s qualifiers and semi-finals, Celina Toth (Victoria, BC) felt confident as she headed into the 10m tower final. The British Columbian finished second with 332.30 points, just behind Brazil’s Ingrid Oliveira, who scored 361.90.
“I feel so relieved right now! I felt a lot of pressure as the Canada Cup approached, and I’m really happy to have performed at the level I was expecting,” she said.
Toth’s third dive was her best of the final round, earning her a total of 84 points. One of the judges even awarded her a perfect score of 10/10. It was a highlight of the weekend for Toth.
“It was a big deal, because I had been having a lot of trouble with that dive (three and a half rotations in pike position) during training. I felt like I had executed it well, but when I saw the excitement on my coach’s face, I knew I had done it extremely well!”
Lois Toulson of Britain won bronze (293,40 points)
In the men’s 3m springboard final, Canadians Bryden Hattie (309.20 points) and Bjorn Markentin (Saskatoon, SK, 305.45 points) finished fifth and sixth, respectively. The competition was won by Jordan Houlden of Britain, with 438.75 points.
The Canada Cup wraps up on Sunday with five more finals. Canadians Katelyn Fung (London, ON), Matt Cullen, Pamela Ware, Mia Vallée and Rylan Wiens will all be in action. For more information about the event, or to view the results, click here.
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