ENDING 2023 ON A HIGH NOTE
December 17, 2023 – For Mia Vallée, 2023 has been filled with ups and downs. Nevertheless, the athlete from Beaconsfield ended the year with a bang, winning the 3m gold medal on Sunday at the Senior National Diving Championships in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In the process, she also qualified for the World Aquatics Championships, which will be held in in Doha, Qatar, in February.
“It’s incredible! It’s been an extremely difficult year. I put a lot of pressure on myself after winning my World Championships medals in 2022. I was constantly comparing myself to that performance, and it became very difficult mentally. But this week, everything fell into place. I had a lot of energy, and I’m really happy,” explained Vallée.
“It’s a great way to end 2023! There have been a lot of disappointments, so I’m happy to have won the 3m gold medal here. Two or three months ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. But now I can see that all my efforts in training are paying off, and I want to be even stronger in the future.”
With her two first dives of the final, Vallée set the tone for the rest of the round, scoring 67.50 and 69.75 respectively to claim provisional first place. She managed to hold onto the position until the very end, securing the title of Canadian champion with a total of 332.25 points.
To add to her joy, her synchronized diving partner Pamela Ware finished second with 327.35 points, thus also securing a ticket to the World Championships.
“It’s a perfect situation for the two of us! I’m so happy Pamela qualified for the Worlds. We came very close to winning a medal in synchronized diving at the World Championships last summer, and now we’ll have another chance to do so in Qatar,” explained Vallée.
This was Vallée’s second gold medal in Winnipeg, as she also won the 1m springboard event on Friday, which was a critical element in her quest for 3m gold.
“My 1m was good, but it could have been even better. I realized I was extremely stressed, and I didn’t want that to be the case today for the 3m. So I decided to dive as though it was just a practice and there was no pressure. That helped me relax,” she concluded.
Amélie-Laura Jasmin finished third with 317.60 points.
Zsombor-Murray victorious on final dive
For the competitors in the men’s 10m platform final, it all came down to the last two dives. Ultimately, Nathan Zsombor-Murray of Quebec clinched the title of Canadian champion, just ahead of Rylan Wiens of Saskatchewan.
Wiens started off very strong, earning scores of 96.00 and 101.75 on his first two dives of the final. However, things took a bit of a turn on his last two attempts, and he ended the competition with a total of 472.60 points.
Zsombor-Murray had been tailing Wiens since the beginning of the final round. Going into his final dive, he decided to give it his all, while also being conservative, since a second-place finish would still have allowed him to qualify for the World Championships. However, he scored 76.80 points on his last attempt, bringing his total to 478.35, good for first place.
“Really, my goal was just to qualify for the World Championships. I’m proud to have done so, but I also think I could have done better. Some of my dives were quite difficult. I wanted to end things well by executing my final dive as best I could,” explained the 20-year-old.
Zsombor-Murray and Wiens will therefore compete at the Worlds in Doha in February, in both individual and synchronized events.
“Next year will be very intense, with both the Worlds and the Olympics. Rylan missed the World Championships last summer because of an injury, so it will be interesting to see what we can accomplish together in synchronized diving in February in Qatar,” he added.
Benjamin Tessier won the bronze medal today with 438.80 points.
The World Aquatics Championships will be held in Doha from February 2-18, 2024. The diving events will take place from February 2-10.