Gwangju: things you need to know about the Canadian diving team
The 2019 FINA World Championships, the biggest competition outside of the Olympic Games, begin this week. To get you prepped, here are the top stories from one of the world’s most competitive diving teams.
THE ROAD TO TOKYO 2020 BEGINS
With one year to go before the 2020 Olympics, each dive at the World Championships will play a major role in the Canadian diving team’s road to Tokyo, as FINA will be awarding quota places to the National Olympic Committees whose athletes finish in the top-12 in the individual events, and the top-3 in the synchronized events.
JENNIFER ABEL COULD BREAK A RECORD
With a total of eight career World Championship medals, Jennifer Abel is already the most decorated Canadian female athlete at the FINA World Championships, a record number she shares with diver Alexandre Despatie and swimmer Ryan Cochrane. If she steps onto the podium in Gwangju, Abel would set a new Canadian record. After medalling at the last four Worlds, there are few doubts that she will rise to the occasion once again.
GAGNÉ & IMBEAU-DULAC ARE STRONGER THAN EVER
Going into their third FINA World Championships as a team, Philippe Gagné & François Imbeau-Dulac are in great shape. They have been in the medal hunt all season long and have two international podiums to show for it. The pair is also currently tied with China for the second place in the FINA world ranking on 3m synchro.
MEAGHAN BENFEITO IS BACK
Despite an impressive season start at the Beijing (CHN) and Sagamihara (JPN) World Series events, Meaghan Benfeito experienced many ups and downs in 2019. Finding herself in a precarious position before the World Championships trials, she had no choice but to offer a performance worthy of an Olympic final in order to make the Canadian team. This is exactly what she did as she pulled-off 387.80 points on platform, nearly replicating her Rio 2016 bronze medal performance of 389.20 points.
CAELI MCKAY IN SOLO
Based on her partnership with three-time Olympic medallist Meaghan Benfeito, Caeli McKay is no stranger to major international events. But this time will be different, as she will be standing alone on the platform. Her sparkling performances at the Grand Prix in Calgary and National Championships in Windsor earned her two silver medals, and qualification for the 10m individual event at these World Championships.
PAMELA WARE HAS A PODIUM TO DEFEND
With her bronze medals on 3m at the 2013 World Championships and the 2018 World Cup, Pamela Ware will be one of the top medal contenders in Gwangju. If she lands on the podium, the Rio 2016 Olympian would get closer than ever to her goal of competing at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
BRYDEN HATTIE STANDS ON ITS OWN
A representative of Boardworks, Victoria’s powerful diving club, Bryden Hattie will make his first appearance in the 10m individual event at the World Championship level. After representing Canada on 10m synchro at the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup in 2018, Hattie now has the opportunity to showcase his abilities in individual.
RIENDEAU & ZSOMBOR-MURRAY ARE PROGRESSING
Although their partnership is still quite new, Canada’s 10m synchro team, comprised of Vincent Riendeau and Nathan Zsombor-Murray, is very promising. Silver medallists from the 2019 Grand Prix in Calgary, the team has also proven itself at the World Series level by finishing 5th in Beijing and 4th in Montreal.
A NEWCOMER ON THE HIGH DIVING SCENE
A former member of the Canadian diving team, Aimee Harrison isn’t afraid of heights. Training in this discipline since 2018, she made her international debut this season, placing 13th at the High Diving World Cup in Zhaoqing (CHN) and 7th at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Polignano a Mare (ITA). Her high-diving competitions will take place on July 22nd and 23rd, 2019.
Here are Canada’s entries for the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju:
1. Jennifer Abel (27, Montreal, QC) – 3m, 3m synchro, mixed 3m*
2. Meaghan Benfeito (30, Laval, QC) – 10m, 10m synchro
3. Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu (24, St-Constant, QC) – 1m, 3m synchro
4. Caeli McKay (19, Calgary, AB) – 10m, 10m synchro
5. Pamela Ware (26, Montreal, QC) – 3m
6. Philippe Gagné (21, Ville Mont-Royal, QC) – 3m, 3m synchro
7. Bryden Hattie (17, Victoria, BC) – 10m
8. François Imbeau-Dulac (28, St-Lazare, QC) – 3m, 3m synchro, mixed 3m*
9. Vincent Riendeau (22, Beaconsfield, QC) – 10m, 10m synchro
10. Nathan Zsombor-Murray (16, Pointe-Claire, QC) – 10m synchro
11. Aimee Harrison (24, Winnipeg, MB) – high-diving
Event schedule can be downloaded here.
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