Montreal: gold for Benfeito and Gagné
Meaghan Benfeito (Montreal, QC) and Philippe Gagné (Ville Mont-Royal) both won gold medals on Saturday during the second day of competition at the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series event in Montreal.
Gagné became the first Canadian male diver to win a gold medal at a World Series event since Alexandre Despatie in 2010.
Vincent Riendeau (Beaconsfield, QC) and Caeli McKay (Calgary, AB) capped off Day 2 of competition with a bronze in the mixed 10m synchro platform event.
Benfeito led her semifinal group in the 10m platform event scoring 359.75 points and followed it up with a cumulative score of 355.10 points in the final to win gold. Russia’s Iuliia Timoshinina took silver with 347.40 points while Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia scored 337.55 points to take bronze at the Olympic Sports Centre.
“I got gold, I had a good performance but it’s not the performance I was hoping for. But I’ll learn from this,” Benfeito said. “I think it’s important to learn from this. It happens. Yes, I am disappointed but it’s a takeaway for me. It’s not a bad thing to live through this type of situation, you never know what’s going to happen. I certainly don’t wish it happens again, so I will try and fix this as best I can. You learn when you lose, not when you win.”
The 30-year-old, who won a bronze medal in the 10m platform event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, scored 70.40 points on her first dive leaving her in fourth place but managed to move into second on her second dive with 79.50 points. Benfeito then scored 66.00 on her third dive to move into first place and did not relinquish the top spot scoring 86.40 and 52.80 on her fourth and fifth dives respectively to secure the gold.
“I knew I was diving pretty well the entire competition,” said Benfeito. “My first dive wasn’t as well done but it was still in the zone to get the points. The fourth dive is my best dive. I know I can do it well and to nail it like that, in competition, at home, it’s a great feeling. I wasn’t looking at the scoreboard, I didn’t know how many points I needed but I knew that if I finished heads up, it should be enough.”
Gagné credited his performance in the semifinal of the 3m springboard event for his success in the final. The 22-year-old was fourth after his first dive in the semifinal scoring 78.20 points, but moved up to third with a score of 69.00 on his second dive and then vaulted to the top spot on his third dive with 89.30 points and maintained the top seed with a score of 85.75 points on his fourth dive. Gagné maintained the top spot with scores of 73.10 and 78.75 on his fifth and sixth dives of the semifinals.
“The semifinals really gave me confidence for the final,” Gagné said. “I would say that normally when I make a World Series final, a podium isn’t impossible but it’s still very very difficult. But I think that winning the semifinal today really gave me confidence for tonight’s final.”
In the final, Gagné maintained his spot atop the podium throughout the six dives finishing with a cumulative score of 471.30. Jack Laugher of Great Britain took silver with 431.05 points and American Mike Hixon finished with 425.65 points for bronze.
Gagné knew he had to nail his final dive to secure the gold.
“I knew that if I nailed the dive, the gold medal was waiting for me,” he said. “Just like I know I can do it. It’s what we do in practice, hundreds of times so that in competition, we’re totally comfortable with it. In the end, you just don’t want to make a little mistake.”
Riendeau and McKay were in second through the first two dives of the mixed 10m synchro platform event, but dropped to third on their third dive and managed to hang on to the bronze medal with a combined score of 306.54 points.
“There were only four teams but all very strong teams so we’re happy with the result,” said Riendeau. “We weren’t able to practice as much as we would have wanted before the event. We only made a few little adjustments before the competition.”
Added McKay: “It was a very positive way to finish the day, I wanted to have fun with Vincent, I wanted to show my fans what I’m capable of doing.”
A total of 71 athletes representing 12 of the world’s top diving nations will perform their best artistic and athletic exploits to earn a spot on the podium and earn a chance to ascend the world rankings this weekend (February 28-March 1) in Montreal.
Last season, Canada won 16 medals on the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series, including 9 bronze, 6 silver, and 1 gold. Since 2007, the FINA Diving World Series has been the premier international circuit for diving with stops in different cities around the world. In 2020, the Diving World Series is featured in Montreal (CAN) Kazan (RUS) and London (GBR).
Full results can be found here: https://www.omegatiming.com/2020/fina-cnsg-diving-world-series-montreal-live-results
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