Montreal: three medals to kick-off the FINA Diving World Series
Meaghan Benfeito and Caeli McKay took home gold in the synchronized 10m platform event while Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu finished atop the podium in the women’s 3m synchro springboard event on Friday in Montreal at the first stop in the FINA/CNSG Diving World Series season.
On the men’s side, Vincent Riendeau and Nathan Zsombor-Murray captured bronze in the 10m synchronized platform event.
Benfeito (Montreal, QC) and McKay (Calgary, AB) finished with a cumulative score of 313.02, which was enough to top Malaysia’s Mun Yee Leong and Pandelela Pamg who finished second with a combined score of 297.66 points. Russia’s Ekaterina Beliaeva and Iuliia Timoshinina took home a bronze medal with 288.30 points.
“Being on the top is always awesome,” said McKay. “The Malaysians have been one of our biggest rivals, along with China, for a really long time so being able to step on the top of the podium – even though the Chinese aren’t here, it’s still a really good day for us beating them.”
After falling into third place following their third dive, Benfeito and McKay were able to bounce back with their highest scoring attempt to that point on their fourth dive (73.26), which moved them into first place for the first time.
They were able to top their fourth dive with a score of 76.80 on their fifth and final dive of the day to secure the gold medal.
“I haven’t competed since PanAms so it was a little stressful but we pulled it off,” said Benfeito. “The only thing we need to work on is our individual dives so I think that’s what we’re going to go back to training and work on. So I think we’re at the right place, at the right moment right now.”
Abel (Laval, QC) and Citrini-Beaulieu (St-Constant, QC) led wire to wire at the Olympic Park Sports Centre in Montreal finishing with a combined score of 298.83 capturing the gold medal.
“This gives me a ton of confidence but I think it’s important to mention that we’re working on a lot of stuff, particularly our elegance in the air and today, we delivered,” said Abel. “It’s hard to get back into competition and not fall back into your old patterns, we didn’t do that today and that was a highlight.”
Mexico’s Paola Espinosa Sanchez and Melany Torres (286.20) won silver and Russia’s Kristina Ilinykh and Mariia Poliakova (285.60) finished with a bronze.
“I got chills. It was the first World Series gold medal for me,” Citrini-Beaulieu added. “That’s an exceptional result for me to achieve that. I really took in the moment and I am really proud of our team. We do all of this together, for the right reasons so it’s even sweeter to find ourselves here and to have this result.”
On the men’s side, Riendeau (Montreal, QC) and Zsombor-Murray (Pointe-Claire, QC) were second through the first two dives with scores of 51.00 and 99.00 respectively in the 10m synchronized platform event. The Canadians moved into the top spot with a score of 176.76 on their third dive, but could not sustain it.
“We plan our list according to our own skills, preference and stability with each dive,” said Riendeau with respect to the pair’s dive list. “We pick a dive we are both conformable and both stable in.”
Riendeau and Zsombor-Murray scored 252.60 on their fourth dive to drop to second and maintained that spot on their fifth dive with a score of 327.84, but fell into the bronze medal position on their final dive scoring 407.76 points.
The 407.76 points scored is a new best for the pair.
Russia’s Aleksandr Bodnar and Viktor Minibaev took the gold while Mexico’s Kevin Berlin Reyes and Ivan Garcia Navarro finished in second.
“I think a result like this gives us confidence for the World Cup because we’ll be competing against these guys and all of them are vying for an Olympic berth for their country: Mexico, the US and Australia still haven’t earned their spot yet,” said Riendeau. “Those are our biggest competitors and it’s great to see that we’re in the mix, and that we can perform well. The Mexicans beat us today but it was so close, it was close from beginning to end. We know we can be there and we are going to try and qualify for the Games by beating these guys.”
In the men’s 3m springboard event François Imbeau-Dulac (St-Lazare, QC) and Philippe Gagné (Ville Mont-Royal) just missed the podium finishing with a combined score of 380.19 points.
Imbeau-Dulac and Gagné finished fourth behind Mexico’s Yahel Castillo Huerta and Juan Manuel Celaya Hernandez who took bronze on a cumulative score of 407.22.
“I think I made a mistake that I could have avoided in my fifth dive,” said Imbeau-Dulac. “But today was more about breaking the ice, which we’ve done. But honestly, I would have loved to have been more consistent with my hurdles since I have been working very hard on those since the beginning of the year but I think it’s just a question of refocusing on the little technical details and it’s all going to come.”
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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