Montreal : Two silver medals for Canada on the opening day
Meaghan Benfeito and Caeli McKay turned in a silver medal from a surprising opening event at Canada’s own FINA Diving World Series in Montreal on Friday.
Benfeito, a three-time Olympic medallist, and McKay, from Calgary, put together a new best score of 328.47 points in the women’s 10m synchro to finish just 1.23 points behind North Korea’s Kim Mi Rae and Jo Jin Mi.
For the first time this Diving World Series season, a Chinese team didn’t win, ending their run of 20 straight gold medals through the first two events.
Lu Wei and Zhang Jiaqi of China were the bronze medallists with 320.64 points.
Montreal’s Benfeito was thrilled, “I’m extremely happy with how things went today. It was our time to show what we were able to do in our home pool,” said the 30-year-old.
The pair tried out a new, more difficult dive list at the Canada Cup Diving Grand Prix in Calgary earlier this month, in preparation for this weekend. Part of this was adding a back three-and-a-half instead of a front three-and-a-half to their repertoire.
“I’m happy. Back three-and-a-half was a risk, but it paid off. Meaghan and I are really a team now,” said the 19-year-old McKay.
In the men’s 10m synchro Olympian Vincent Riendeau, 22, and Nathan Zsombor-Murray, who turns 16 years-of-age on Sunday, were fourth-place with 397.71 points.
China’s Yang Hao and Lian Junjie corrected course for their country by winning the event with a score of 464.52 points.
Canada’s women provided another silver medal in the women’s 3m synchro, with Olympian Jennifer Abel, 27, and world championships team member Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu scoring 306.27 points, finishing behind China’s Shi Tingmao and Wang Han who collected 327.00 points.
Australia’s Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith were third with 303.39 points.
“I made a mistake on the second dive, so I’m happy that we were able to come back strong and did not let this affect us,” said Abel, from Laval, Que., “The energy from the crowd really did make a difference for me today, it gave me a boost of adrenaline and I really wanted to do well here, at home.”
Citrini-Beaulieu had the 2020 Olympics on her mind, “These are the girls that we will be competing against in Tokyo, so getting that second position means a lot for us,” said the 23-year-old, “The feeling of competing at home is hard to describe. I feel relieved to finish with a silver medal.”
Canadian Olympians Philippe Gagné and François Imbeau-Dulac came up short in the men’s 3m springboard, finishing fifth with a score of 409.11 points.
China’s Cao Yuan and Xie Siyi were first-place with a score of 457.14 points.
The Montreal FINA Diving World Series continues Saturday featuring Victoria’s Celina Toth and Benfeito in the women’s 10m platform. Gagné and Imbeau-Dulac will contest the men’s 3m springboard, before Benfeito and Zsombor-Murray will try their luck in the mixed 10m platform.
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