Saskatoon: Riendeau & Zsombor-Murray punch World Cup ticket
Vincent Riendeau and Nathan Zsombor-Murray secured a spot at the 2020 FINA World Cup (Tokyo, April 21-26, 2020) winning the men’s 10-metre synchronized final with a score of 421.05 on Thursday at the 2020 Winter National Championships in Saskatoon, Sask.
Ethan Pitman and Laurent Gosselin-Paradis finished second posting a score of 403.74 while Rylan Wiens and Bryden Hattie scored 389.49 – good for third.
With their victory at the Shaw Centre, the team of Riendeau and Zsombor-Murray pick up where they left off last season. The pair won the silver medal in the final of the 10m synchro at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru in August.
“It’s fun to see, ‘OK, yeah, we’ve still got it’,” admitted Riendeau, who will celebrate his 23rd birthday on Friday. “We’re always a bit more nervous on the first competition of the year.
“You know you’ve been working a lot on technical stuff and then it comes competition and it’s a whole different game and you have to remember what to do during competition and so it’s a good start to the year and we’re happy with that.”
Zsombor-Murray, 16, of Montreal admitted the nerves entering Thursday’s competition were high given the stakes.
“It was really great for us,” he said. “We were really nervous at the beginning, but once it ended we were really happy with the way we performed. There was a good amount of pressure put on us ‘cause it’s the first step of qualifying for the Olympics. We’re super happy with how it turned out.”
Riendeau, a native of Beaconsfield, Que., and Zsombor-Murray will be Canada’s lone shot at qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in the men’s 10m synchro.
The pair will need a Top 8 finish at the 2020 FINA World Cup in order to have a shot at Olympic qualification.
“Quite excited,” said Riendeau of the shot at Olympic qualifying. “We had World Champs last year to kind of get prepared to see what it’s like during prelims and finals in synchro so I think we learned from that there and we’re going to go at it 100 per cent for this World Cup in Tokyo.”
Prior to the men’s synchro finals, Caeli McKay of Calgary, Alta. took the top spot in the women’s 10m preliminaries. McKay, 20, finished the five rounds of competition with a score of 371.25 surpassing her personal best score of 365.7 set during the 2019 Pan Am Games.
Celina Toth finished in second place scoring 335.6 points. The 27-year-old St. Thomas, Ont. native won gold in the 10m platform event at the Winter Senior Nationals in January 2018.
Elaena Dick of Edmonton, Alta. rounded out the Top 3 with a score of 318.1.
The men’s 3m prelims began Thursday’s competition with CAMO teammates Philippe Gagné and François Imbeau-Dulac, who have already qualified for the 2020 World Cup in men’s 3m synchro, finishing first and second respectively. Cedric Fofana rounded out the Top 3.
“I’m pretty happy with how the season started, especially because of my new dive I’m trying to integrate into my list,” said Gagné. “It didn’t go maybe as good as I would’ve wanted, but it was still a solid dive.”
Gagné, of Ville Mont-Royal, Que., finished the day scoring 462.5 points to finish in the top spot heading into Friday’s 3m final. The 22-year-old finished first in the 3m event at the Winter Senior National Championships in January 2018.
Meanwhile Imbeau-Dulac, a native of St. Lazare, Que., finished Thursday with 443.55 points good for second and Fofana managed to score 402.6 points.
Defending champion Peter Thach Mai of Montreal finished fourth with 397.65 points.
Competition continues on Friday at the Shaw Centre in Saskatoon with the men’s 3m semi-final and final as well as the women’s 10m semi-final and final.
The 2020 Winter National Championships has 44 of the country’s top divers in action with the 2020 Olympic Games just seven months away. In addition to vying for podium finishes and national titles, this competition is the final opportunity for many athletes to qualify for the 2020 FINA World Cup (Tokyo, April 21-26, 2020). The World Cup is the last chance for Canada to secure Olympic quota spots for Tokyo 2020.
Full results can be found here: http://www.issmembership.com/diving/live/schedule.aspx
GET ON BOARD
Have you ever wondered what diving feels like? We fly, and so can you!