MONTREAL -- Two-time Olympic silver medallist Alexandre Despatie and Roseline Filion, both of Laval, Que., topped their respective semifinal heats to advance to finals on Friday at the Canada Cup Grand Prix diving competition.
The competition is one of the last opportunities for Canadians to earn qualifying points before the Olympic trials at the end of the month in Montreal.
On men's three-metre, Despatie saw a least one 9.0 appear on four of his six dives in the final to total 481.20 points. Javier Illana of Spain was second at 451.10 and Huang Qiang of Malaysia third at 424.85. The top-three in both semis advance to Sunday's final.
"I was average in the prelims but improved my performance in the semi," said Despatie, at his first competition since early March. `'This is a process right now for me and I'm taking it step by step to get my confidence high."
In the other semi, Francois Imbeau-Dulac of St-Lazare, Que., placed second to also earn a spot in the final six. He totalled 445.80 while Ethan Warren of Australia posted the best score of the day at 491.90. It included a 100.70 point score for his forward dive which has a degree of difficulty on 3.8.
Not to be outdone, Imbeau-Dulac showed off his twisting dive in the last round which has a 3.9 DD. Only a handful of other divers in the world execute that dive. His marks ranged from 6.5 to 8.0.
"I was really solid today," said Imbeau-Dulac, who is the hunt for one of the two Olympic spots for Canada on men's three-metre. "I was really in my zone in the semifinal. That was the first time I executed the twisting dive in an international competition and only the second time overall. It was really improved today."
On women's 10-metre, Filion stood first in her semi heat at 332.50. Melissa Wu of Australia was second at 330.75 and Stacie Powell of Britain third at 306.40.
"I would have liked to have the second and third dives back," said Filion. `'The third dive probably cost me a chance to reach 350 points and get some qualifying points for the trials."
Rachel Kemp of Victoria was fifth in the other semi and did not advance.