Canadian divers win three medals at Canada Cup

Jennifer Lukas, CTVOlympics.ca
5/5/2012 5:44:31 PM
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Canada's divers earned three medals on the first day of finals at the Canada Cup in Montreal, winning a gold and two silver medals on Saturday.

Olympians Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion led the charge, winning gold in the women's synchronized 10-metre platform by just over one point. The pair's final 327.96 score was its second highest of the year.

"Coming in today with the win in front of family and friends in Montreal is the best feeling," said Filion, who grew up in Laval, Que. "It was a really close call at the end, our last dive really saved us in that situation. But overall, I'm really really excited about this performance. The points were really high even though we made a few mistakes."

Compatriots Carol-Ann and Pamela Ware -- sisters from Beloeil, Que., -- finished just behind with 326.28 points but due to FINA rules that prohibit two teams from the same country from landing on the podium at a Grand Prix competition, they did not collect a medal.

Despite finishing almost 10 points behind the Wares, Australians Loudy Wiggins and Rachel Bugg were bumped up to a silver medal with 316.86 points. Chinese divers Kang Li and Sheng Yi were third with 315.18.

Pamela Ware bounced back in the individual 3m final, finishing second for a second time that day -- and this time, she earned her silver medal.

"I didn't get the points I wanted but I'm still really happy," Ware said. "It's my first Grand Prix (individual) final ever, so that was really exciting."

Ware scored 333.75, almost 7.5 points off her personal best -- 341.30, a score that helped Ware to a fourth-place finish at February's World Cup. But despite her previous international experience, Ware still found her nerves were frayed ahead of Saturday competition.

"I was kind of scared getting into the final since it is my first one and I didn't know how people would dive," Ware explained. "I'm really excited now that I saw that I'm up there with them. I felt really great, and a little more confident, too."

Teammate and three-time Olympic medallist Émilie Heymans was not so fortunate. Heymans, in a points race with Ware to pick up the last women's 3m spot on Canada's Olympic team, finished fifth with just 295.35 points. A missed dive in the second round was the culprit, and it took the 30-year-old veteran out of contention entirely.

Although Heymans was able to bounce back to finish the competition with three strong dives, she told CTVOlympics.ca that she was disappointed with her performance.

"I still made a really big mistake, which shouldn't happen," she said. "I rarely do that in training so it's a little upsetting that it happened in competition."

Heymans, who trained in both the 10m and 3m events before focusing exclusively on the 10m platform for the 2008 Olympic Games, switched back to the 3m in 2009. She has enjoyed some success at the height, including a silver medal at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. This season, however, she has struggled to earn a single individual medal.

Heymans will have another shot at the podium in Sunday's synchronized 3m competition with diving partner Jennifer Abel.

In the men's synchronized 3m event, Alexandre Despatie of Laval and Reuben Ross of Regina, Sask., finished second with 419.58 points -- matching their highest international score as a synchronized pair this year -- to earn silver behind Malaysia's Bryan Nickson Lomas and Huang Qiang.

Lomas and Qiang scored over eighty points on three of their six dives to win gold with a total of 431.10, while Rommel Pacheco and Jonathan Rovalcaba of Mexico earned bronze with 388.71.

Despatie will be back in action on Sunday in the men's individual 3m final, where he has said he may debut his newest and most difficult dive, the forward 4.5 somersault.

In the men's 10m competition, also Saturday, Victoria's Riley McCormick just missed out on a bronze medal, finishing fourth with 478.75 points. Mexico's Andres Villarreal was first with 512 -- edging Jose Guerra of Cuba by just under two points -- while Jenkler Aguirre, also of Cuba, was third with 480.50.

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.

The Canada Cup continues Sunday with the men's individual 3m springboard, the women's synchronized 3m springboard, the women's individual 10m platform and the men's synchronized 10m platform finals.

Benfeito and Filion (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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