Triple medal Saturday for Canadian divers at TO2015
Men’s 3m springboard final
It wasn’t looking so great for 17-year-old Philippe Gagné, and then he came up huge.
The Montrealer was miles from the medals heading into his final dive, but jumped from sixth to bronze with a resilient effort. Doubly impressive: Gagné had slid from first-place earlier in the competition and managed to re-locate his form.
It is the first senior games medal for Gagné. “Even if my fifth dive didn’t go as well I knew that my last dive, I was able to do it all the time in competition,” said Gagné, who also won a bronze medal at last summer’s Youth Olympic Games. “After missing a dive like that it’s very hard for a diver to re-group mentally and do something great, he did it this time,” commented Gagné’s coach Aaron Dziver.
Gagné’s score of 421.20 points was fewer than two Mexican competitors; Rommel Pacheco won the event with 483.35 points while his teammate Jahir Ocampo was second-place with 442.15 points.
“I was really confident going into that last dive” – Philippe Gagné
Similar to synchronized swimming earlier in the day, the Pan Am Aquatics Centre had a healthy Canadian turnout, “I felt the energy of the crowd every dive, even if I missed a dive I could hear the crowd cheering for me. It was really insane and incredible,” said Gagné. Saint-Lazare, Quebec’s François Imbeau-Dulac finished sixth.
Women’s 10m platform final
Hoping to win Canada a Rio 2016 berth, training partners Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito fell short, ending up second and third respectively.
Mexico’s Paola Espinosa won the event by scoring 383.20 points and earned her country the Rio 2016 ticket allotted to each individual event. Filion tempered the disappointment, “If I’m able to manage the pressure of diving at home with a huge crowd I can really conquer anything,” she said after receiving her silver medal. “I can’t complain, I dove really well today.” Filion’s total of 377.60 was only two-points fewer than she scored to win this season’s London World Series event.
In a 10m platform final, the athletes do five dives; Benfeito’s fourth let her down, “We know that we can do way better than that, we know that we both could have won the event,” she said. The two will re-group for the synchronized event on Monday.
Diving continues on Sunday at the Pan Am Aquatics Centre with the other half of the ‘FAB IV’, Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware, entered in 3m springboard. Vincent Riendeau and Maxim Bouchard will take on the men’s tower (10m).