Wednesday, July 17, 2019
GWANGJU, SOUTH KOREA -- Divers Caeli McKay and Meaghan Benfeito have secured two spots for Canada in the women's 10metre platform event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
McKay finished third in the semi-final on Tuesday at the world aquatics championships, while Benfeito was fourth. The top 12 advanced to the final and secured Olympic quota spots for their respective countries.
McKay, from Calgary, had 356.70 points, while Montreal's Benfeito notched 340.60.
"Today was a very positive day for me. One of my main goals was to show my strength as an individual diver," McKay said.
China's Yuxi Chen (407.95 points) and Wei Lu (370.85) were first and second, respectively.
The final is scheduled for Wednesday.
The pair finished fourth and missed qualifying for an Olympic spot by 0.81 points in Sunday's synchro competition. Only the top three finishers in synchro events are accepted for Tokyo 2020.
"After my synchro event, I wanted to come back strong and open a spot for my country at the Olympics. I am very proud to have done that," MacKay said. "I am pleased with my performance and I know what I need to improve for tomorrow's final."
Benfeito has won three Olympic bronze medals in her career.
McKay won silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
"Semis were a little bit rough.
The last dives weren't exactly how I wanted them to be, but the goal was to make the final to open the spot for the Olympics and that's what we did," Benfeito said. "Obviously, we're going to take it up a notch tomorrow for the final."
Elsewhere, China's golden run continued when it won the mixed-team event diving final.
Lin Shan and Yang Jian won with a total of 416.65 points and didn't face a strong challenge on their way to victory.
It was China's first gold in the mixed-team event - involving three- and 10-metre dives - since it was introduced at the world swimming championships in 2015.
"I only knew I would compete in this event one week ago," said Yang, men's 10-metre platform bronze medalist in Budapest two years ago. "We did not have time to train together. The most important thing was to show our best in the competition."
Three-time youth Olympic champion Lin was scared of the competition when she was young, "but I am not any more."
"I tried to adjust my breath and told myself to relax. It was my first world title and also first for China in this event, I was proud of that," Lin said.
Russian pair Yulia Timoshinina and Sergey Nazin took silver with 390.05, followed by Andrew Capobianco and Katrina Young of the United States with 357.60.
The best result for China until Tuesday in the mixed-team event was a bronze medal in 2015 by Chen Ruolin and Xie Siyi.
THE CANADIAN PRESS, WITH REPORTS FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
'Semis were a little bit rough,' said Olympian Meaghan Benfeito, who finished fourth in the 10-metre platform with a score of 340.60 on Tuesday in Gwangju, South Korea. 'But the goal was to make the final to open the spot for the Olympics and that's what we did,' she added.