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Diving Plongeon Canada – What were you doing the summer after your 14th birthday?

For Canada’s Nathan Zsombor-Murray, today was a big day.

The 14-year-old made his FINA World Championships debut as he and Olympian Meaghan Benfeito finished fifth in the mixed synchronized 10-metre platform in Budapest, Hungary.

Zsombor-Murray is the youngest diver at 2017 FINA Worlds.

“For my first worlds, getting fifth, I’m super, super happy about that.” said Zsombor-Murray.

“It was amazing, it was like a dream come true for me.”

The Pointe-Claire, Que. native was exposed to all the pomp and circumstance of a world championships, including the dramatic march-outs, television cameras, and crowd.

But when the noise subsided, Zsombor-Murray and Benfeito were steady on the tower in their first competition together.

Though not without some first-time jitters, “I got up there and was like, ‘What if I fail?’, ‘What if I land on my back?’,” said Zsombor-Murray about his first dive.

“I was thinking of all the things that could have happened and I just went for the dive.”

The Canadians scored 307.80 points to finish fifth out of 16 teams. They were only 10 points away from a bronze medal.

The Chinese team of Qian Ren and Junjie Lian won the gold medal, registering a score of 352.98 points.

The competition brought back a lot of memories for Benfeito, who competed in her first world championships, in her hometown of Montreal, as a teenager back in 2005.

“I started laughing because I know what it feels like being that young and having something so big,” said Benfeito, who shared a laugh with Zsombor-Murray during their smoke-encircled march-out, under the spotlights, before the event.

“He did a very good job of staying calm and doing what he had to do,” said Benfeito.

In the men’s synchro 3-metre springboard, Philippe Gagné, 19, and François Imbeau-Dulac, 26, finished in ninth place with 390.06 points.

The pair were fourth after the preliminaries, “We both made a couple of mistakes unfortunately,” said Imbeau-Dulac, from St. Lazare, Que.

“We wish we dove the same way we did this morning.”

With an impressive final dive, Russia’s Evgenii Kuznetsov and Ilia Zakharov won the competition with 450.30 points, beating the Chinese team of Yuan Cao and Siyi Xie.  

Gagné has been dealing with a lower back injury, suffered at the Kazan Diving World Series in the spring, but didn’t feel pain today.

“My body’s been doing pretty good actually, the last few days,” said the native of Ville Mont-Royal, Que.

“I’m going to need my whole body for individual in a couple of days.”

Both men will compete the individual springboard later in the competition.

The 2017 FINA Worlds continue on Sunday with Benfeito and her teammate, Caeli McKay, competing in the women’s synchro 10-metre platform.

Detailed results are available through:

http://omegatiming.com/Sport?sport=AQ

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For more information:
Maelle Dancause
Manager, Public Relations
Diving Plongeon Canada
C: 514-475-4540 | maelle@diving.ca