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Diving Plongeon Canada –

Sunday was a surreal day for 18 year-old Caeli McKay.

The Calgarian finished a solid eighth-place in her FINA Diving World Series debut in the women’s 10m platform event, in Beijing, China.

“Growing up watching the Olympics and everything, a lot of the people that I was watching as I was growing up are still diving and they’re at these events,” said McKay.

Diving World Series events often include a similar field to a world championships or Olympic Games.

“Just being at the competition where you’re at the calibre with these people was somewhat unbelievable,” said McKay, who scored 329.20 points in her semifinal.

McKay has been doing the 10m synchro platform with Meaghan Benfeito for over a year, the pair were fifth on Friday, but Sunday was McKay’s first shot at the individual 10m platform at a Diving World Series event.

“I’m starting to get a little more comfortable and feel like I’m a little bit more at home especially with a performance like today,” said McKay, “I gave myself a little bit more confidence based on the fact I can dive to this calibre.”

McKay also managed to edge her synchro partner, Benfeito scored 311.80 points in the same semifinal and finished 10th overall with a rare missed final for the Olympic medallist. 

McKay laughed at the idea of gaining good-natured bragging rights, at least for the time being.

“It’s all about competition right,” said McKay, “No matter if we’re friends or not everyone always wants to beat the other but I mean whatever happens happens and we just have to do our best on the day.”

The fact Benfeito was even on 10m this weekend is somewhat remarkable.

The 29 year-old Olympian returned to the platform only three weeks ago, having overcome a combination of neck-area injuries over the past few months. But she was hurt upon her return to training and is now diving with a tricep injury.

“I’m quite pleased with the fact that I was able to compete,” said the Montrealer, “With everything that’s been happening I did a pretty good list, obviously it’s not as solid as I should be but I’m happy I pushed through the pain and I’m looking forward to next week and I’m slowly getting better and healthier.”

It’s all good practice for Canada’s Commonwealth Games flag-bearer. 

“Not very many people throughout their career get to be flag bearer so I really appreciate it,” said Benfeito.

“It’s an honour, and I think just being there at Commonwealth Games and being the leader of an amazing Canadian team that’s going to be walking in to the opening ceremony is already going to motivate me even more.”

The Canadian national diving team now heads to Fuji, Japan for FINA Diving World Series #2, set to take place March 15 to 17.

Full results: http://omegatiming.com/Competition?id=0001120000FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF&sport=AQ&year=2018  

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For more information:

Maelle Dancause

Manager, Communications

Diving Plongeon Canada

C: 514-475-4540 | maelle@diving.ca