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FINA Malaysia Grand Prix – First career Grand Prix medals for Montreal-based training partners


KUCHING, MALAYSIA, October 23, 2016 – In their first women’s 3m synchro competition together, Caeli McKay (Calgary, AB) and Mia Vallée (Montreal, QC) claimed the bronze medal at the FINA Malaysia Grand Prix on Sunday.


McKay and Vallée, who began their synchronized diving partnership only three weeks ago, tallied 273.48 points to earn their first career Grand Prix Medals. At the Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre, China’s Wang Han and Xu Zhihuan won gold with a score of 320.10. Australia’s Jayah Mathews and Georgia Sheehan claimed silver with a score of 277.20.


“I’m pretty impressed with us – we’ve only been diving together for a couple of weeks and we both improved a little bit on our dives today,” said McKay, 17, who recently moved to Montreal to further pursue her diving dream. “The only thing that we missed out on was a couple of entries. Everything was pretty good and we were pretty happy with it.”


Mathews and Sheehan’s margin for the silver stemmed from performing optional dives with a 3.0 degree of difficulty. McKay and Vallée, whose highest DD was 2.8, received only one individual score of less than 6.5 for their inward 2½ somersaults, forward 3½ and reverse 2½.


“We were really happy with our compulsories which haven’t been going too great,” Vallée, age 15, said. “We were consistent on our options.


“It’s only been a couple weeks, but there were no issues with synchronization. Our diving was pretty similar. It was pretty simple and natural.”


Prior to pairing up, each teenager had just a limited taste of synchro. There is a mental adjustment involved with having to not only execute individually, but also mirror the movement of one’s teammate.


“Mia’s competed in synchro in Germany and I’ve done junior worlds, but with different partners, so it was quite a change,” McKay related. “Since I moved to Montreal, we’ve been training together practically every day. We’re starting to get to know each other a lot better. It’s really positive when we work together, because we just want to do it and enjoy ourselves. So while there is pressure at the same time there’s not pressure, because we’re enjoying ourselves.”


Ethan Pitman (Edmonton, AB) withdrew from men’s 10m. China’s Yang Hao won the gold with 546.70 points.


Canada is bringing six divers to the Australia Grand Prix, which begins Friday in Gold Coast. The squad also includes Margo Erlam (Calgary, AB), Peter Thach-Mai (Montreal, QC) and Tyler Roberge (Edmonton, AB).


Par Neate Sager