Diving Canada – A Successful Comeback for Celina Toth
|Three Canadians Qualify for Finals in Calgary|
Calgary, June 9, 2022 – Celina Toth made her comeback in grand style on Thursday, the opening day of the FINA Diving Grand Prix – Canada Cup in Calgary. Despite a nine-month hiatus, followed by a condensed preparation period, the British Columbian delivered a performance worthy of her own high standards on the 10-metre platform and advanced to the final, which will take place this Saturday.
In her first competition since the Tokyo Olympics, where she placed 23rd last summer, Toth quickly regained her bearings. She started off the day on a high note with a second-place finish in the preliminary round, then secured her spot in the final by once again placing second in the semi-final, with 284.10 points.
“I wasn’t sure how my body would react after such a long break and with so little preparation, but all in all, it went well. My main goal was to find my comfort zone again and do my best to advance to the final, so I’m happy with my result,” said Toth, who resumed her training only six weeks ago.
It is now crucial for Toth to recuperate, so she will do a light workout on Friday to prepare for the tough final ahead. She will be up against Brazil’s Ingrid Oliveira, the only competitor to beat her in the semi-final with 306.00 points, and Great Britain’s Lois Toulson, the top competitor in the second group, with 326.90 points.
While she admits that a podium finish would be a welcome result, Toth will focus mainly on improving her execution, without putting unnecessary pressure on herself.
“Honestly, I don’t really know what to expect, and I definitely don’t want to put too much emphasis on the results,” said the 30-year-old veteran. “I’m feeling more and more comfortable, but I know there are several aspects of my diving that can still be improved. This will be my last event of the weekend, so I just want to enjoy it!”
Also competing in the women’s 10m platform event were Katelyn Fung (London, ON), Kate Miller (Ottawa, ON), Renee Batalla (Victoria, BC) and Julianne Boisvert (Mirabel, QC), none of whom qualified for the final round, which is reserved for the top three athletes in each semi-final.
Fung finished fourth in her pool with 255.05 points, while Miller (282.75) and Batalla (257.00) placed fourth and sixth, respectively, in the second group. Boisvert finished 11th in the preliminaries, but was not able to compete in the semi-finals, which were limited to a maximum of four Canadians.
Consistency Leads Bryden Hattie to Final
British Columbia’s Bryden Hattie and Saskatchewan’s Bjorn Markentin are the only two Canadian men who will compete in the 3m springboard final.
After placing fourth in the preliminaries, Hattie maintained his momentum in the A semi-final, scoring 393.60 points to earn a third-place finish in his pool and a berth in the much-coveted final round.
“My goal was to be consistent, without worrying about my result. I set myself a comfortable pace in the preliminary rounds, and I used the break to focus on recreating that in the semi-final. I was a bit more nervous, but I was able to regain my composure and perform even better than in the preliminaries,” said the 20-year-old, who is participating in his first Grand Prix 3m springboard event.
“I had competed internationally in the 10m platform in the past, but last summer, I decided to try the springboard. These days, I train for both, and I’m happy with my progress!”
The diver from Victoria will be back in the water Saturday on what promises to be a busy day, with two finals to look forward to. His first competition of the day will be the mixed 3m synchronized final with partner Margo Erlam (Saskatoon, SK), followed by the men’s springboard final.
“I’m super excited! It will be an exhausting day, so my objective will be to concentrate on one dive at a time. Margo and I only started diving together a few days ago, so this will be a great opportunity for us to learn to work together while having some fun. Then, I’ll focus all my remaining energy on the men’s final and hope for the best possible result,” he concluded.
Bjorn Markentin of Saskatoon will also compete in the men’s 3m final, thanks to his second-place finish in the B semi-final, where he earned 382.40 points, behind Great Britain’s Jordan Houlden, who scored 422.80.
Jamaica’s Yona Knight-Wisdom, Brazil’s Rafael Fogaca and Britain’s Daniel Goodfellow will round out the field.
Meanwhile, Montréalers Cedric Fofana and Laurent Gosselin-Paradis saw their days come to an end in the semi-finals.
Fofana, who had dominated in the preliminary rounds, was unable to replicate his performance and finished fifth in his pool, with 367.60 points. Gosselin-Paradis finished fourth in the other pool, with 355.30 points.
The action resumes on Friday morning at the MNP Community & Sport Centre, with the women’s 3m preliminaries and semi-finals, as well as the men’s 10m platform.
Margo Erlam, Olivia Chamandy (Montréal, QC), Mia Vallée (Beaconsfield, QC), Pamela Ware (Montréal, QC) and Aimee Wilson (Calgary, AB) will compete in the women’s event, while their compatriots Matt Cullen (Rosemère, QC), Carson Paul (Victoria, BC), Benjamin Tessier (Blainville, QC), Rylan Wiens (Saskatoon, SK) and Nathan Zsombor-Murray (Pointe-Claire, QC) will participate in the men’s.
A total of 68 athletes from eight countries are in Calgary to take part in the FINA Diving Grand Prix – Canada Cup, which will continue until Sunday. For more information about the event, or to view the results, click here.
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