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Diving Canada – Vincent Riendeau and Jennifer Abel crowned champions at 2019 Winter Nationals

VICTORIA – Vincent Riendeau won a thriller on men’s 10-metre while Jennifer Abel posted a decisive victory on women’s three-metre on Saturday at the 2019 Winter Nationals diving competition.

On men’s tower, Riendeau, from Pointe-Claire, Que.,  earned the third best score of his career with 486.50 points. Bryden Hattie of Victoria kept pace with Riendeau until his last dive scoring 460.10 while Nathan Zsombor-Murray of Pointe-Claire, Que., was third at 417.10.

Riendeau placed fourth in the preliminaries with 407.20. In the final, he averaged 8.5’s from the judges on five of his six dives.

‘’I picked up the intensity for the final,’’ said Riendeau, a 2016 Olympian. ‘’I tried a different approach in the prelims and I learned that wasn’t a good idea. In the final, I was able to keep focused on the elements I’d been working on in training such as my entries on my frontward dives.’’

Only 7.20 points separated Riendeau and Hattie heading into the last round.

‘’I didn’t watch the scoreboard but I knew Bryden was diving really well,’’ Riendeau said. ‘’However I’m glad I didn’t know it was that close. That allowed me to stay focused on my own dives.’’

On women’s three-metre, Abel, from Laval, Que.,  finished with big scores on her three last dives to take the Canadian title with 368.55 points. Eloise Bélanger of Montreal was second at 281.01 and Olivia Chamandy of Montreal third at 280.35.

‘’It’s a nice way to head into the Holidays,’’ said Abel, a three-time Olympian who won bronze in 2012. ‘’I was really pleased with how I approached the competition and how I kept my concentration when I was on the board.’’

Abel scored more than 70 total points on four of her five dives including 79.05 on her forward dive with three and half somersaults in the third round.

‘’I’m most happy with my last dive (a back two and half for 76.05 points),’’ said Abel. ‘’It’s a solid dive for me but I have a tendency to lose focus on it and I feel I learned something today with how I executed it.’’

These nationals are part of the qualifying process for the FINA World Championships this summer which in turn are an Olympic qualifying event.

Competition ends Sunday at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

Full results: http://www.issmembership.com/diving/live/schedule.aspx