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Tandem edged by ‘heartbreaking’ 0.36 points at FINA Diving World Cup 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, Feb. 19, 2016 – Philippe Gagné (Montreal, QC) and François Imbeau-Dulac (St-Lazare, QC) saw Canada’s ticket to the Rio Olympics in men’s three-metre synchro vanish just out of reach at the FINA Diving World Cup, finishing seventh on Friday.

Gagné, 18, and Imbeau-Dulac, 25, totalled 391.62 points from their six dives, with the United States’ Sam Dorman and Kristian Ipsen tallying 391.98 to nab sixth place and the last Olympic qualifying berth. Only six spots for Rio 2016 were available since Russia’s Evgenii Kuznetsov and Ilia Zakharov a, who finished 11th,have already qualified.

“We knew it was long shot but it’s still heartbreaking when we were in position to get that spot,” said Mitch Geller, Chief Technical Officer at Diving Plongeon Canada. “We were a lot closer than we expected, they came in strong.”

The Canadian tandem slipped to eighth when they scored 65.10 on their fourth dive, a reverse 3½ somersault. Gagné and Imbeau-Dulac recovered with an 81.90 score on the reverse 1½ somersaults with 3½ twists that they recently added to their repertoire. In the final dives, they received 72.42 points for their forward 2½ somersaults with 2 twists. Minutes later, Dorman and Ipsen scored 77.70 on their reverse 1½ with 3½ twists.

“It’s not uncommon for lots of team to miss a dive, everyone has one they struggle with,” Geller said. “For us it’s the reverse three and a half, it’s a very difficult dive and we didn’t miss terribly. At that point, getting a score of 0.5 higher from one judge would have made all the difference.”

Germany’s Stephan Feck and Patrick Hausding – whom Gagné and Imbeau-Dulac beat for the gold at the FINA Grand Prix Rostock 2016 on Jan. 30 – won with 429.33 points. China’s Yuan Cao and Kai Qin finished second with 419.67 after a miss on their fifth dive.

Jennifer Abel (Montreal, QC) and Pamela Ware (Greenfield Park, QC) compete in women’s 3m synchro on Saturday. The final is at 4:55 p.m. ET and will be streamed by CBC Sports / ICI Radio-Canada.

Roseline Filion (Laval, QC) and Celina Toth (St. Thomas, ON) also compete in the women’s 10m preliminaries. Gagné and Vincent Riendeau (Montreal, QC) also have preliminaries in men’s 10m synchro.

For complete results: