Friendly Rivalry Yields Results
Montréal, July 14, 2023 – Luc Goertzen (Calgary) and Arnaud Corbeil (CAMO) may be rivals when it comes to diving, but outside of the water, they’re good friends. And their friendly rivalry drives them both to push themselves ever further, as was the case once again in the Group B 3-metre final at the Montréal Junior National Diving Festival.
At Parc Jean-Drapeau on Friday, the two divers waged a heated battle, which was ultimately won by Goertzen, who was thrilled to claim his first medal of the week.
“I’m really happy with how I did in the final. In the qualifiers, I didn’t dive as well as I would have liked, so I’m glad I was able to do better in the final,” said the Albertan, moments after his win.
“Arnaud is my best friend, and I know it will always be tough to win when he’s competing. We push each other to be better, and I think that benefits us both equally,” he added.
Goertzen finished the day with a total of 460.95 points, while his best friend earned the silver medal with 456.05. Sam McCaffrey (PCDC) joined them on the podium with 449.10 points.
“My team was behind me all day. I felt supported and encouraged, which definitely made a difference and enabled me to go after the gold medal,” concluded Goertzen.
In the boys’ Group D 1-metre springboard event, Oleksandr Sakun (ESPDC), originally of Ukraine, dominated the final round with an excellent dive that left his opponents speechless.
“I really didn’t expect to win the gold medal today (Friday)! Things went really well, and I’m very proud of my performance. I stayed focused, and that’s what made the difference. My last dive was one of my best of the day,” said the new champion.
Given that Sakun was diving as a guest at the Junior National Festival, he shared the top step of the podium with Manitoba’s Gabriel Brombach (Revolution). Owen Dansereau (Nepean) and Elliott Grange (Boardworks) claimed the silver and bronze medals.
Alexandra Wood (iDive), last year’s silver medallist in the girls’ Group C 1-metre event, made it clear she would be leaving with gold in the same event this year.
“I’m very, very proud. I took it one dive at a time, and it paid off. I was a lot less nervous than I was last year, and with all the experience I’ve gained over the past few months, I was more in control today,” she said.
The British Columbian racked up a total of 297.25 points to finish in first place, ahead of Windsor, Ontario’s Jocelyn Casey, who earned a final score of 289.85. Daniela Iasinska (CAMO) completed the podium.
Nikos Tzanatskis (Boardworks) felt a certain amount of pressure going into the boys’ Group C 10-metre final, knowing he was competing against several excellent divers. Once he was at the top of the platform at Parc Jean-Drapeau, however, the pressure fell away, and he cruised straight to the top of the podium.
“It’s amazing to have won the gold medal. I was really nervous before the final. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to win. But I calmed myself down, and I felt better and better with each dive,” explained Tzanatskis, who earned a total of 307.35 points in the final.
Tzanatskis edged out Eloi Houle (CAMO), who finished second with 299.95 points, and Chase Shaw (Calgary), who finished third with 281.05.
Tzanatskis’ work is far from over, however. He will be back in action on Saturday, hoping to win a second gold medal in the 1-metre springboard event.
“My specialty is really the platform, but I’m getting more and more comfortable on the springboard. I’d love to get onto the podium again, but my main goal is to feel good about my dives,” he concluded.
In the girls’ Group D 3-metre springboard event, two gold medals were awarded. Yolanda Yiyao Xie and Maia Jane, both of the iDive Diving Academy in Vancouver, shared the top spot on the podium. Xie was competing as a guest, which is why two gold medals were awarded.
Sara-Jade Tessier (Envol) and Jade Leclerc (ARO) finished second and third, respectively.
The final was originally scheduled for late Thursday, but tornado warnings forced the organizers to postpone the competition until Friday.
Four finals are scheduled on Saturday at the Junior National Diving Festival in Montréal: the boys’ Group D platform and Group C 1-metre events, and the girls’ Group D platform and Group C 3-metre springboard events.
For the complete schedule or to view the competition, click here.
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