Philippe Gagné unlocks Rio 2016 men’s 3m berth; 10m men’s synchro team just short
Diving Canada – RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, Feb. 21, 2016 – Roseline Filion (Montreal, QC) continued her courageous comeback from a broken ankle with an sixth-place finish in women’s 10-m platform on Sunday.
Filion, who was injured in training on Dec. 17, was not initially slated to compete at the Olympic test event. However, after only taking her dives up to the platform recently, her form gradually improved across two days of competition. Filion, staying mindful of the lingering pain in her affected foot by keeping to a safe program, tallied 323.35 points. Celina Toth (St. Thomas, ON), who made a great leap forward by making the final of her first FINA Diving World Cup, was 12th with 278.40.
“ I started diving at our camp in Brasilia two weeks ago,” related Filion . “Coming here I wasn’t sure I was going to be to compete, but our team manager invited me since I’ve been around for so long and it would be good for me to see the Olympic pool. But I didn’t expect to be able to do my dives. I modified one because I still have pain in my ankle.
“But as the days were going by, I was getting treatment every day and every day I was just a little bit better. I really wanted to give it a try. We were missing one spot and I really wanted to get that second spot for Canada.”
Toth and Filion ensured that Diving Plongeon Canada finished the day on a positive note. Emerging teenage talent Philippe Gagné (Montreal, QC) unlocked a Rio 2016 berth for Canada by virtue of being in 15th place after the men’s 3m preliminary. Gagné and Vincent Riendeau (Montreal, QC) came 10 points shy of getting Canada into Olympic men’s 10m synchro, finishing seventh.
“You could not say it was anything less than heroic,” Diving Plongeon Canada chief technical director Mitch Geller said of Filion’s effort. “That is her M.O., to give more than anyone expects. We were joking about it – that she was in peak shape at World Championships and missed the final and now she struggled through training camp, bringing one dive up to 10-metre a day, a lot of tears and frustration, and she comes away with a sixth place which is pretty special.
“It was really touch and go whether Roseline was going to dive at all,” Geller added. “We brought her here just expecting to get some training. She started doing well and we made the decision to pull Meg [Meaghan Benfeito] and put her in and let the chips fall where they may.”
Gagné and Riendeau finished with 417.06 points in 10m synchro, about 11 points adrift of the last two teams that secured Olympic berths for their countries, Russia’s Roman Izmailov and Victor Minibaev (428.46) and Ukraine’s Maksym Dolgov and Oleksandr Gorshkovozov (427.35),. Gagné and Riendeau, after a 45-minute rain delay, received 88.74 on a reverse 3½ somersault with their fifth dive, then finished by receiving 78.72 for a back 2½ with 1½ twists.
“It’s always tough when you miss by a whisker, but they have come so far,” Geller said. “Six months ago at the world championship they were 14th and moved up to seventh, now. We are still really focusing on their individual potential and as that grows their synchro should grow with it. We’re very, very proud of the boys … they are growing by leaps and bounds every day. They are a lot closer than we thought.”
Earlier, Gagné, finished with 410.75 points in the men’s 3-m to move on to Monday’s semifinal, and potentially the final. François Imbeau-Dulac (St-Lazare, QC) was 25th with 380.30.
Jennifer Abel (Montreal, QC) and Pamela Ware (Greenfield Park, QC) compete in the women’s 3m preliminary. The men’s 3m final will be webcast by CBC / ICI Radio-Canada.