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Diving – MONTREAL – Nathan Zsombor-Murray, the 14-year-old from Pointe-Claire, Que., who made a big impression last week at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, won gold on boys platform on Friday at the 2017 Junior Elite Nationals.
Zsombor-Murray, fifth in the mixed synchro 10-m with Meaghan Benfeito at the worlds, earned 484.45 points in his victory in the 14-15 age group event on Friday. Thomas Ciprik of Pointe-Claire was second at 456.50 and Dylan Ewing of Etobicoke, Ont., third at 413.40.
‘’I had absolutely no clue how I was going to fare today,’’ said Zsombor-Murray. ‘’I was feeling super exhausted when I arrived here Monday and my practices were not going well and I was getting pretty nervous.’’
His best dive was a back three and half for 9.0’s and 9.5’s in the second round and he earned marks as high as 8.5 on his final two dives.
‘’I was very pleased with my performance,’’ he said. ‘’My last three dives were my highlight especially the back three and half. I’m certainly looking forward to increasing the difficulty of my dives for next season.’’
The teenager is starting to realize how special it was to be the youngest diver at the worlds.
‘’When I was there I didn’t feel I was as sharp as I could have been,’’ he said. ‘’But now getting back home and realizing ‘Holy crap’ I just went to worlds and got a fifth I’m really happy with it. It was very beneficial for me to see all those amazing divers at a young age and realizing what level I will have to be at in the future. It will give me an advantage.’’
This weekend’s competition is a qualifier for the Junior Pan Am Championships September 28 to October 1 in Victoria and also a final tune-up for many divers for the Canada Games which start next week in Winnipeg.
Mia Vallée of Beaconsfield, Que., and Henry McKay of Ottawa took the 16-18 age group titles on women’s three-metre and men’s one metre.
On women’s three-metre, Vallée won gold with 512.80 points. Ashley McCool of Calgary was second at 495.45 and Aimee Wilson of Calgary third at 487.85.
‘’It’s the first time I’ve done all my optionals consistently well in competition,’’ said Vallée, 16, a gold medallist in the event at the last Junior Pan Ams in 2015. ‘’That was a big step for me because usually I miss at least one.’’
On men’s one-metre, McKay made a big improvement on last year’s fifth place finish to take the gold at 498.40. Victor Povzner of Markham, Ont., was second at 493.80 and Bryden Hattie of Victoria third at 481.15.
‘’I had a great week of practices and felt confident going into the event,’’ said McKay, 17, vying for a fourth consecutive appearance at the Junior Pan Ams this weekend. ‘’My difficult dives were really consistent and then on my twister dive to finish I knew what I had to do.’’
On women’s 14-15 platform, Margo Erlam of Calgary was first at 359.40, Mélodie Leclerc of Montreal second at 359.15 and Erin Field of Pointe-Claire third at 333.70
‘’I’ve never been involved in such a close competition,’’ said Erlam. ‘’It was important to stay clam, follow my coach’s instructions and do the best I can. That last dive was the most pressure I had all day and I was so please I nailed it.’’
Competition continues through to Sunday at the Claude-Robillard Centre.
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