CALGARY'S CAELI MCKAY A PROMISING FIFTH AGAINST EXPERIENCED
MADRID GRAND PRIX FIELD IN HER FIRST SENIOR INTERNATIONAL FINAL
Four young Canadian divers getting valuable international exposure this weekend
Madrid, January 15, 2016 – Canada's Caeli McKay (Calgary, AB), by far the youngest woman in the 3m springboard final at the FINA Diving Grand Prix on Friday, placed fifth in her first senior international final on Friday.
The 16-year-old, who was the junior of each of the other five finalists by at least a half-decade, totalled 278.10 points. McKay, who trains under the tutelage of coach Charlie Tu at Dive Calgary, had an eighth-place finish in 3m at Madrid last season.
Competing on the senior level is a big stepping stone for McKay, who earned a silver medal in 3m to combine with Molly Carlson (Thunder Bay, ON) for a 1-2 finish in October at the Pan Am Junior Championships in Matanzas, Cuba in October.
“We are impressed to see that Caeli remained solid through all three rounds today,” said Mitch Geller, Chief Technical Officer, Diving Plongeon Canada. “The pressure of competing in her first senior international final obviously didn’t faze her.”
McKay's showing in the final built off a respectable showing in the semi-final, where she tallied 269.80 points to qualify. She earned 270.9 points during the preliminary round.
“She didn’t really miss a single dive and we know for her to compete on a higher level, it is just a matter of improving her precision, and her entries,” Geller added.
“We have always known that she is really tough competitor and her performance today validates our impression of her.”
Zhihuan Xu of China won the gold on her final dive, totalling 338.25 points to surmount compatriot Han Wang, who earned the silver medal with 336.60. Uschi Freitag of Holland earned the bronze with 320.00 and her teammate Inge Jansen was fourth with 301.80.
Eighteen-year-old Ethan Pitman (Edmonton, AB) reached the semi-final in men's 10m platform, finishing seventh with 289.05 points. Pitman was in contention to make the final until his second-last dive, a back 3½ somersault where he scored 24.75, went poorly. The back 3½ was his strongest dive in the morning preliminaries, where Pitman scored 69.30 points out of his total of 367.70 over six dives.
Canada has two more Junior Elite National Team members competing in Madrid on Saturday. Peter Thach-Mai (Montreal, QC) will make his Grand Prix debut in men's 3m. Olivia Chamandy (Montreal, QC) is competing in women's 10m where the promising 15-year-old will be looking for her first career top-10 placing. Chamandy placed 11th in 10m at the Bolzano Grand Prix in July.