FINA Communication Department

Jennifer Abel of Laval and Pamela Ware of Beloeil, Que., won their first international gold medal topping the women’s 3m synchro event on Sunday at the Canadian leg of the FINA Diving Grand Prix 2014.Roseline Filion of Laval and Meaghan Benfeito of Montreal added silver and bronze respectively on women’s 10m platform. Canada ended the four-day competition with five medals (one gold, three silver and a bronze).

Abel and Ware, World championship bronze medallists in 2013, earned 322.71 points and were first after each of the five rounds in the final except the second. Chunting Wu and Qulin Zheng of China took the silver at 305.70 and Maren Taylor and Deidre Freeman of the U.S., were third at 286.80.

"This is a huge accomplishment for us," said Ware, from Beloeil, Que.

"We didn’t start the season that well on the World Series circuit and this shows we are back in the game."

Abel, 23, won a bronze medal in 3m synchro with now-retired Emilie Heymans at the 2012 Olympics. She hooked-up with the 20-year-old Ware, an international junior star, to start the 2013 season. They have collected six international medals and two national titles since then.

"We know each other really well now," said Abel, from Laval.

"We’re now a unified pair. I think in the first season to go from diving with Emilie who was 10 years older to someone who is close to my age, the chemistry is different. We are feeling more and more comfortable with each other."

Ware headed into Sunday’s competition on the heels of a subpar fifth place finish on individual 3m springboard on Saturday which left her crushed immediately afterwards.

"That’s part of the game," said Abel.

"I’ve had a slow start to the season and you can’t let disappointing performances eat you up. It’s how you come back from those setbacks that makes you better."

Ware says diving with Abel is a great moral booster.

"Yesterday was really hard," said Ware.

"But I had to put it in the past because today I needed to dive really well. When I dive with Jennifer it’s really fun and I’m always happier and more confident. We are both living it together. That’s what helped me to dive really well today."

On women’s 10 platform, Qian Ren of China won the gold with 405.15 points. Filion followed with a personal best 373.65 and Benfeito was third at 365.25.

"My entries are getting better and better and that makes a big difference," said Filion. 

"Last year I made a lot of changes, a new technique, a new approach and now it seems to be coming together."

While Filion was solid on all her dives, Benfeito struggled with her armstand dive which potentially cost her at least the silver.

"I had too much adrenaline on that dive," said Benfeito, the event’s defending champion.

"Things were going too well up that point and I missed my entry. Still I’m super happy where I’m at right now, I have no injuries and I feel great."

On men’s 10m synchro, Maxim Bouchard of St-Constant, Que., and Philippe Gagne of Montreal were in a battle for the medals but they couldn’t recover from an error on their fifth dive and were fourth. Yanquan Zhang and Liang Huo of China took gold despite missing their fifth dive.

In the final competition medal standings, China placed first with six gold and four silver followed by Canada (1-3-1) and Mexico at 1-1-1.

Canada’s other medals were silvers from Abel on 3m springboard and Benfeito and Filion on 10m synchro.

The competition also counted towards selection for this summer’s FINA World Cup and Commonwealth Games.

(From a press release by Diving/Plongeon Canada)