Focusing on the process rather than the result, and allowing himself some experimentation led Boardworks diver Bryden Hattie to double gold at the Summer Senior National Diving Championships at Saanich Commonwealth Place.
Looking to forget a sub-par winter nationals, the 20-year-old captured the men’s three-metre springboard event on Friday (May 27), injecting a new dive, an inward 3-1/2 somersault, into his six-dive mix. He attempted the dive in preliminaries then nailed it in the final, scoring 79.90 points to solidify the gold.
“In prelims it didn’t go well, I landed short, but I also learned it last Thursday,” he said. “Going into finals I was like, ‘just land on your head and just be confident with it’ and that’s what I did. That was the one dive where I just said, ‘send it, absolutely send it.’”
His total of 442.30 left him 23 points clear of silver medallist Cedric Fofana of Montreal’s CAMO club and well ahead of CAMO’s Laurent Gosselin-Paradis, who took bronze.
Hattie, diving in front of friends and family for the first time in over two years, added one-metre gold Saturday, totalling 404.70 to Fofana’s 380.40, while Calgary’s Tazman Abramowicz earned bronze at 373.95. The Saanich athlete secured spots in next week’s FINA Diving Grand Prix-Canada Cup in Calgary, and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, July 28 to Aug. 8.
Despite feeling confident before winter senior nationals in Saskatoon in April, Hattie said he “absolutely bombed” the competition – he finished fourth in the one-metre and failed to qualify for finals in the three-metre.
“So I was super nervous for this event, I was like, ‘I’m not going to repeat what I did in Saskatoon.’ I think the mindset that I had was, I know that I’m very consistent diver, so (I needed to) kind of get out of the competition feel and think of it like a practise.”
Ten-metre platform specialist Renee Batalla, a Grade 10 student at Claremont secondary, captured a third gold medal for the host club on Saturday, beating out Tokyo Olympians Caeli McKay, who took silver and Boardworks clubmate Celina Toth, who collected bronze.
Batalla went into the event simply looking to stand on the podium with the two veterans, who she called “truly amazing divers.
“I’ve known that they’ve both worked really hard, so it was very shocking to be like, ‘um, my name’s not in the right spot,’” she said. “It was really good, but they were very strong competitors this weekend.”
While Batalla wasn’t as flashy as her opponents, she showed consistency. “I was on my game, had the ball rolling and it just wound up playing out well for me.”
Her total score of 314.85, highlighted by a solid reverse 2-1/2 that earned her 75.60 points, gave her a narrow margin over McKay (311.85), who scored a competition-best 81.60 on her final dive, a backward 2-1/2 somersault, 1-1/2 twist.
Toth was not far back, finishing at 306.35 to edge Katelyn Fung for bronze by less than one point.
In other events, Rylan Wiens of Sakatoon was the picture of consistency in the men’s 10-metre platform final Sunday. The 20-year-old athlete won a duel with fellow Tokyo Olympian Nathan Szombor-Murray of Pointe-Claire, Que. to take top spot.
Along the way Wiens posted the top mark (99.90) of the competition, scoring 9.0s across the board with a forward 4-1/2. Szombor-Murray, the only other competitor to attempt the dive, scored 90.65.
Bronze medallist Benajmin Tessier of CAMO reeled off two solid dives late in the final to solidify his position, including a backward 3-1/2 that earned him three marks of 10.0 and a 95.70 score.
Boardworks athlete Carson Paul, who placed fifth, drew the biggest cheers from the partisan crowd in the afternoon final, especially on his first dive, a backward 2-1/2 somersault, 1-1/2 twist for which one judge scored him a 10.
CAMO’s Mia Vallee earlier Sunday won her second gold of the weekend, coming from behind with a strong final dive in the three-metre final to edge Saskatoon’s Margo Erlam 335.20 points to 333.95. Olympian Pamela Ware (CAMO) took bronze, yielding a 1-2-3 finish that duplicated Saturday’s one-metre final.
Tanesha Lucoe of Boardworks finished fourth in the one-metre, while clubmate and junior athlete Keira Lu placed sixth. Lu did not advance past preliminaries in the three-metre and finished 12th.
Diving Canada has not yet announced its team for the upcoming FINA World Championships, scheduled for late June in Budapest, Hungary.
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