Tibor Illyes/MTI via AP
Tibor Illyes/MTI via AP

Synchro diving silver for Abel, Citrini-Beaulieu at FINA Worlds

Divers Jennifer Abel and Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu impressed judges on Monday at the 2017 FINA World Championships, winning silver in the women’s 3m synchro event.

Their final score of 323.43 points placed them behind the Chinese team of Yani Chang and Tingmao Shi (333.30) and ahead of Russians Nadezdha Bazhina and Kristina Ilinykh (312.60).

Jennifer Abel, left, and Melissa Citrini Beaulieu of Canada celebrate their second place in the women’s 3m synchro springboard final of the 17th FINA Swimming World Championships in Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary, Monday, July 17, 2017. (Tibor Illyes/MTI via AP)

This is the duo’s first time competing at the FINA Worlds together, after three-time Olympian Abel lost her Rio 2016 partner Pamela Ware to a foot injury. Abel and Ware were forced to stop competing with one another in December after Ware underwent surgery. In the meantime, Abel began competing with Citrini-Beaulieu.

Since pairing up together this year, they have reached the podium at elite FINA World Series stops in both Windsor, Ontario (silver) and Guangzhou, China (bronze). They also posted a first place win in Rostock, Germany at the FINA Grand Prix.

“I think we both are pretty hard workers and we have the same character, I think that’s one of the things that make it work as a team, and of course our friendship,” Citrini-Beaulieu said in a Diving Canada release.

While this world medal is a first for Citrini-Beaulieu, this marks Abel’s fourth straight time on the podium in the 3m synchro.

“We didn’t put the standard too high, we just wanted to do great, like we were doing in practice,” Abel said following their second place win. “We were in control of everything.”

However, they weren’t the only fresh pairing that had a successful weekend in Budapest.

Meaghan Benfeito and her new partner, world championship rookie Caeli McKay, came in fourth in the women’s 10m synchro. This was Benfeito’s first time competing at worlds without longtime partner Roseline Filion, who announced her retirement in January.

Benfeito also competed with 14-year-old Nathan Zsomber-Murray in the mixed 10m synchro (non-Olympic), where they placed fifth. This came as a surprise to many since the pair only began working together just three weeks ago.

On the men’s side, Canada’s Philippe Gagné and François Imbeau-Dulac came in ninth in the 3m synchro after an impressive fourth place finish in the preliminary round.