5 Team Canada things to watch this weekend: July 14-16
The World Aquatics Championships kick off this Friday in Fukuoka, Japan. For Canadian divers, swimmers, and water polo players this will be an opportunity to compete against the best in the world and set the tone for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. In total, there are 75 world titles up for grabs over the course of the two-week meet and there are strong hopes that some of them will be claimed by Canadian athletes.
Since these worlds are taking place on the other side of the world, in some cases you may have to get up very early (or go to bed late) to follow the events live, but these finals will be worth it!
The first finals in diving and artistic swimming will take place this weekend, as well as two open water swimming events. The Canadian men’s and women’s water polo teams will both begin their round robin phase, which will continue until next Friday.
Out of the water and up the rock wall, Canadian sport climbers are competing at an IFSC Climbing World Cup in Briançon, France.
Here are five Team Canada stories to keep an eye on this weekend.
Canada’s first medal at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships could well come from the eight-member Canadian diving team in Japan. Mia Vallée, silver medallist on 3m and bronze medallist on 1m at the 2022 Worlds will be one to watch in the individual springboard events, as is the experienced Pamela Ware. A 3m bronze medallist back in 2013, this will be her first global championship since Tokyo 2020.
Vallée and Ware will team up for the women’s 3m synchro event. They’re aiming for a podium finish after placing third at the World Cup in Montreal in May in their first competition together. Anything is possible for this already successful new partnership.
Caeli McKay will also be diving alongside a new partner in the women’s 10m synchro. After years of success with the now-retired Meaghan Benfeito, McKay will team up with Kate Miller, who will be competing in her first world championships. McKay will also take part in the individual women’s 10m platform, as will rookie Elaena Dick.
On the men’s side, Nathan Zsombor-Murray will compete in the mixed 10m synchro event with Miller. Bryden Hattie completes the Canadian diving lineup, competing in the individual 1m and 3m springboard events and the mixed 3m synchro event with Ware.
Canada will also take part in the 3m / 10m mixed team event, with Zsombor-Murray, Hattie, McKay and Ware each starting from their preferred height. This event, like the 1m springboard and the mixed synchro events, is not on the Olympic program.
The 3m and 10m individual events will feature qualifying rounds in which the top 18 athletes qualify for the semifinal, at the end of which the top 12 advance to the final. For the 1m events as well as the synchro events in 3m and 10m, the qualification rounds feed directly to the finals. Mixed events are just a final.
Here is the entire schedule of diving finals in Eastern Time:
- Friday 11:30 pm – mixed 10m synchro
- Saturday 2:30 am – women’s 1m
- Saturday 5:00 am – men’s 3m synchro
- Sunday 1:30 am – men’s 1m
- Sunday 5:00 am – women’s 10m synchro
- Monday 2:30 am – women’s 3m synchro
- Monday 5:00 am – women’s 10m synchro
- Tuesday 5:00 am – mixed 3m/10m team
- Wednesday 5:00 am – women’s 10m
- Thursday 5:00 am – men’s 3m
- Friday 5:00 am – women’s 3m
- Saturday 2:30 am – mixed 3m synchro
- Saturday 5:30 am – men’s 10m
Full schedule and streaming of finals is available through CBC.
Canada has a roster of eleven athletes competing in artistic swimming events in Fukuoka.
On Friday, Scarlett Finn and Kenzie Pridell will take to the pool to compete in the women’s duet technical preliminaries, with the hopes of securing a spot in the finals on Sunday. Team Canada will also compete in the acrobatic preliminaries on Friday.
On Saturday, Canada will compete in the mixed team technical preliminaries, with the final scheduled for Tuesday. Audrey Lamothe is entered in the solo events, with the technical final on Saturday, followed by the free preliminaries on Sunday that leads to the final on Wednesday.
Artistic swimming will see some big changes at Paris 2024, with the inclusion of men for the first time, as well as the introduction of the acrobatic routine, which features exciting flips and airborne balances.
Here is the schedule of artistic swimming finals in Eastern Time:
- Saturday 6:30 am – women’s solo technical final
- Sunday 6:30 am – women’s duet technical final
- Monday 6:30 am – acrobatic final
- Tuesday 6:30 am – mixed team technical final
- Wednesday 6:30 am – women’s solo free final
Full schedule and streaming of finals is available through CBC.
For water polo teams, the World Aquatics Championships represent the first opportunity to qualify for the next Olympic Games. In fact, the two finalist teams in each tournament will earn their tickets to Paris 2024.
The Canadian women’s team is in Group D and will kick off their round robin against Hungary on Sunday at 7:30 am ET. This will be followed by matches against New Zealand (Tuesday, 3:00 am ET) and Japan (Thursday, 6:00 am ET).
On the men’s side, Canada, in Group B, will face China (Sunday, 11:00 pm ET), Italy (Tuesday, 8:00 pm ET) and France (Friday, 7:30 am ET).
The teams finishing at the top of each group will go straight through to the quarterfinals, while the teams ranked second and third will play classification matches to secure one of the four remaining places in the elimination tournament.
Next weekend will see the start of the classification matches and knockout rounds as water polo continues for the duration of the world championships. At the 2022 World Aquatics Championships, Canada finished ninth in the women’s event and 16th in the men’s tournament.
Open Water Swimming
Open water swimming at the World Aquatics Championships gets underway with the two events on the Olympic program: the women’s 10km on Friday and the men’s 10km on Saturday. Both events start at 7:00 pm ET.
Canada’s Abby Dunford, who took part in last year’s junior worlds, and Emma Finlin, who will be competing in her second senior worlds, will compete in the women’s event. Eric Brown and Eric Hedlin, two-time world medallist in the 5km, will represent the country in the men’s event. In the 10km events, swimmers will complete six laps of a circuit in the sea near Fukuoka’s Seaside Momochi Beach Park.
The events continue next week. On Monday, Bailey O’Regan and Dunford will be in action in the women’s 5km at 7:00 pm ET, while Hedlin and Benjamin Cote will compete in the men’s 5km at 9:00 pm ET. The open water events conclude on Wednesday with a mixed 4 x 1.5 km relay featuring Cote, Dunford, Hedlin and O’Regan starting at 7:00 pm ET.
Canadian climbers are in action this weekend with the magnificent French Alps as the background. Six athletes are competing at the IFSC Climbing World Cup in Briançon, France which will feature the lead climbing event.
Tokyo 2020 Olympian Sean McColl is getting himself back into top competitive shape after shoulder surgery in September. McColl is one of Canada’s most accomplished climbers, with 34 World Cup medals to his name. He returned to World Cup competition in May.
Alannah Yip is another Canadian to look out for this weekend. Yip was the 2020 Pan Am Champion in the combined event and set a Canadian record in speed climbing during her Olympic debut in Tokyo. She has been open that she is seeking to qualify for Paris 2024 and then plans to retire from competitive climbing.
Along with those experienced veterans, Team Canada is also full of young promise: 20-year-old Indiana Chapman was first overall at the Open Canadian Lead Nationals in 2022. Babette Roy, 21, placed first at the Canadian Boulder National Championship in 2022. Brothers Oscar Baudrand, 18, and Victor Baudrand, 20, round out the Canadian squad competing in France.