Canada’s Tokyo 2020 diving team announced
TORONTO (July 2, 2021) – Diving Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced Canada’s diving team nominated to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Canada’s Olympic quota spots were secured through performances at the 2019 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Gwangju, Korea and at the 2021 FINA Diving World Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
The athletes competing in the synchronized events secured their nominations by qualifying the spots directly, and the athletes competing in the individual events earned their places through their results at the 2021 Canadian Diving Trials that took place from June 29 to July 1 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. The lone exception was the pre-nomination extended to Meaghan Benfeito by Diving Plongeon Canada for her entry into the 10m individual event.
The team is composed of four Olympians and six athletes who will make their Olympic debuts in Tokyo.
“Qualifying for the Olympic Games has been a lifelong dream of mine,” said 17-year-old Cedric Fofana, Canada’s youngest diver heading to Tokyo.
Without Canada officially having a quota spot in men’s 3m before the athletes arrived in Toronto, Fofana was still uncertain if all the hours spent in pool over the past year would be worth it, but on June 25th, a quota spot was officially extended to Canada by FINA.
“When we found out this week that the place was confirmed, it validated all the hard work we had been doing up to this point. We were all very excited to have the opportunity to now make the team,” added Fofana.
The returning veterans still find it special when they qualify to represent Canada on the Olympic stage.
“I am happy that I can now say I qualified to take part in my fourth Olympics Games. I am feeling a lot of emotions realizing all that has been accomplished over the past year,” said three-time Olympian Jennifer Abel.
Abel has noticed a steady improvement in her diving from the World Cup to the Olympic trials, and with the help of her coach plans to continue along that trajectory.
“We have a month left now so I am going to work really hard to make sure that I am at my peak at the Games,” added Abel.
Eight of the ten Olympic team members were on-site for the 2021 FINA Diving World Cup in May, which took place at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre and doubled as the test event for Tokyo 2020.
At the only international competition since the pandemic, Canadian divers impressed at the 2021 FINA Diving World Cup, by winning five medals in seven events against divers that will make up the majority of the Olympic field.
“Knowing that we had great success in that facility which we love and to be able to visualize what the Olympic environment is going to be like, especially for the kids that are going to their first Games, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Mitch Geller, Chief Technical Officer at Diving Plongeon Canada. “I’m really glad that we had the opportunity to go there, and I think we have a heck of a team that’s going back.”
The team is set to assemble for a pre-Olympic camp in Toronto that will take place from July 5 to 16 before travelling to Japan.
Diving will take place July 25 to July 28 (Days 2 to 5) and July 30 to August 7 (Days 7 to 15) at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Canada has won 13 Olympic medals in diving, including a bronze in synchronized 3m springboard by Jennifer Abel and former partner Émilie Heymans at London 2012, as well as three bronze medals by Meaghan Benefeito, that came on the 10m platform at Rio 2016, and the synchronized 10m platform with former partner Roseline Filion at both London 2012 and Rio 2016. Abel and Benfeito will compete in the synchronized events in Tokyo with new partners Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu and Caeli McKay who will make their Olympic debuts this summer. Diving is the only sport in which Team Canada has won multiple medals at each of the past five Olympic Games.
“What an incredible stream of icons Diving Canada has produced,” said Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission, Marnie McBean. “From Annie Pelletier, Anne Montminy, and Alex Despatie to this incredible group. Led by Jennifer and Meaghan this team will continue to inspire Canadians as they make their incredibly explosive and dynamic sport look like a simple graceful act.”
The athletes and coaches nominated are:
Jennifer Abel (Laval, Que.) – 3m Synchro
Meaghan Benfeito (Laval, Que.) – 10m Platform and 10m Synchro
Mélissa Citrini-Beaulieu (Saint-Constant, Que.) – 3m Synchro
Cédric Fofana (Quebec City, Que) – 3m Springboard
Caeli McKay (Calgary, Alta.) – 10m Synchro
Celina Toth (St-Thomas, Ont.) – 10m Platform
Vincent Riendeau (Pointe-Claire, Que.) – 10m Synchro
Pamela Ware (Greenfield Park, Que) – 3m Springboard
Rylan Wiens (Pike Lake, Sask.) – 10m Platform
Nathan Zsombor-Murray (Pointe-Claire, Que.) – 10m Platform and 10m Synchro
Mary Carroll (Saskatoon, Sask.) – Coach
Aaron Dziver (Terrebonne, Que.) – Coach
Cesar Henderson (Brossard, Que.) – Coach
Yihua Li (Pointe-Claire, Que.) – Coach
Tommy McLeod (Victoria, B.C.) – Coach
Arturo Miranda (Montreal, Que.) – Coach
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.
Jeff Feeney, Director, Events and Communications
Diving Plongeon Canada
T: 613-736-5238 x 2104 / C: 613-668-9668
Josh Su, Specialist, Public Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee