Friesen surprises Abel at Winter Nationals

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Louis Daignault

March 1, 2013, Winnipeg (ISN) – Victoria’s Emma Friesen is the surprise leader after Friday’s preliminaries in the women’s three-metre springboard event at the Winter Nationals diving competition.

Friesen, who is on the comeback trail after missing almost two seasons, showed the most consistency in her program to tabulate 299.00 points. Olympic and world championship medallist Jennifer Abel of Laval, Que., is second at 296.10 and Aimee Harrison of Winnipeg is third at 258.60.

“I was really nervous throughout the competition,” said Friesen, who opened the 2013 season placing sixth at FINA Grand Prix in Madrid last month. “I was very pleased with how I battled through it. I was able to execute good dives despite some mediocre take-offs.”

Between 2009 and 2011, Friesen was out of diving due to ankle and shoulder surgery, an illness and her university studies. Last year she started her comeback and placed third at the Olympic trials on three-metre.

The semifinals and final are on Sunday.

In the men’s 10-metre tower preliminaries, Maxim Bouchard of St-Constant, Que., leads at 396.80. Philippe Gagné of Montreal is second at 368.90 and Tyler Roberge of Edmonton third at 333.05. Bouchard competed at last week’s Grand Prix stop in Germany placing seventh.

”Competing at the Grand Prix gave me a lot of confidence for the nationals,” said Bouchard. ”Today I was pleased with my diving but I look forward to doing even better in the semis and final.”

Competition continues through to Sunday at the Pan Am Pool.

Full results: