March 22, 2013, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (ISN) – Olympic bronze medallists Roseline Filion of Laval and Meaghan Benfeito of Montreal won silver on 10-mere synchro and Jennifer Abel of Laval and Pamela Ware of Beloeil, Que., added bronze on three-metre synchro on Thursday to open the second stop on the FINA World Series diving circuit.
On synchro tower, Olympic champion Chen Ruolin and Huxia Liu of China were the winners with 353.04 points. Filion and Benfeito followed at 331.44 and Yulia Koltunova and Natalia Goncharova of Russia were third at 315.35.
It was the same 1-2-3 finish at last week’s season opener in Beijing but the Canadians bettered their score by 15 points to close the gap on the powerful Chinese.
“We were impressed with ourselves to finish within about 20 points of the Chinese,” said Filion. “We are getting closer. We know they are beatable and we have to keep chipping away. That kind score this early in the season is very positive for us and augurs well for the rest of the season.
The pair feel like they are already back into the beat of competition.
“Today we were a lot more comfortable after competing for the first time since the Olympics last week. That competition followed by a solid week of training here gave us back our confidence.”
On three-metre synchro He Zi and Wang Han of China collected the win with a 331.20 score. Tania Cagnotto and Francesca Dallape of Italy were second at 297.90 and Abel and Ware took the bronze at 296.10. Only four points separated sixth from second place.
“After our last dive we saw how close it was and my heart was beating so fast as I watched the other divers finish,” said Ware, also an Olympic team member in 2012. “We were a little nervous.”
It was the first international medal for Abel and Ware, in their first season together. They were fifth last week. Abel won the Olympic bronze medal with Emile Heymans in the event last summer in London.
“But looking at the marks we still have a lot of work to do with our individual diving and synchronization. Still it’s pretty good for the beginning of the year. We just need to keep practicing and we are going to keep getting better.”
Competition continues Friday with the women’s three-metre featuring Abel. The FINA World Series has expanded from four to six-stops this season and is reserved for the top-ranked eight divers in the world in each event.