Canada's best divers set for 2011 Pan American Games
Just one week prior to the start of the diving events at the 2011 Pan American Games, in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Canadian diving team is focused on closing out the pre-Olympic year on a winning note.
“Diving Plongeon Canada has selected its strongest team possible to compete in Guadalajara,” says DPC high performance director, Scott Cranham. “All the divers we are sending to the Pan American Games competed earlier this year at the FINA World Championships and are serious contenders to make our Olympic team for London.”
One notable omission from the Canadian roster is three-time world champion, and double Olympic silver medalist, Alexandre Despatie. Due to bursitis in his right knee, Despatie was forced to forfeit the majority of his 2011 season. “Obviously, whenever Alex is not included in your team, it’s a big loss,” adds Cranham. “But we know this is the right move so he can solely focus on rehabilitating his knee to be ready for the FINA World Cup in February and the Olympics Games in the summer.”
With Canada already maxing out its Olympic berths in the women’s individual events, the men will have an opportunity to secure Canada with Olympic spots should they leave Guadalajara with gold medals in the 3-metre or tower events. After the 2011 Pan Am Games, divers have one last opportunity to qualify the remaining Olympic spots at the 2012 FINA Diving World Cup in London, England, February 20-29.
As announced by the Canadian Olympic Committee earlier this month, the Canadian diving team is comprised of Olympians Emilie Heymans (29, Saint-Lambert, QC), Jennifer Abel (20, Laval, QC), Roseline Filion (24, Laval, QC) Meaghan Benfeito (22, Montreal,QC), and Reuben Ross (25, Pilote Butte, SK). Rounding out the team are 2011World Aquatic Championships competitors, Kevin Geyson (27, Winnipeg,MB), Eric Sehn (26, Edmonton, AB) and François Imbeau-Dulac (20, St-Lazare, QC).
The competition for Canada in the Pan Am diving pool is expected to be tougher than ever. “Recently, the Pan American countries have been turning in much stronger performances on the international stage,” says Cranham. “We expect fierce competition especially from the Americans, Mexicans, and Cubans. Our divers will be facing a deep and talented pool of athletes, but our group is certainly in the running and will contend for medals, especially our women”.