Diver Caeli McKay (318.45) placed fifth in the women's 10m tower final at the FINA World Championships in Budapest. On Monday, the Albertan, who has been training in Montreal for several years, was provisionally fourth after three of five runs, until Brazilian Ingrid Oliveira (325.10) slipped past her at the very end of the competition.
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First and second in the previous day's semi-finals, China's Chen Yuxi and Quan Hongchan finished the final in the same order, amassing 417.25 and 416.95 points respectively. Malaysian Pandelela Pamg (338.85 points) was awarded the bronze medal.
"Honestly, I'm pretty happy, because I didn't know what to expect," said McKay, referring to an ankle injury that occurred a year ago to the day.
“At the last worlds (in 2019), I finished seventh. Today (Monday) was my first international competition since the Tokyo Olympics. So it was a special day for me!” continued the diver who, as at the 2019 worlds, had placed third in the semifinals.
Three years ago, however, it was in seventh place that she had concluded the final.
McKay started the contest well as she was ranked fourth. Her next dive was less successful, which dropped her to fifth place, except that she recovered very well on her third pass on the tower. The entry into the water of his triple and a half inverted somersault was well done and earned him a score of 68.80, his best score of the day. This allowed him to move up to fourth place, just over a point behind third held by Pandelela Pamg.
“I didn't look at the notes, but I knew if I was consistent it was possible (to get a medal). I just dived for myself and to do my dives well. […] I am getting back into my role as an athlete after my ankle injury, so being on the podium was not on the horizon. I just wanted to push myself and be the best athlete possible.”
The diver could not repeat her good performance in the fourth round with her 57.75 points, in particular due to a failed entry into the water. Meanwhile, the Malaysian earned a score of 75.20 to quietly solidify her place on the podium.
The 23-year-old saw fourth place slip from his hands on the fifth and final dive. Her score of 65.60 was not enough to counter the comeback of the Brazilian Ingrid Oliveira, impeccable with her triple and a half return somersault which increased her total by 80 points, overtaking the Canadian at the same time.
The worlds are over for Caeli McKay, who will skip the synchro events to save her ankle for the Commonwealth Games at the end of July.
On Tuesday, it will be Nathan Zsombor-Murray's turn to start his worlds. The Pointe-Claire diver will be qualifying at the 10 meter tower.