(Montreal) You can’t buy experience. Canadian divers Caeli McKay and Kate Miller got it right on Saturday after finishing fifth in the women’s 10m synchro at the Montreal Diving World Cup.

McKay has started training in synch with Miller, a junior diver who will turn 18 on May 27, at the end of winter only. This event was therefore their first together on the international stage at the senior level — and indeed Miller’s first of a career.

China — the reigning Olympic and world champion in this event — literally flew over the competition, with a score of 378.60 points. It was ahead of Great Britain (316.68) and Germany (302.58) in order. The Maple Leaf representatives completed the top-5 with 286.08 points.

McKay and Miller were settled in second place after two of the five scheduled rounds, but they missed their third and fourth dives to temporarily find themselves in the seventh and final rung.

Miller could have lost his temper after that, given his young age and inexperience in such events, but he didn’t. The Canadians rather rebounded before their last attempt, en route to fifth place.

“She (McKay) told me I was young and allowed to make mistakes. It reassured me, and I’m happy that we were able to finish the competition strong, said Miller. I would like to learn from my mistakes here in order to make the corrections for the next competition. »

The Ottawan added that she appreciated being paired with McKay because of his caring attitude and experience on the international stage. Qualities which, she believes, will allow her to progress as an athlete.

McKay, for her part, has been without a full-time partner for the 10m synchro since her own mentor, three-time Olympic medalist Meaghan Benfeito, announced her retirement following the Tokyo Olympics. There was, of course, an experiment with Ontarian Celina Toth last year, but that proved unsuccessful.

The Albertan said after the competition that she enjoyed her first experience with Miller.

“Honestly, I had a lot of fun. We were in our “zone”. It was fun diving with her (Miller); it’s brand new. We missed two dives, but that’s the dive. Mistakes happen, and that’s part of the sport,” McKay first said.

“But we learned a lot from those mistakes. Now it’s about training together more, getting to know each other better, so we can be more comfortable with our dives at this level,” McKay philosophized.

McKay also took the opportunity to put his left ankle to the test, which was rebuilt last October following an injury sustained in training shortly before the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The Albertan did not hide that she still feels pain sporadically, but she was reassuring after the competition on Saturday.

“Yesterday (Friday), after the competition, my ankle was a little sore. But today it went well; I didn’t feel any pain,” McKay said with a smile.

In order to avoid any relapses, the 23-year-old has changed her list of dives for Sunday’s 10m final — one of five to be presented at the closing of the event. In that sense, McKay said earlier this week that a top-5 would be a result beyond his expectations.

Earlier Saturday, Quebecers Pamela Ware and Mia Vallée qualified for the women’s 3m springboard final. Alberta’s Margo Erlam was ruled out, however.

For his part, Quebecer Nathan Zsombor-Murray obtained his pass for the final in the men’s 10m.

His compatriot Rylan Wiens was not so lucky and withdrew before the start of the preliminary round due to a neck injury. It also annoyed him on Friday, when he and Zsombor-Murray finished seventh in the men’s 10m synchro.

Meanwhile, Canada did not compete in the 3m synchro springboard final on Saturday.

The Montreal Diving World Cup is the first international diving competition to take place in the city since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

This competition is also the only one scheduled on the international calendar before the World Championships are held in Fukuoka, Japan, from July 14 to 22.

The Diving World Cup has three stages, and that of Montreal is the second. Canada did not attend the premiere in Beijing, China, due to budgetary and logistical constraints. The World Cup Super Final will take place in Berlin, Germany from August 4-6.