Canada

Montrealers dive into competition season with Pointe-Claire as first hosts

Some of Quebec’s finest young athletes took the big dive into competition season on Sunday as Pointe-Claire hosted the first of three provincials.

The competition is split between senior and junior, male and female.

The divers need to accumulate enough points throughout the three provincials to then move on to nationals, according to Plongeon Quebec coordinator Claudie-Anne Leblanc.

“As amateurs, we all look at that perfect rip entry and we think, wow that’s a 10!” said Plongeon Quebec judge Shannon Bisson. “But we’re also looking at their position as they come off the board, the trajectory from the board, their position in the air, also how they enter the water.”

READ MORE: Taking the plunge: West Island kids plan to dive to success

Quebec has developed some of the sport’s greatest athletes — like Alexandre Depatie and Roseline Filion, who have each won several Olympic medals.

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Now, the next generation of divers is looking to make it big.

“My goal this year is to go to the national championships and go on the three podiums,” said CAMO club diver Charles-Antoine Labadie.

“I would like to go to the Olympics,” said 11-year-old Team Quebec diver Dean Calfacacos. “It’s fun doing flips. Almost every day you learn something new and that’s really fun.”

Parents and competitors said there’s truly nothing like the support the sport brings — regardless of the result.

“It’s a sport where everybody’s really tight, everybody’s rooting for each other,” said Bisson. “Everybody wants to see everybody do well, but at the end of the day, we have to be fair and we’re not doing the kids any favours to not judge them fairly.”

READ MORE: Rio 2016: Women’s diving duo gives Canada another medal on Day 4

But it’s not always easy.

“The hardest part is to be relaxed because the dives you did a lot of times in practice, now it’s just to do the best you can without getting nervous,” said Labadie.

Bisson — who is the mother of a competitive diver and a judge for Plongeon Quebec — is in a tougher spot than most.

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“I think you have to take off your mom goggles a little bit and look at things a little bit differently,” she said. “I obviously never judge my son, that would never happen, but I sort of have to wear different hats and boxes when I judge [versus] when I’m just a parent.”

“When I don’t dive for one week I just want to go dive again,” said ARO club diver Marie-Laurence Forest.

National Championships are set to take place in July.