Meaghan Benfeito beats Chinese divers for gold
Montreal native serves notice for FINA World Cup, Commonwealth Games
Meaghan Benfeito ended China's reign on the women's 10-metre tower on the FINA World Series diving circuit on Sunday as she won the gold medal in the final event of the season at Monterrey, Mexico.
The Montreal native tabulated a personal best international score of 398.20 points for her first career victory in her six years on the circuit.
"I don't think it's hit me yet," said Benfeito, minutes after her win. "I showed that I have the ability to beat the Chinese. The hard work is paying off."
Huixia Liu of China was second at 395.30 and Alejandra Estrella of Mexico was third at 369.20. Roseline Filion of Laval, Que., just fell short in her bid for a third bronze medal this season with 364.50 points for fourth place.
Benfeito's victory comes just one week after she didn't qualify for the 10-metre final at the previous World Series stop in Windsor, Ont.
"I was confident I could correct my errors from last week," she said. "I had a great week of training going into this meet. But to get 398 points and the win, that was unexpected."
The 26-year-old recorded her best score on her third dive, a back three-and-half, earning four 9.0's and three 8.5's from the judges. Traditionally it is one she struggles with and she actually flubbed it in the preliminaries.
"Obviously that's the dive that I work the hardest on in practice these days," she said. "In the preliminaries, I knew what went wrong and I was determined to get it right in the final."
In the World Series women's 10-metre final standings, Liu took the crown with 98 points, Pandelela Rinong Pamg of Malaysia was second at 78, Filion third at 62 and Benfeito fourth at 60.
Chinese women have won 28-of-32 women's 10-metre events this year with Mexico's Paola Espinosa winning the other three.
The top Canadian divers will now prepare over the next month for the FINA World Cup from July 15-20 in Shanghai, China and the Commonwealth Games July 23 to Aug. 3 in Glasgow, Scotland.