Commonwealth Games Primer: Diving
Benfeito & Filion, Abel & Ware lead strong Canadian squad
Diving is a Commonwealth Games favourite. Despite its classification as an optional sport, meaning the host city makes the call on whether or not to include it, it has been included in all 20 editions of the Games.
Ten diving events are on tap in Glasgow: the 1-metre spring board, 3m spring board, 10m platform, 3m spring board synchronized and 10m platform synchronized, with a men's and women's competition in each.
Divers are scored by a panel of judges that takes into account myriad factors such as degree of difficulty, number of rotations, height of the diver at the apex of her jump, body position and angle of entry into the water.
In the synchro events, pairs of divers attempt to perform either identical or mirrored dives. They're judged on both the quality of their own dives, and their synchronization.
Canada is one of the best diving nations in the Commonwealth. At the 2010 Games in Delhi, the Canadian team led the way with five golds, though Australia topped the medal count with 15 to Canada's nine. England usually sends a strong team as well, and Malaysia has been on the rise with six medals combined at the last two Commonwealth Games, plus a bronze at the 2012 Olympics.
Canadians to watch
The great Alexandre Despatie has retired, taking with him nine Commonwealth gold medals (he won the first, in 1998, as a 13-year-old!), but the Canadian team still features three 2012 Olympic medallists, all on the women's side:
Montreal's Meaghan Benfeito and her teammate Roseline Filion of Laval, Que., are top contenders for gold in the 10m synchro event. They've yet to miss the podium this season in their first seven international competitions and were the bronze medallists at the 2012 Olympics and silver medallists at last year's worlds. Benfeito, 25, and Filion, 27, will also compete in the individual 10-metre event.
Jennifer Abel of Laval, Que., was one of the stars of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, winning gold in the individual 1m event and the 3m synchro (with then teammate Emilie Heymans) and adding a silver in the solo 3m. Abel and Heymans went on to capture bronze at the 2012 Olympics before Heymans retired a few months later, but Abel, 22, hasn't missed a beat with new teammate Pamela Ware, 21. They took bronze at last year's world championships and have reached the podium in nine of the 12 events they've entered since joining forces.