Canadian diver Mia Vallée bursts to bronze at world championships

It took a winding route for Canada's Mia Vallée to land on the podium. The Beaconsfield, Que., diver earned bronze in the women's one-metre springboard final at the world aquatics championships on Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary.

Quebec native jumps to podium after placing 9th in preliminary round

Canada's Mia Vallée dove to the bronze medal in the women's one-metre springboard final at the world aquatics championships on Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary. (Petr David Josek/The Associated Press)

It was a winding route for Canada's Mia Vallée to land on the podium.

The Beaconsfield, Que., diver earned bronze in the women's one-metre springboard final at the world aquatics championships on Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary.

Vallée only snuck into medal round, placing ninth in the morning's preliminary heat to qualify for the 12-woman final with less than a four-point gap ahead of the 13th-place finisher.

But Vallée found her best when it counted most, even sitting in gold-medal position after three dives. Suddenly, it seemed like anything less than a podium appearance would count as a disappointment.

WATCH | Vallée dives to bronze medal at worlds:

Mia Vallée wins her first medal at a world championships

2 months ago
Duration 4:00
Beaconsfield, Quebec's Mia Vallée wins a bronze in the women’s 1-metre springboard final at the World Aquatics Championships.

After four dives, eventual champion Li Yajie of China took control, moving 10 points ahead of the Canadian for the lead.

And in the fifth and final dive, American Sarah Bacon conjured just enough to leap past Vallée, who struggled with a score of 48.10, by five one-hundredths of a point and earn silver.

Vallée completed the final to take bronze with 276.60 points, behind Bacon's 276.65 points and Li's runaway total of 300.85 points.

"I obviously would have loved to win the silver medal but in reality, I couldn't even have imagined winning a medal today so I'm really happy," said Vallée. 

It's the first podium appearance of the 21-year-old Vallée's career at worlds. She's also earned five medals on the Grand Prix circuit, but has never competed at the Olympics.

"I knew that given the degree of difficulty on my dive list – and because I've been able to do it in the past – that I could really compete," said Vallée. "I really wanted to do well. I think I was able to calm myself down a little by telling myself that these are only my first World Championships and that I'm here to enjoy it and gain some experience. I think it worked a little."

The tandem of Rylan Wiens of Pike Lake, Sask., and Montreal's Nathan Zsombor-Murray won Canada's first diving medal at the worlds with a bronze Tuesday in the men's 10-metre synchronized event.

Margo Erlam, of Calgary, placed ninth with 246.10 points. 

WATCH | A different look at Vallée's dives:

Canadian diver Mia Vallée takes home bronze in world aquatics debut

2 months ago
Duration 0:45
The 21-year-old from Beaconsfield, QC finished third in the women’s 1-metre springboard final, while her teammate Margo Erlam finished 9th.

Canadian swimmers wrap competition

Earlier, Canada's swimmers wrapped up their best-ever showing at the world championships with a pair of open-water finals.

Tokyo Olympian Hau-Li Fan of Vancouver was Canada's top finisher, placing 17th in the men's 10-kilometre race, while Eric Brown of Pointe-Claire, Que., was 26th in his worlds debut.

''I didn't start the race like I planned on,'' said Fan, the 24-year-old who finished three minutes 32.8 seconds behind Italian gold medallist Gregorio Paltrinieri. ''I tried to make up during the race and there was never a point I kind of gave up. At the end the result is the result and I'm going to take away many lessons for the rest of the season.''

Katrina Bellio, of Mississauga, Ont., was the top Canadian finisher in the women's race, placing 34th. Regina's Abby Dunford placed 38th.

The 16-year-old Dunford was competing in her second event in Hungary.

"It's been amazing. The support staff here is incredible, and all my teammates are so great and so supportive. I've had an amazing time and I've learned a lot about myself and about my swimming," she said.

Canada leaves worlds with 11 swimming medals, all won in the pool. Their next major competition begins in exactly one month at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

Wednesday's coverage of the world championships concludes with the mixed three-metre springboard synchro final at 1 p.m ET.

Action continues on Thursday at with the men's and women's 25km open water swim at 3 a.m. ET, followed by water polo semifinals beginning at 10 a.m. ET and two more diving finals at 11 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET.

Aquatics worlds coverage continues every day through Sunday. Click on the link below for a full schedule of events.

CBC Sports streaming & broadcast schedule

With files from The Canadian Press

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