New Canadian diving duo Nathan Zsombor-Murray, Rylan Wiens earn world bronze
Collect 417.12 points to keep Ukraine off medal podium; China, Great Britain place 1-2
It may be the beginning of a beautiful diving partnership.
New Canadian duo Nathan Zsombor-Murray and Rylan Wiens, with few training sessions together, racked up 417.12 points over six dives to earn a bronze medal in the men's 10-metre platform synchro final on Tuesday at the world aquatics championships.
"I can't say we expected this, but we certainly hoped for it," Zsombor-Murray said in a story posted to the FINA website.
Earlier this month, the Canadians stood atop the podium following a 436.56-point performance at the FINA Diving Grand Prix in Calgary.
"Synchronized diving comes easily to us," 19-year-old Zsombor-Murray of Pointe-Claire, Que., told reporters in Calgary. "We're both strong as individual competitors, so when we dive together, everything flows well."
WATCH | Zsombor-Murray and Wiens fend off Ukraine to reach podium in Hungary:
Zsombor-Murray and Wiens' picked up Canada's fifth bronze and 12th podium finish of the 19th world championships after it captured a nation-best 11 swimming medals (also three gold, four silver) last week.
The Canadians held a 20.85-point lead over Kirill Boliukh and Oleksii Sereda of Ukraine entering their final dive in Budapest, Hungary, and amassed 79.68 points on back 2 ½ somersaults 1 ½ twists to secure bronze after their opponent posted the identical score.
Before the dive, Zsombor-Murray and Wiens looked at each other and exchanged a fist bump.
"I I knew that we both knew exactly what we needed to do. We did a good last dive to secure the bronze," Wiens, 20, said. "I compensated him and he did the same thing for me … and got the medal."
China's Lian Junjie and Yang Hao led from the outset of the competition, collecting 467.79 points, with Matthew Lee and Noah Williams capturing silver (427.71).
"It's not easy to win a final like this," Yang said, "because it's easy to make mistakes."
Last summer in Tokyo, Zsombor-Murray and Wiens placed 13th and 19, respectively, in their first Olympics. They began working together in Japan in practice after Vincent Riendeau, Zsombor-Murray's synchro partner, injured his back training at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Fortunately, Riendeau was able to dive and placed fifth with Zsombor-Murray in the synchro tower before they ended their diving partnership after two years, with the former retiring to concentrate on his university studies in electrical engineering at Polytechnique Montreal.
"As soon as we did that [practice] session, we watched the video and we're like 'Yeah, OK, well next year, once we kind of get paired up together, this is going to be a thing. We're expecting this,"' Wiens of Saskatoon said recently.
"The goal is an Olympic medal in 2024."
On Tuesday, Zsombor-Murray and Wiens immediately put themselves in contention, scoring 50.40 on their inward dive to sit fourth after Round 1.
After slipping to sixth with a back dive pike that only produced 44.40 points, they rebounded with a 78.72 performance on their third dive — inward 3 ½ somersaults — to climb to fourth and less than a point behind Boliukh, 15, and 16-year-old Sereda.
Zsombor-Murray and Wiens were at their best for their most difficult dive, forward 4 ½ somersaults. They took off at the same time and had good synchronization in the tuck position on their somersaults, scoring 84.36 to move into third spot ahead of the Ukrainians by nine points.
Zsombor-Murray and Wiens extended their third-place lead by nearly 21 points through five rounds and crept to within five points of Lee and Williams in second.
Action continues Wednesday at 2 a.m. ET with the women's open water 10-kilometre final, followed by the men's 10 km final at 6 a.m.
Diving takes centre stage at 8:30 a.m. with the 10m team event final, followed by the women's three-metre springboard synchro final at 1 p.m.
Aquatics worlds coverage continues every day through Sunday. Click on the link below for a full schedule of events.