Aquatics

Mai, Belanger squeak out wins at Winter Senior Diving Nationals

The opening two events at the Winter Senior National Championships in diving went down to the wire on Friday with Peter Thach Mai and Éloise Bélanger, both of Montreal, emerging with narrow victories.

2012 Olympian, 4-time national champion François Imbeau-Dulac upset

Eloise Belanger, pictured at the 2013 Canada Games, won gold by 0.4 points over Aimee Harrison in the women’s one-metre event. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The opening two events at the Winter Senior National Championships in diving went down to the wire on Friday with Peter Thach Mai and Éloise Bélanger, both of Montreal, emerging with narrow victories.

On men's three-metre, Thach Mai upset 2012 Olympian and four-time national champion François Imbeau-Dulac of St-Lazare, Que.

Entering the final round, Imbeau-Dulac led by nine points and executed a forward 2 1/2 somersaults with three twists. He averaged scores of only 5.5's due to a poor entry. Thach Mai fared better with his forward 2 1/2 somersaults for an average score of 7.5's.

Thach Mai finished with 417.60 points, Imbeau-Dulac was second at 415.25 and Ethan Pitman of Edmonton third at 390.40.

''It was a pretty stressful situation,'' said Thach Mai, 18, a four-time national junior champion with his second career senior national crown. ''My twisting dive is a consistent one for me so I really had to keep focused. To finish ahead of an experienced diver like François is great for me.''

Belanger edges Harrison, Vallee

The women's one-metre crown was a close contested battle between Bélanger, Aimee Harrison of Winnipeg and Mia Vallée of Beaconsfield, Que.

Bélanger earned 7.5's and 7.0's from the judges on the last dive to finish with 264.90 points, Harrison scored mostly 6.0's and 6.5's to take the silver at 264.50 while Vallée totalled 260.70. 

''I wasn't following the scores but I had made some errors earlier in the competition so I knew the last dive was important,'' said Bélanger, 23, with her first senior national title. ''The one-metre doesn't have a big impact on selections but I've been runner-up many times at national so it's great for the confidence to get the win.''

Saturday's event features the men's 1m and women's 10m finals, beginning at 12 p.m. ET.

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