Canada Games divers find themselves in different water

Kenn Oliver
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But it’s only for a couple of days

Newfoundland and Labrador's diving contingent started Week 2 of the Canada Summer Games at McGill University in Montreal, site of the platform diving events today. They make their way to Sherbrooke tonight, with the remaining diving events getting underway Thursday. Members of the team are (from left), front row: Liam Maher, Molly Wilson, Chris Kent;  back row:  assistant coach Sara O'Keefe, Quinn Crane, Riley Crane, manager Vicky Crane, and head coach Rob Scott.

By Kenn Oliver

The Telegram—Sherbrooke, Que,

While most Team Newfoundland and Labrador athletes spent Sunday getting acquainted with Canada Summer Games facilities in Sherbrooke and tuning up for the start of competition today, a small contingent remained in Montreal for the first two days of the Games’ second week.

With no platform diving facilities at the Centre de Sportif at the University de Sherbrooke, the first day of diving competition is taking place at McGill University’s Memorial Pool.

Newfoundland diving team coach Rob Scott, from the Edge club in St. John’s, says having to start the week in Montreal will offer some different experiences for the five-member team.

“There’s definitely some extra things to consider, as far as nutrition, rest and socializing with kids their own age,” says Scott, who also coached the provincial team at the 2009 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island.

In fact, at those Games, the divers had to take a five-hour bus trip all the way to Halifax as P.E.I., like Sherbrooke, was not equipped for platform diving.

“So this is actually better for us.”

The divers, however, don’t seem to mind.

“We do it all the time,” says 18-year-old Quinn Crane, attending his second Games. “We always have to get used to new places.”

Fifteeen-year-old Molly Wilson, the team’s youngest  — and smallest — member, and the only female on the squad, says having to focus on only one discipline per pool makes the transition easier.

“You don’t have to get to used to boards in Montreal and then go to Sherbrooke and try completely new dives on new boards.”

Neither diver is worried about missing out on any of the Games experience by spending the first few days separated from the rest of Team NL.

“Our team is like a family, so pretty much as long as we have each other, we’re good.”

Scott isn’t predicting podium finishes for Newfoundland, but says “We’ve got some potential finalists. In diving, the top 12 make the finals, so we have a couple that might make the top 12.”

Part of the reason for the coach’s tapered enthusiasm comes from a shortened diving and training season. Construction at the far end of the Aquarena in St. John’s kept the kids off the boards and out of the water from September to December.

“We did one training camp in Halifax in the fall, just to get on some of the boards. So we did a lot of dryland training and trampoline work, but it’s not the same,” explains Scott.

“We couldn’t travel to too many camps, but we offered them something so they weren’t completely rusty when we got back in (the water) in January”

Once they got back into the deep end at the Aquarena, Scott says “the team did some good work and they’re here to compete.”

Scott says a second aquatic facility in St. John’s — even a partial one with only spring boards — would go a long way to generating more interest in the sport.

“It would allow us to juggle our training facilities and also maybe have two clubs or a satellite club.”

Along with Wilson and Crane, the other members of the province’s diving team are Riley Crane, Quinn’s 15-year-old brother, Liam Maher and Chris Kent. Sara O’Keefe is the assistant coach and Vicky Crane is the team’s manager.

Following Monday’s platform events, the group makes it way to Sherbrooke, where the three-metre and one-metre events are set to begin on Thursday.

 

koliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter@telykenn

 

 

Organizations: Centre de Sportif, University de Sherbrooke, McGill University

Geographic location: Sherbrooke, Montreal, Kenn OliverThe Telegram—Sherbrooke, Que Canada Halifax Prince Edward Island Team NL Newfoundland

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