GWANGJU, Korea, Republic Of — Divers Caeli McKay and Meaghan Benfeito have secured two spots for Canada in the women’s 10-metre platform event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
McKay finished third in the semifinals on Tuesday at the world aquatics championships, while Benfeito was fourth. The top 12 advanced to the final and secured Olympic quota spots for their respective countries.
McKay, from Calgary, had 356.70 points, while Montreal’s Benfeito notched 340.60.
"Today was a very positive day for me. One of my main goals was to show my strength as an individual diver," McKay said.
China’s Yuxi Chen (407.95 points) and Wei Lu (370.85) were first and second, respectively.
The final is Wednesday.
Two spots at @Tokyo2020!
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) July 16, 2019
The pair finished fourth and missed qualifying an Olympic spot by 0.81 points in Sunday’s synchro competition . Only the top three finishers in synchro events are accepted for Tokyo 2020.
"After my synchro event I wanted to come back strong and open a spot for my country at the Olympics. I am very proud to have done that," MacKay said. "I am pleased with my performance and I know what I need to improve for tomorrow’s final."
Benfeito has three Olympic bronze medals in her career. McKay won silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
"Semis were a little bit rough, the last dives weren’t exactly how I wanted them to be but the goal was to make the final to open the spot for the Olympics and that’s what we did," Benfeito said. "Obviously we’re going to take it up a notch tomorrow for the final."
Elsewhere, China’s golden run at continued when it won the mixed team event diving final.
Lin Shan and Yang Jian won with a total of 416.65 points and didn’t face a strong challenge on their way to victory.
It was China’s first gold in the mixed team event — involving three- and 10-metre dives — since it was introduced at the world swimming championships in 2015.
"I only knew I would compete in this event one week ago," said Yang, men’s 10-meter platform bronze medallist in Budapest two years ago. "We did not have time to train together. The most important thing was to show our best in the competition."
Three-time youth Olympic champion Lin was scared of the competition when young, "but I am not anymore."
"I tried to adjust my breath and told myself to relax. It was my first world title and also first for China in this event, I was proud of that," Lin said.
Russian pair Iuliia Timoshinina and Sergey Nazin took silver with 390.05, followed by Andrew Capobianco and Katrina Young of the United States with 357.60.
The best result for China until Tuesday in the mixed team event was a bronze medal in 2015 by Chen Ruolin and Xie Siyi.
— With files from The Associated Press.