Monday, May 27, 2024

Paris-bound diver Kate Miller vaults up to silver medal spot at World Cup Super Final

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By Emma Zhao

After securing an Olympic berth with a sixth-place performance at February’s World Diving Championships, Ottawa’s Kate Miller and Canadian teammate Caeli McKay leapt up to the silver medal position in the women’s 10-metre synchronized event at the recent World Cup Super Final.

Miller and McKay spent three days in Xi’an, China around their competition on Apr. 18, where they posted their best total score yet at 296.10 points.

Going into their fifth and final dive, the Canadians were in provisional fourth place. However, thanks to a solid score of 70.08 on their last plunge, they jumped past Ukrainian and Mexican teams – both of whom had finished ahead of them at the World Championships.

Two World Championships podium teams from Great Britain and North Korea did not attend the World Cup Super Final, while the host Chinese were dominant again with their total of 364.86.

“I feel like in China, we did good, but we didn’t really do amazing,” Miller told the Ottawa Sports Pages. “There are a lot of things we can be better at.”

Miller and McKay, who have been competing together for almost a year, inserted new dives for their performance as recommended by their coaches. Previously, they performed a back three-and-a-half dive. In China, they changed it to a front three-and-a-half.

“It’s considered more of an easier, more simple kind of dive,” Miller noted. “So we tried that, and it ended up working really well for us, and that was the main thing that we used to really get that silver.”

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Both Canadian divers acknowledged that inserting new dives is an unusual move. However, Miller said she believed making this change for the World Cup in China was as good a time as ever.

“We only had one more competition before the Olympics,” she explained. “So we figured we might as well try it out in China than do it at the Olympics, because I don’t think that would’ve been a good idea.”

This also allowed the duo to review scores to see which routines they performed better. The new lineup produced an improved score of 8.76 points compared to the World Championships, which would have placed them within 3.24 of the bronze medal position at worlds.

Kate Miller. File photo

Amid the changes to their diving lineup, the pair was also forced to switch their home training site. A fire outside Montreal’s Olympic Stadium caused extensive smoke damage to the aquatics centre that houses a number of Canadian national team programs and athletes.

As a result, Miller and McKay are now training at the Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre farther west in Montreal. While this is an unexpected turn of events, Miller said that the transition was rather smooth.

“It was a no-brainer,” she indicated. “It’s not as busy as other pools that we were considering, so we can kind of get our stuff done and have our back-to-normal schedule.”

Getting back to normal couldn’t have come at a better time, as Miller and McKay start training for the upcoming Olympics. The Canadian Olympic diving team trials are from May 17-19 in Windsor, though the pair’s Paris 2024 tickets are all-but-officially booked after earning the Games berth for Canada, followed by a World Cup silver in Germany and another silver at the Super Final.

Miller said that their performance in China has revealed areas they need to work on. For example, Miller said it’s important for the two to refine and perfect their compulsory dives, which are the first two dives that are typically easier. She also wants to work on her front three-and-a-half pike, which is a new dive she learned this year.

Even with all of her hard work, she finds it hard to believe that she’s gotten to this level.

“I’m going to be seeing all these people that I consider to be really famous in the sports industry, which is so weird,” she said. “When I get there, I think I’m just going to be shocked, no matter how much I prepare for this.”

Read More: 18-year-old diver Kate Miller earns the Olympic berth she’s eyed since age 12

Miller’s journey to the Olympics is a labour of love, and it’s not something she will take for granted.

“Competition-wise, I think I’m just going to just keeping training hard and really push myself, and to just keeping on going,” she said. “We’re not done yet and I just need to put it all out there.”

Bronze for Nepean diver at Dresden

As Miller finds herself on the Olympics path, another athlete from her childhood Nepean-Ottawa Diving Club is also emerging onto the global stage at the youth level.

Competing with a Canadian contingent at the Dresden International Invitation meet in Germany, Ella Lindsay won a bronze medal in the age 14-15 platform event on Apr. 26 – one day after she placed fourth in the 1 m springboard.

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