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Diver Caeli McKay cites lack of training for placing 8th at worlds in 10m platform

Angry and disappointed by her individual performance, Caeli McKay says she’ll try to have fun in Tuesday’s 10-metre synchronized event with diving partner Kate Miller before returning to Canada from the World Aquatics Championships.

McKay will attempt to fix the mistakes that saw her slip gradually down the standings to eighth in the five-round women’s 10m platform final on Monday in Doha, Qatar.

“We’re going to try to enjoy it as much as we can,” the Calgary-born McKay told Diving Canada.

The 24-year-old, who now lives and trains in Montreal, was a world bronze medallist a year ago and fifth in 2022.

“Today was not an easy day for me. I’m definitely going back home with a lot to work on,” McKay said. “I haven’t been able to train as much as I would have wanted the past few weeks which is unfortunate, but it shows in competition.

“I know when I train consistently, I can be strong and do some good stuff in the pool. I’m a little bit angry and quite disappointed in myself.”

On a golden day for China, reigning Olympic champion Quan Hongchan gave herself a huge boost of momentum heading into the Paris Games this summer by winning the competition.

The 16-year-old Chinese star edged teammate Chen Yuxi, compiling 436.25 points over five dives. Chen, the two-time reigning world champion, settled for a silver this time with 427.80. Britain’s Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix grabbed the final spot on the podium with 377.10 for bronze.

Battle for bragging rights

Quan and Chen are overwhelming favourites to battle for gold in Paris after dominating the big tower over the last three years.

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Quan edged Chen for the top spot at the Tokyo Games in 2021, while their positions were reversed at the 2022 worlds in Budapest, Hungary and 2023 championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

McKay, while noting Monday’s performance wasn’t a complete loss, wanted a better performance with last year’s bronze serving as “a motivator” ahead of Paris after having her left ankle reconstructed in 2022.

McKay had also worked to improve her mental strength in 2023 with help from a sports psychologist but consistency was her downfall Monday.

Her best dive of the final was the first, a forward 3 ½ somersault with a 3.0 level of difficulty. After a great approach, she possessed the necessary speed and had great entry into the water, earning 67.50 points.

McKay scored 63 on her second dive, a reverse 2 ½ somersault, and 64.35 with a back 3 ½ somersault on her fourth attempt — at 3.3 her most difficult dive — but poor efforts on the third and fifth dives kept McKay’s score down.

At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, she powered through on essentially one leg with badly torn ankle ligaments to place fourth with partner Meaghan Benfeito.

She should get another chance to reach the podium in Paris, having earned an Olympic quota spot for Canada by advancing to the 12-woman final at worlds last year.

Chinese twins team for artistic swimming gold

In artistic swimming, twins Wang Liuyi and Wang Qianyi teamed to capture another gold medal for China.

The 27-year-old sisters won the women’s duet technical routine with a score of 266.0484 points.

They have combined for eight gold medals over their world championship careers, including two in Doha. They were part of the winning group in the team acrobatic event on Sunday.

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Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe gave Britain its best showing ever at worlds, capturing the silver with marks of 259.5601.

Spain’s Alisa Ozhogina Ozhogin and Iris Tio Casa settled for bronze at 258.0333, repeating their finish from 2023.

Audrey Lamothe of Montreal and two-time Olympian Jacqueline Simoneau of Saint-Laurent, Que., were seventh (247.1533).

On Saturday, the 27-year-old Simoneau captured Canada’s first artistic swimming medal in women’s solo technical since 2011 with silver.

WATCH | Simoneau swims to silver on Saturday in women’s solo technical:

Canada’s Jacqueline Simoneau swims to silver in Doha

The Canadian just missed gold in the artistic solo technical program at the World Aquatic Championships.

China also took gold in men’s solo technical, courtesy Yang Shuncheng.

The 16-year-old earned gold with the final swim of the men’s event, amassing 246.4766 points. He edged Italy’s Giorgio Minisini (245.3166), with the bronze going to Colombia’s Gustavo Sanchez (231.0000).

Artistic swimming is split into 11 medal-winning opportunities at the world championships. There are only two events on the Olympic program, duet and team.

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