MONTREAL – Blythe Hartley of Calgary competed for the first time since May and won the gold medal Thursday on women’s three-metre open the 12-country CAMO International Invitational diving competition being held this week at the Claude-Robillard Centre.
Hartley tabulated 353.55 points with a consistent performance. Christina Loukas of the U.S., was second at 321.45 and Olympic medallist Chantelle Newbery of Australia third at 312.10.
‘’I’m very happy with today’s performance,’’ said Hartley, who took a break this spring and summer and returned training in September. ‘’I didn’t have any expectations here. I was little nervous and I just wanted to get the cobwebs out. It went well so I’m pleased.’’
Jennifer Abel of Montreal took sixth spot, Meaghan Benfeito of Montreal was eighth, Melanie Rinaldi of Pointe-Claire, Que., ninth Hailey Casper of Calgary 12th and Pamela Ware of Montreal 13th.
‘’I’ve worked very hard in preparation for this competition,’’ said Abel. ‘’While making the team wasn’t a major goal I would have been disappointed if it hadn’t happened.’’
The competition is also a qualifying meet for the FINA World Cup next February. Hartley and Abel gain berths on the squad as the top-two Canadians. For Abel it’s her first major team selection at the senior level.
In women’s synchronized three-metre, Ariel Rittenhouse and Kelci Bryant of the U.S., took the gold at 294.90, Benfeito and Abel were second at 286.71 and Tandi Gerrard and Hayley Sage of Britain third at 266.79.
‘’It went well although we messed up some dives,’’ said Abel who won Pan Am junior gold with Benfeito last month. ‘’We had two new dives in our list so we’re still pretty satisfied with the performance.’’
Sabrina Beaupré and Véronique Lemieux of Montreal were fourth and Ainsley Oliver and Kesha Naylor of Saskatoon sixth.
In junior competition, Canada won six medals. For the women, Frederique Lalonde of Montreal took gold in the 12-13 age group three-metre while Kesha Naylor of Saskatoon and Jo-Annie Dubois of Gatineau, Que., were second and third in the 14-15 one-metre.
Michael Bradley Photography