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Swimming - 22. January 2008.

Hartley and Abel win medals for Canada on three-metre at Spain Grand Prix

MADRID – Blythe Hartley of North Vancouver, B.C., and Jennifer Abel of Laval, Que., won silver and bronze medals respectively on Saturday on women’s three-metre springboard at the opening stop on the FINA Grand Prix diving circuit.

Zi He of China won the gold medal with 371.40 points, Hartley followed at 336.30 and Abel, 16, took the bronze at 302.30. Hartley led after the first round of dives in the final with a strong inward two and half but couldn’t keep pace with Zi the rest of the way.

‘’This is a good way to start the year,’’ said Hartley, a four-time world championship medallist. ‘’I wanted to get back into the beat of competition and I came out with a steady performance. My goal was go out there and let my dives flow naturally. And that’s what happened.’’

Abel collected her first individual Grand Prix medal. She was ahead of Hartley after three rounds in the final but didn’t repeat those scores on her last two dives.

‘’I really wasn’t expecting to leave here with a medal,’’ said Abel, a bronze medallist in the event at the 2006 world juniors. ‘’The big dive for me was my front three and half in the second round. That earned me a lot of points. It’s a dive I’ve been doing well in practice and it was great to duplicate that in the competition.’’

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