SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Meaghan Benfeito of Montreal won Canada’s first gold medal at the Pan American junior diving championships on Friday with a victory on the women’s 10-metre tower.
Benfeito’s win highlighted a second consecutive four-medal day for Canada. Cam McLean of Winnipeg, Monica Gavaris of Montreal and Myriam Selmani of Laval, Que., also stepped on the podium. After two days of competition Canada has eight medals (one gold, four silver and three bronze).
In the women’s 16-18 age group tower, Benfeito was the winner with 384.95 points, Arantxa Elizabeth Chavez Munoz of Mexico was second at 374.15 and Vennie Dantin of the U.S., third at 361.00. Jennifer Abel of Montreal was fourth at 353.40.
‘’ I had a great start to the competition but my optional dives could have been better,’’ said Benfeito, 18, a bronze medallist in the event at the world juniors last year. ‘’Still considering I haven’t competed since July it’s a solid performance and I’m pleased to win a gold in my last junior competition.’’
In girls 11 and under one-metre, Sarah Bacon of the U.S., was the winner 242.95, Gavaris took the silver at 229.15 and Wallace Layland of the U.S., was third at 224.55. Frederique Lalonde of Montreal was fifth.
‘’I’m very surprised to get a medal,’’ said Gavaris, 11. ‘’The Americans came here with a very strong team. I just tried to do my best.’’
In the girls 12-13 age group three-metre, Kassidy Cook of the U.S., completed a golden springboard sweep with 331.30 points, Monica Amaral of Brazil was second at 297.70 and Selmani took the bronze at 291.50. Cassidy-Nora Gagnon-Lenihan of Beaconsfield, Que., was fifth.
‘’This is really super,’’ said Selmani, savouring her second bronze of the competition. ‘’Generally it went well but my take-offs could have been better. I was pleased to get strong marks on my back two and half. It’s a dive that’s taken me a long time to learn.’’