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News from the Canadian Games
Aug 21-24, 2001 Ontario CAN
Canada Games Aquatic Centre


Wednesday, August 22, 2001
Back with a splash


By CRAIG SKINNER, Free Press Sports Reporter

 Martha Dale quit diving for six years and her fellow competitors at the Canada Summer Games probably wished she never came back. That's because Dale won the gold medal in the women's one-metre springboard final yesterday at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre. Dale, 19, of Edmonton, was a diver for four years before quitting for gymnastics. But after six years, she decided to give diving another try. "I was at a pool and I ran into my old coach. I did a dive and he said, 'Wow, that was great. You should come back and dive again.' " She did and fell in love with the sport all over again. She's been back diving more than a year and trained 20 hours a week for the Games.

"It feels really good (to win)," she said. "A lot of hard work went into this and to win gold is a great reward." Dale said she had to battle nerves as Mariane Allaire-Morin of Laval, Que., kept doing great dives just before it was Dale's turn to dive. "It was a little nerve-racking," Dale said. "We were very close and she kept doing really good dives and putting the pressure on me to match them. But I just tried to ignore what everyone else was doing and focused on doing my dives just like I do them in practice."

Her approach worked. She scored a total of 270.9 points in five dives to win gold. Allaire-Morin finished less than nine points behind for silver. Allaire-Morin was happy with silver but knew the gold had just slipped through her fingers.

"My goal was to get a medal and I did that. So I'm happy," the 18-year-old said. "But I know that little mistakes cost me first place. "I know that I can dive better than I did tonight. If I did my dives better I could have won the gold medal." She was particularly unhappy with her forward 2 1/2 somersault tuck dive in the final.

"I always do that one better in practice. I could have done it better here," she said of the dive that was given a score of 49.68. While Allaire-Morin was left wondering what might have been, Hillary Nichols was just happy to get a medal. Nichols, 19, of Thunder Bay, said she fed off the pro-Ontario crowd to put together a bronze medal-winning performance.

"It was really cool with everyone rooting me on. The crowd was great. They got me so pumped up." After the second diving final of the night, the men's three-metre springboard, Adam Morgan had to stop in the middle of an interview -- he had an important call to take.\ "Hi, Nan, guess what?" he said to his grandmother. "I won a gold medal."

Morgan, 20, of Portugal Cove, Nfld, won his province's first gold of the Games. "It's a thrill to win," he said. "I'm just really happy to be a part of this and I'm so glad that I can bring a gold medal back home." Morgan won the gold in dramatic fashion, winning on his final dive. Heading into the final round of the six-dive final he was tied with Quebec's Christian Picard for first. But Morgan came through when it mattered, scoring a 63.51 on his final dive, for a total of 596.97. Picard could only score a 54 on his last dive, giving him the silver medal with a total score of 587.46 Julio Abate, 16, of Montreal, won the bronze medal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Young diver wins hearts of crowd

By CRAIG SKINNER, Free Press Sports Reporter

 The entire crowd at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre was behind Riley McCormick yesterday. And his coach, Trevor Palmatier, had a good idea why. "Everyone loves the underdog, or the cute little kid, and he's both," he said. "The crowd really supported him." McCormick, a nine-year-old diver from Victoria, B.C., rode the cheers to the semifinals of the 2001 Canada Summer Games men's three-metre springboard competition. But that's where the ride stopped. He finished 14th out of 24 divers.

McCormick had a score of 441.69 after 11 dives, missing out on the 12-diver final by just over 30 points. Despite missing the final, McCormick was pleased with his effort. "I'm happy with what I accomplished," he said. "But I think I could have done better."

Palmatier wasn't too sure of that assessment. "He really stepped up to the plate. He was great," Palmatier said. "He only missed one of 11 dives. It was a very good performance." McCormick's teammate, Bailey Gao, said he thought McCormick did well. "He was pretty solid. He dove very well," Gao said. "I don't know how many nine-year-olds could handle what he's doing." Palmatier said the competition is tough and he wasn't surprised McCormick didn't advance to the final. "The precision is there, but the level of difficulty for his dives and his strength is not quite there yet," he said. "When you compare a nine-year-old with a 20-year-old, you see the difference in maturity.

"The person who has been through puberty is usually going to win." That was the case yesterday and McCormick expects more of the same today in the one-metre springboard competition. "It's going to be difficult (today). The competition is even tougher than I expected and the one-metre is not really my board. I'm just going to try to do my best." He said his best chance to make a final is tomorrow in the men's platform competition.

While McCormick might not win a medal this week, he has already won the hearts of the fans. "I think it's great that he can compete against the older divers," said Anna Katolyk of London. "Diving is a very competitive sport and for him to have the capability to (make the Canada Summer Games) is fabulous." Katolyk said seeing McCormick compete has a positive effect on young divers like her daughter, Laryssa, 10, who is a member of the Forest City Diving Club.

"He's an inspiration to young divers," Katolyk said. "He shows you can achieve a lot -- even if you're still young."

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