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Drying to dive
By CRAIG SKINNER, Free Press Sports Reporter

Friday, August 24, 2001


Martha Dale gave the credit for her gold medal in the women's three-metre springboard diving final to an unusual source -- a hair dryer. "It was cold in here," she said of the conditions at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre last night. "There was no hot water in the showers and the hot tub was cold, too. I just don't move well in the cold, so I struggled in the preliminaries. "But then I started warming myself up under the dryer between dives. It really helped me to get back on track and win." Once she warmed up, Dale, 19, of Edmonton put together a stellar performance that was good enough to win her second gold medal of the Games. She also won gold in the one-metre springboard on Tuesday. Dale snatched the gold away from Mariane Allaire-Morin, who had the lead going into the last dive.

Dale scored a 66.12 on her last dive for a total of 484.20 points. Allaire-Morin, 18, of Laval, scored a 57.12 on her last dive to give her a total of 478.44, less than six points back.

Allaire-Morin was pleased with her performance at the Games, as she won one gold and two silver medals, but she said she knows she could have done better. "I made some little mistakes on a few dives and it cost me a chance at three gold medals," she said. "I'm happy with what I was able to do, but I'm a little disappointed I didn't win more gold medals." Dale said she hopes her results at the Games will lead to bigger and better things. "I'm very excited. This was a great experience," she said. "Hopefully this can help me make the national team, so I can get a chance to compete at international events.

Emmanuelle Dupuis, 15, of Montreal, won the bronze medal. Quebec picked up two more medals in the men's platform, the second final of the night.

Nicolas Leblanc won gold on the final dive. Leblanc scored a 77.76 on his last dive of the six-dive final -- an inward 3 1/2 somersault tuck -- for a total of Leblanc, 17, of Montreal defeated Adam Morgan, of Portugal Cove, Nfld., by just over 10 points. Julio Abate, 16, of Montreal, won bronze, his second bronze of the Games. Leblanc said winning his first medal at the Games was a huge thrill. "I'm feeling very good. I'm very excited," he said. "I'm shaking right now." As soon as Leblanc hit the water he said knew he had won. Morgan knew it too.

"It was frustrating to come so close and know I just missed out on the gold," said Morgan, 20, who won a gold and two silver medals. "But I'm happy to have just been able to get through this." Morgan said he was far less than 100 per cent last night. "My back was killing me -- I almost told my coach I wasn't going to dive in the final. But I iced it down . . . and the Newfoundland fans helped me get through the pain."

One diver who was definitely feeling no pain last night was Riley McCormick. McCormick, 9, of Victoria, was all smiles, happy about making the final. "It was a great experience. The whole thing was a lot of fun." McCormick wowed the crowd in the semifinals, scoring two perfect 10s on his first ever dive from the 10-metre platform in competition. McCormick's coach, Trevor Palmatier, said the dive showed McCormick's potential. "It was a great dive. I knew he could do it," he said. "It shows just how much he's capable of in the future."

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