BUDAPEST, Hungary — Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu and Jennifer Abel claimed Canada's first medal at the world swimming championships Monday with a silver in women's three-metre springboard synchronized diving.
Citrini-Beaulieu of St-Constant, Que., and Abel of Laval, Que., finished with an inward 2-1/2 somersaults pike to finish with 323.43 points.
"We stayed focused, at the end I knew we were on the podium but I was just happy with the performance that we did," Abel said. "Bringing back a silver makes everything even more beautiful."
Shi Tingmao and Chang Yani captured China's ninth straight world title in the event. The pair led from the first round and produced an almost-perfect forward 2-1/2 somersaults, one twist pike in the fifth for a total of 333.30 points.
The Canadians qualified for the final in second place after the morning preliminary, and held their spot in the afternoon with their season-best score. Now with four world championship medals, Abel became the most decorated non-Chinese athlete in women's three-meter springboard.
"I didn't know that, it feels great, and it was part of the plan," she said. "Every time I compete it's to be on the podium. Having one more medal makes my career even better at the end."
While Abel knew a medal was possible, she didn't put undue pressure on Citrini-Beaulieu, who was making her world championship debut.
"We didn't put the standard too high, we just wanted to do great, like we were doing in practice," Able said. "We were in control of everything."
Shi claimed her sixth gold medal in diving at the worlds and her fourth in this event.
"First of all, I feel really happy we won this gold medal, and then I would like to mention that my partner is only 15 and (this) was her first (worlds), so I feel very happy for her," Shi said.
Kristina Ilinykh and Nadezhda Bazhina won the bronze for Russia, its first of the championships and sixth medal overall.
After their fifth dive, with the silver medal clinched, Citrini-Beaulieu spun Abel around with a big hug.
"It's the representation of the entire year, the work, the stress," said Citrini-Beaulieu, who was paired up with Abel at the start of the season after Pamela Ware, Abel's partner at the 2016 Rio Olympics, was injured. "It was just a relief."
Chinese domination of diving continued in the men's 10-metre platform, where Chen Aisen and Yang Hao delivered China's fifth gold of the championships.
It was Chen's second gold in this event after winning at the 2015 worlds with Lin Yue.
"The last time my partner was a stable, calm person (Lin), and this time I came with a new partner (Yang). So it was a challenge. The last time was a more relaxed competition," Chen said.
Russia's Aleksandr Bondar and Viktor Minibaev, almost 40 points behind, came closest to the Chinese for the silver, and Germany's first medal of the week went to third-placed Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein.
The latter equalled the record of three medals in this event at the worlds, after winning in 2013 in Barcelona and claiming silver in 2011.
"We couldn't be more satisfied," Hausding said. He said it was the last dive for Klein, who retired. "This was our last competition as a team so getting a medal at the end, with all our family and friends watching, is everything we could ask for."
— With files from The Associated Press.
The Canadian Press
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