Eric Sehn finished a superb afternoon with two near-perfect dives on the 10-metre platform at Saanich Commonwealth Place for the Winter Diving National Championships on Sunday afternoon.
Perfect is something Saanich’s Riley McCormick wasn’t.
With Sehn in first and Winnipeg’s Kevin Geyson holding steady in second, McCormick’s chances dimmed when he misfired on his fourth dive. It scored 64.8, his lowest of the day, and McCormick was almost ready to give up hope.
But the hometown boy pulled it altogether, acing his final dive to claim second place.
“After that fourth dive I thought I was out of it. I told myself there’s nothing else I could do but put more pressure on Geyson,” McCormick said.
“Sehn (519 points) did an amazing job. I would have liked to have gone dive for dive with him, it would have made for a better show.”
Finishing second was critical as it qualified McCormick for the Diving World Cup in February, a test event for the 2012 Olympics in London, England. That was McCormick’s goal from the outset of the nationals and one of the reasons he took leave from competing for Arizona State in the NCAA this year.
Coach Tommy McLeod from Boardworks met up with McCormick after the fifth dive and had a word with him.
“Riley told me he didn’t know why he was diving so badly. I said, ‘it doesn’t matter why, all you have to do is (nail your last dive) the back three and a half (somersault).”
McCormick did, scoring mainly 8.5s with a couple of nines for a 91.8. Added to his other dives, McCormick finished with 463 points – six ahead of Geyson.
McCormick wasn’t the only Victoria diver in the men’s 10m final as Fraser McKean finished fifth with 390 points, 10 shy of qualifying for international events. McKean (Auburn University) and McCormick both graduated from Claremont secondary and have trained together for 15 years.
Sunday was McKean’s best points total at the senior level and his second straight top-five finish at senior nationals, having finished fourth in the summer.
“It’s nice to finally put a list (of dives) together,” McKean said. “There have been injuries and I just haven’t been as consistent. Just 10 points off (going international). Maybe next time.”
Three Boardworks members qualified for the FINA Grand Prix diving series. Rachel Kemp was third on the 10m platform and Celina Toth (Ontario) was sixth. Emma Friesen was fourth on the 3m. Shane Miszkiel (Ohio State University) came fifth on the 3m springboard. Fifteen-year-old Courtney Hattie impressed at the senior level with a top-12 finish on the 3m springboard, though the tower is her specialty, said coach McLeod.