Saanich divers seek gold at junior nationals

Eleven Boardworks diving team members at Speedo Junior Diving Nationals in Quebec this week

Emily Schmidt is hoping to reach the podium with gold in all three diving events - the 1m

A pair of Saanich divers have record-setting goals in mind as they compete at the Speedo Junior Nationals starting tomorrow in Pointe Clare, Que.

A veteran of the Canadian diving scene at just 18, Rachel Kemp wants to make a lasting impression in her final junior nationals appearance with a new record on the 10-metre platform.

She wouldn’t be the first Boardworks diver to set a record on her way out of the junior age group (16-18) – Olympian Riley McCormick did it in 2009.

Like Kemp, Emily Schmidt has her eyes on setting some new records too.

Between warm-ups on the trampoline at Saanich Commonwealth Place last week, she was asked which ones. The ambitious 12-year-old said, “All three of them.”

Schmidt’s goal is to set new Canadian marks in the one- and three-metre springboard events and on the 10m platform for the 12- and 13-year-old age group.

“I know from previous events I have a chance to do it,” she said. “I like to entertain myself with the challenge of setting (high scores).”

It’s safe to say the Royal Oak middle school student is the next big thing on the national diving scene, said Boardworks coach Tommy McLeod.

Most recently Schmidt broke Kemp’s Boardworks club record on the 3m at the Speedo Sting meet, held in their home dive tank at Commonwealth Place in March.

“Club records are hard to break because of Rachel,” Schmidt said, noting that Kemp is also a positive role model.

As Kemp hits the senior scene, her Boardworks’ records will continue to be a challenge to knock down for Schmidt.

Only 21-year-old Meghan Benfeito of Montreal’s CAMO diving club finished ahead of Kemp on the 10m platform at the senior nationals last month in Edmonton.

Kemp graduated from Claremont secondary in June and though she has yet to write her S.A.T. exams, NCAA recruiters are hoping to get her on their school team.

Kemp, however, won’t be diving for a university team until 2012-13. Instead she’ll take the year off to train in Saanich for the 2012 Olympics. So will McCormick, putting on hold his studies and competition after two years at the University of Arizona.

Unfortunately for Kemp, tendinitis kept her out of competition in March, or she would have had a chance to qualify for the Canadian diving team competing in Shanghai at the World Aquatic Championships, July 16 to 24.

Schmidt and Kemp are among 11 Boardworks divers at this week’s junior nationals. Fifteen-year-old Courtney Hattie is competing in the 16-to-18 age group with Patrick Heaney and Ranna Yamashita, both 17.

Twelve-year-olds Aidan Faminoff, Shaye Tudor and Isaiah Brasset are in the 12-and-13 age group, and Bryden Hattie, Ben Smyth and Graham Goodfellow will compete in 11-and-under group.

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