In an action-packed Saturday in Montreal, the day began with two diving events where the meet officials didn’t even have to change the order of the flags for the medal presentations. First, the People’s Republic of China, Great Britain, and Mexico finished 1-2-3 in the men’s 3m synchro (although China’s victory wasn’t runaway; Long Daoyi made a slip-up in the second round dropping the team to sixth).  A few hours later, the same nations also went 1-2-3 in the women’s 10m synchro, led by China’s Chen Yuxi and Quan Hongchan who earned nine perfect scores.  

Later, in the individual events, two-time women’s 3m world champion Chen Yiwen claimed gold for China on the springboard, Sarah Bacon of the US took silver, and the new world champion, Chang Yani, placed third.  The night ended with the men’s 10m final, in which the 2024 world champ Yang Hao claimed gold and Mexico’s Randal Willars Valdez set a personal best score to take silver, just 2.10 points behind Yang. Lian Junjie placed third. For details and athlete reactions, read on.

Men’s 3m Synchro

Image Source: Antoine Saito, World Aquatics

In the men’s 3-meter synchro, multi-world champions from China, Long Daoyi and Wang Zongyuan made an uncharacteristic mistake in the second round on a simple reverse pike with 2.0 degree of difficulty. Long’s feet were at the edge of the board on takeoff, and the two men landed in very different places in the pool.  They earned 40.80 points for the dive, the lowest score of all 10 teams in that round, dropping from first place to sixth. But they rebounded immediately to regain the lead in the next dive and held onto first all the way to a 464.79-point win.

Great Britain and Mexico battled for silver and bronze – with identical dive lists, in identical order. Eventually, Anthony Harding, 23, and Jack Laugher, 29, took second place with 410.64 points – less than one point ahead of the new pair from Mexico, Rodrigo Diego Lopez, 27, and 19-year-old dynamo Osmar Olvera Ibarra who claimed the bronze.

After winning gold, Long, 20, explained his error on dive No. 2. “There was a lack of confidence,” he said, despite his previous World Championship gold medals in 2023 and 2024 in this event. 

Long’s partner, Wang, 22, immediately knew there was a problem. “I realized during the hurdle that the position was different,” Wang said, “but I already took off so there is no time for adjustments. I could only perform my own dive. After that, we just want to perform to the best of our ability for the rest of the dives.”

Runner-up Laugher said of the battle for silver: “Our fifth dive [a 3.8 DD forward 4½] wasn’t quite as good as [Mexico’s]. They caught up, and we had the same dive to finish on [a 3.9 DD forward 2½ with 3 twists]. We edged out slightly with our synchronicity scores. But the new Mexican team is obviously very strong and we’ll keep an eye on them for the rest of the year.”

Bronze medalists Diego Lopez and Olvera Ibarra have only been training together for eight months. They made their debut at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, won gold, and Diego Lopez estimated that Montreal was “like our sixth time training.” They plan to stay together for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Mexico announced its team last week. Diego Lopez said, “Osmar is doing individual 3m and synchro with me.”

Also of note: 2024 World Championship bronze medalists Adrian Abadia and Nicolas Garcia Boissier of Spain placed fourth, ahead of the 2024 World Championship silver medalists, Lorenzo Marsaglia and Giovanni Tocci of Italy who placed sixth.

Women’s 10m Synchro

Image Source: Antoine Saito, World Aquatics

Next, China’s Chen Yuxi, 18, and Quan Hongchan, 16, won the women’s 10m synchro title with 368.82 points, aided by nine perfect scores of 10 (even if they didn’t all count due to diving’s scoring protocol).

Silver and bronze came down to the same final dive by both pairs in contention, Great Britain and Mexico. Mexico did their back 2½ with 1½ twists first, so the Brits, Andrea Spendolini Sirieix, 19, and Lois Toulson, 24, knew they needed more than 72.54 points on their dive to place second. They did, and their final tally of 301.14 points was a mere 3.30 points ahead of the 2020 Olympic bronze medalists Gabriela Agundez Garcia, 23, and Alejandra Orozco Loza, 26, who ended the day with 297.84 points.

Afterwards, gold medalist Chen said she wasn’t necessarily surprised that China’s perfect scores came in round two (a reverse pike with 2.0 DD) and round five (a back 2½ with 1½ twists), adding, “I can do much better.” As for Olympic selection and whether there will be trials, Chen said, “I don’t know. Federation selects. We have no idea about this.”

For Spendolini Sirieix, it was her second silver medal so far at the 2024 Diving World Cup. After helping Great Britain take silver in the mixed team event on Friday to cap a long day that also included her 10m prelims, she was very excited to report that her recovery entailed 11 hours of sleep. “I woke up at 8:20 today,” she said, beaming – “the first time I’d slept past 8 since I’ve been here!”

The bronze medalists from Mexico are now in their sixth year competing together and were already looking ahead to this summer’s Olympic Games. Orozco Loza said of the pivotal last dive, “We were okay with it, but there’s still time before Paris to make it better so we’re going to work on it.”

Notably: Canada’s Caeli McKay, 24, and Kate Miller, 18, lifted the host nation’s medal hopes in two of the early rounds but ultimately placed fourth, less than 10 points behind Mexico.

Women’s 3m

Image Source: Antoine Saito, World Aquatics

The women’s 3m final featured world champions past (Chen Yiwen, 2022, 2023) and present (Chang Yani), as well as world bronze medalists Maddison Keeney of Australia (2019), and Pamela Ware of Canada (2013, 2023). 

In the end, Chen, 24, said she was extra motivated after losing her world title just four weeks ago in Doha. She took the lead in round one and never let go, earning 395.60 points for her five dives. The 27-year-old Sarah Bacon of the US finally found consistency she had been seeking and not only overtook world champion Chang Yani, 22, on her final dive, but nearly set a personal best en route to silver, with 356.40 points. Chang Yani placed third, saying afterwards that her takeoff on her final dive, a forward 2½ with 1 twist pike, left her head position too low to execute it as cleanly as she wanted. It scored only 54.00 points, leaving her with 344.40.

Chen said after accepting the gold medal that she was “not really happy about result in Doha, so I’m still trying to get better. I’m still trying to make myself more stable on my five dives.” 

Bacon, the runner-up, who has been competing internationally on the senior circuit since 2019, said “I’m happy walking away with second place. Hopefully it keeps going up from here. Physically, I’ve gotten in really good shape of the last two years which has really helped my diving. Consistency-wise, I’ve been working on relaxing during competition and enjoying it. In the past, I used to get stressed out and anxious, so having fun has really helped".

“I knew I was going to be close, for sure, after I got through round three,” Bacon added. “My last two dives are always pretty consistent, so after I hit those first three, I was like okay, we can kind of relax a little more, get through these next two, and I knew I was going to be close to a personal best.”

Men’s 10m

Image Source: Antoine Saito, World Aquatics

In the men’s 10m final, the 2024 World Champion Yang Hao, 26, won by a mere 2.10 points over Mexico’s Randal Willars Valdez, 21. China’s Lian Junjie, 23, inched his way up the leaderboard from eighth place to second after the fourth dive, then trouble hit and he salvaged the meet by tying for the top score (99.90) on his last dive, a forward 4½, to place third – just ahead of Canada’s Nathan Zsombor-Murray, 20, who had been in the top three for his first four dives.

Gold medalist Yang Hao said he felt the same pressure each round, but he didn’t always feel ready to dive in each round, “not enough time for warming up,” he explained.

Silver medalist Willars Valdez said, “In my prelims, I didn’t feel well, but today I went for it and I think I did a good job. Yeah, only a few points [more and it would have meant gold] but that’s sport; 530.90 points I got is my personal best. Next time I’m going to win. I’m already on the Olympic team for Paris.”

Lian, the bronze medalist, said, “When I make mistakes, it always happens in the fifth round. Today, it was a very bad fifth-round dive [a back 3 ½ pike that earned 64.80 points after his fourth-round dive earned a perfect 10 from one judge] so the emotion affected my performance. I need to be more confident.”