Diving | Meaghan Benfeito proud of her career

Son friend and her father “tried hard” to convince Meaghan Benfeito to pursue her diving career. Come on, three short years until the Paris Olympics in 2024… “They love to see me dive so much. »

Posted yesterday at 3:06 p.m.

Simon Drouin

Simon Drouin
The Press

On the other hand, her mother understood the wear and tear she could feel after 25 years in the sport, the last 17 at the highest level.

“She knew how much my body hurt, that I was physically and mentally tired. »

On the phone, Wednesday morning, Benfeito was clearly serene to draw a line under high-level sport. She had just confided in the microphone of her best friend Roseline Filion, sports columnist at All one morningICI Radio-Canada Première morning show.

The interview took place in the image of his journey: in a good mood, with a big smile. Benfeito only cracked (a little) at the end, when Filion congratulated her.

“There’s only her to make me cry!” “Launched Benfeito after the end of the show. Sitting next to her, Filion was laughing.

“She understands what I’m going through. I’m really at peace with my decision. I am proud of my journey, of my career, of what I have accomplished. That’s why I’m able not to cry, to laugh. I’ve cried enough in my career! »

The last two years have been particularly difficult with the pandemic, the fire in his condo, a chronic elbow injury, the death of his two grandmothers and a grandfather.

Four weeks before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, her new synchro partner Caeli McKay tore ligaments in her ankle. The Canadian duo finished just off the podium.

A few days later, Benfeito missed the individual platform final by just one place. In tears, she had refused to speculate on her immediate future and the possibility of playing a final season.

She had seen Alexandre Despatie and Émilie Heymans retire before her. And especially Roseline Filion, who bowed out after the Rio Games, where the Canadian pair won bronze. His lifelong accomplice gave him one piece of advice: above all, don’t hurry.

Thoughtful decision

Benfeito therefore waited for the unveiling of the national team and the Canadian championships played this weekend in Saskatchewan to announce his carefully considered decision.

“Like any athlete, we don’t want to finish on a bad note. I wanted a final at the Games, I wanted a medal. But it was important to take the time to know exactly what I wanted. Then the main competitions were postponed or canceled. I didn’t miss training that much. »

I made the rounds of what I had to accomplish. It was really time for me to hang up my jersey.

Meaghan Benfeito

Although she had been diving practically full time for a quarter of a century, Benfeito is not jumping into the void. Since January, she has been an educator in an early childhood center with her little sister Chelsea. This one has a twin, Alicia, who works in another CPE.

“My sisters are very excited about my retirement! Because the next goal, the next dream, is to open a three-person home daycare. We are working on that. »

A participant in four presentations of the Olympic Games, Benfeito won three bronze medals there. Only Heymans, who was an inspiration, did better in Canada with four podiums. Individual medalist in Rio, her highest achievement, the Montrealer will forever be associated with Roseline Filion, with whom she made a name for herself by winning bronze at the World Championships in Montreal in 2005.

Benfeito leaves, but she will never be far from the dive. Last year, she helped out at the club in Regina, where her boyfriend Alexandre Dupuis played football for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

She loved her experience, but she will never become a coach: “I love diving, it was my passion, but I had a hard time watching it. Everything scared me! »

Without seeing herself as a mentor, she wants to offer her advice to the athletes of the next generation.

“Just being there for them, showing them that dreams come true when you work. It’s going to be difficult, you’re going to cry, you’re going to hurt, but the day you realize your dream, it’s all worth it. »

Especially when you keep smiling.

A lot of

Favorite city?

City, Barcelona, ​​Country, Australia. Barcelona because of the amazing view from the pool. Australia because it’s nice and warm and everyone is incredibly nice there!

The most beautiful swimming pool?

That of the Olympic Stadium.

A dive you could do again with your eyes closed?

I thought about that not long ago! The front three and a half, the 107B.

A dive you would never do again?

There are two: the reverse three and a half and the backward three and a half. Never again !

A diver or a diver that you particularly admire?

Melissa Wu from Australia. I grew up with her. I have known her since 2004, 2005. She is a determined woman. She opened her gym. She does a lot of things outside of diving. It’s fun to be able to chat with someone outside of competitions.

One thing you couldn’t afford during your career that you’ll be particularly happy to do?

Eat crisps. More often than before!

What will you miss the most?

From the gang, my team.

What will you be the least bored of?

Dive! Make lists five times a day at 10m.

A comedic moment?

We laughed my whole career. Can’t name a single thing.

The defining moment?

The bronze medal in 2005 with Roseline.

The most difficult moment?

The two years of pandemic. The fire, the confinements, Caeli’s injury.

A notable person?

Roseline.

Any advice you would give to a young diver?

Simply believe in your dreams.

What sets someone who is physically gifted like Meaghan apart is their heightened ability to compete, and that’s what we’ve seen time and time again in Meaghan. His contribution to our sport is immeasurable. She showed everyone the power of focus and determination in times of great adversity. When nothing seemed to be going her way, she was able to turn the tide and pull off victories when no one thought it was possible. Meaghan’s perseverance throughout her long career has inspired countless young athletes. She is a true diving hero.

Diving Canada Technical Director Mitch Geller in a statement

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