By Jenna Adlam
The Nepean Ottawa Diving Club’s Henry McKay made his mark at the 2018 Speedo Junior Elite National Diving Championship in Winnipeg.
McKay has won plenty of medals since he began diving 12 years ago when he was only six years old, but at the beginning he did not think he would go this far; especially with the sport that started as a babysitting technique and something he could do while his older sisters swam. Even his parents were quite surprised when his coach told them just how talented he was at such a young age. But with his results at this year’s national championships and how far he has come, it is evident that he was meant to be diving.
The national championships took place May 31 to June 3. McKay’s first dive was the open 3 m synchro, with partner Victor Povzner. McKay and Povzner were first paired by Dive Canada about nine months ago to compete at the 2017 Pan American Junior Diving Championship. In Winnipeg they won gold in the 3m synchro.
McKay and Povzner competed against each other in each of their next two dives, the 1 m individual dive and the 3 m individual dive. In the 1 m, McKay earned a silver while falling short behind Povzner, who earned the gold medal. But, In the 3m dive, McKay bested his partner with a silver, while Povzner finished a spot behind him with the bronze.
“Sometimes it is tough [to compete against Victor],” McKay said, adding that in diving there is a family-like atmosphere. “We all have fun competing against each other. Victor and I are still quite competitive towards each other, but we always support each other,”
McKay prepared for the national championships with plenty of mental work to help boost confidence and practice. Closer to the meet, he said started focusing on pin point corrections needed on his dives. He says that he has never gotten used to the feeling of placing when it is big competitions such as this one. Throughout the competition and when it is completed, he is filled with adrenaline and emotion.
“It almost feels automatic until the last dive, then everything is released,” McKay states.
“It is a pretty amazing feeling that I chase at every competition.”
Winning gold and two silvers also qualified McKay for the FINA World Junior Diving Championships to be held in Kiev, Ukraine in July.
Kathryn Grant of the Ottawa National Diving Club also won a bronze medal in the 1 m of girls ages 14-15 at the Junior Elite National Diving Championship.