By Brendan Shykora
The summer of success continued for Henry McKay at the 2018 FINA World Junior Championships. The Ottawa diver headed into the competition having won gold with Victor Povzner, his synchro partner, at their last two international competitions. They completed the natural hat-trick at the world juniors.
The tandem racked up a score of 300.33 in the boys 3 metre synchro event to earn their third international gold in as many tries.
“We watched the competition and we knew we had another chance for a medal. We just had to dive our best, and with a little bit of luck we ended up with the gold,” McKay said.
McKay was paired with Povzner 10 months ago by Diving Canada ahead of the Junior Pan Ams in Victoria, BC. “They saw that we probably jumped the same height, spun the same speed and they thought we would be good together,” the Nepean Ottawa Diving Club product said.
McKay and Povzner won gold at those Pan Ams. They’ve been competing together ever since.
At 18 years old, McKay is already accustomed to big competitions and high-pressure dives, but the events in Kiev, Ukraine from July 23-29 went beyond anything he’d ever experienced before.
“The 3 m had about 48 athletes and my 1 m event had 45, which is the longest event I’ve ever heard of. The prelims ended up taking over four hours, and usually they take an hour and a half.”
McKay finished 4th in the final of the 1 m. Though he missed a medal by a handful of points he was elated: his 507.65 score was a new personal best.
“This 507 means a lot more because it was at an international competition where the judging was a lot harder, so I feel a lot more accomplished.”
These were McKay’s first and last FINA world juniors as he’ll move to the senior age group next year.
Back in Gatineau at the 2018 Summer Senior Nationals for diving in early August, McKay bested Povzner in the men’s 1 m to win gold with a score of 367.20. His partner placed 2nd. McKay placed a spot behind Povzner in the 3 m, with a score of 403 behind his partner’s 408, to win the bronze medal in the competition.
After qualifying for Grand Prix events at the senior nationals in early August, he’s now waiting for word from Diving Canada to see which international cities he’ll be travelling to in the near future.
Stremlaw bears flag at artistic swimming worlds
Days before McKay took to the springboard in Kiev, Kristin Stremlaw was in the pool in Budapest with Canada’s artistic swimming team at the FINA Junior World Championships.
The team finished 7th in both the team-technical and team-free finals out of 22 nations that competed. Both categories saw Team Russia win gold, the Ukrainian hosts take silver and Japan earn bronze.
Stremlaw was pleased with her team’s performance against the best teams in the world: “A top-eight nation in any sport is something we should be proud of and celebrate.”
Stremlaw wore her Canadian pride before even hopping in the pool as one-half of Canada’s flag-bearing duo with Calgary’s Teah Hoffmann.
“That really was a feeling I cannot describe,” remarked the Nepean Synchro swimmer of seven years.
The honour of flag-bearer was well-deserved by Stremlaw; she has been with junior national teams for the past three years, and in 2017 she was the youngest swimmer to make Canada’s senior NextGen team.
Now, after receiving a scholarship to Ohio State University, she’s ready to continue her athletic journey in the NCAA. Ohio State is the place to be for an artistic swimmer; the Buckeyes are the national champions two years running.
“I want to compete, and it would mean so much to be an NCAA national champion. I believe Ohio State gives me the best opportunity to be part of something special.”
Seltenreich-Hodgson selected for Pan Pacific team
Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson of the Greater Ottawa Kingfish was selected to race for Canada at this month’s Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo. Seltenreich-Hodgson recently competed for Canada at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Earlier this year she finished her U Sports swimming career with a six-medal performance at the 2018 U Sports Swimming Championships.