Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Smooth diver makes big splash

Winnipeg's Harrison, a newcomer to the sport, makes national team

  • Print

On Sunday afternoon, with a shot at a coveted national team spot on the line, Aimee Harrison stepped to the edge of the three-meter springboard, rose to her toes, and made one final plunge into the Pan Am Pool.

That fifth and final dive -- a back one-and-a-half somersault, two-and-a-half-twists -- wasn't the Charleswood woman's highest-scoring dive of the day, but the score still clinched it. Minutes later, Diving Canada chief technical officer Mitch Geller made it official: With her performance at the Diving Canada Winter Nationals this weekend, Harrison, 18, had punched her ticket to join the Canadian national diving team at the Canada Cup in May.

"It feels a little bit surreal," Harrison said, hair still damp from the pool and a grin creeping across her face. "I was pretty steady all weekend, but I was trying not to let it sink in too much. I'm really happy."

When the word of Harrison's advancement came out, Revolutions diving club coach Dallas Ludwick pumped her fist in the air, and mouthed a silent cheer. Going into the weekend, Ludwick believed her protegé could push for a spot in the finals. The fact that she earned a spot on the national team -- well, that seemed more of a dream.

"I knew she had the potential," Ludwick said, noting that Harrison had been "really sharp" on her key dives, including a back two-and-a-half somersault. "She's only been doing this for three years, and to have this kind of result is amazing."

Although the former gymnast only started training seriously as a diver in 2011, her scores hung tough with some of Canada's top divers, including 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Jennifer Abel. Harrison had placed third in the preliminary round, fourth in the semifinals. Then, while a gaggle of family, friends and fellow Revolutions divers cheered from the stands, she clinched her top-four finish.

"I feel like I really attacked in my hurdles," she said, speaking of a drive to hit every position fully. "I was definitely feeling the nerves, but really just sitting by myself and zoning out helped."

So too, perhaps, is the fact Harrison had just flown in from a previous meet. Last weekend, the recently enrolled University of Hawaii student had competed at the NCAA conference championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. Although having two meets only a week apart was stressful, "I think it was beneficial," Harrison said. "I stayed a lot more focused."

That steady performance impressed Geller, who strolled over to high-five the young diver after the meet. "She was remarkably consistent," the Diving Canada chief technical officer said, moments before giving Harrison the good news. "This was the first major nationals where something was at stake for her.... For a newcomer, it's fantastic to see that kind of progress."

Indeed, Harrison's performance was one of several bright lights at the 2013 Winter Nationals. Although the competition was smaller than usual, with 33 divers -- injuries, retirements and a major junior meet next weekend limited the size of the pool -- Geller said he was pleased with the potential on display.

"We're well aware of where we need to improve in order to be in contention for medals in 2016," Geller said, pointing at rising Quebec stars Maxim Bouchard, Philippe Gagne and Vincent Riendeau -- who finished first, second and third on the men's open platform on Sunday -- as talents to watch.

"One area we need more speed, and more power, is the men's three-metre. And we'll see what the kids can do over the next four years."

Friesen in form

THE weekend's Winter Nationals meet marked a welcome return to the podium for one familiar face in Canadian diving. Emma Friesen, of Victoria, B.C., missed almost two seasons due to ankle and shoulder surgeries, illness and the pressures of school. Last year, she started a comeback bid with a third-place showing at the Olympic trials, and followed it up with a sixth-place finish at the 2013 FINA Grand Prix in Madrid last month.

At the Pan Am Pool, Friesen led the women's three-metre springboard after the preliminary round, and finished in third place after the finals with a score of 303.75 -- one spot above her fellow University of Hawaii competitor, Winnipeg's Aimee Harrison.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 4, 2013 C5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Stephen Harper announces increased support for Canadian child protection agencies

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • Geese fight as a male defends his nesting site at the duck pond at St Vital Park Thursday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 08- May 10, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Will Connor McDavid make the Edmonton Oilers a playoff team?

View Results

Ads by Google