After the blip of a bronze on the opening day of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) Diving World Series at the Montreal Olympic pool, China got back to the gold standard on day two, winning both the events they contested and taking silver too.
China’s fourth and fifth golds of this third leg of the Series came from two of its 2016 Olympic champions - Ren Qian in the women’s 10 metre and Cao Yuan in the men’s 3m.
The Chinese divers had come to Canada having won every single event of the two previous legs of the 2018 FINA Diving World Series – a total of 20 golds.
In the mixed 10m synchro, China’s absence allowed new champions to emerge.
Nathan Zsombor-Murray of Canada not only helped his team-mate Meaghan Benfeito become the night’s only double medalilst, he also gave Canada its first gold medal of the event on his 15th birthday.
The women’s 10m final field was so deep that it included every medallist from the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships.
But 17-year-old Ren took the victory by using the same dives - in the same order - that she performed to win gold at Rio 2016.
In Montreal, Ren finished 18.20 points ahead of her 19-year-old teammate Si Yajie, totalling 395.85.
Even in triumph, however, Ren called her performance "average" and said she had to improve "everywhere" before the FINA Diving World Series final in Kazan in Russia, from May 4 until 6.
In third place was Canada's Benfeito who quickly left the pool to start preparing for the mixed 10m synchro event.
Notably missing from the final was North Korea’s Kim Kuk Hyang who failed to advance out of the semi-finals.
Kim, the 2015 world champion in the 10m, missed the final cut by 16.25 points.
The men’s 3m platform final turned into another Chinese contest.
In the end, 1.9 points separated the winner, Cao, from his teammate Xie Siyi, with the champion earning 531.20.
Russia’s Ilia Zakharov placed third.
Cao attributed the victory to his mental fortitude.
"On the board, I only think about the technique and the jump; nothing else," Cao said.
Afterwards, the 2017 world champion Xie said of his silver medal score of 529.30 points: "I’m not very satisfied because in practice in China, I get 550."
In the mixed 10m synchro event, Canada’s Benfeito and Zsombor-Murray improved steadily and overtook North Korea’s Kim Mi Hwa and Hyonn Il Myong on the fifth and final dive to claim the host nation’s first gold medal by 1.50 points, totalling 322.08.
North Korea thus claimed its second silver in Montreal, matching its result from the women’s 10m synchro event on day one.
Hyon said: "We’re happy with the result.
"But we thought we won it after the fourth dive."
The event is due to conclude tomorrow.