It didn’t take long for Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito to find success.
Just a couple months after competing in their first international competition together, the 10m synchronized divers won bronze at the 2005 FINA World Championships.
“It was really cool and unexpected,” said Benfeito. “In that third performance we had at the world championships, we came out with a bronze medal. It was unexpected but we worked hard. From that day it’s been, ‘ok, we know how to do this, we got this.’ And we’ve been together ever since.”
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Benfeito recalls her first Canadian national championship in 2000, where Filion edged her in the preliminary round of individual diving by .10 points.
“Right after that is where we started building a relationship,” said Benfeito. “Starting synchro in 2004 is where our relationship got a lot closer. I think I’ve known her my whole life.”
The two have come long way since that Canadian championship in Thunder Bay. The duo have travelled the world competing in international competitions – and they’ve had plenty of success.
Along with winning gold at last year’s Pan Am Games in Toronto, the Pointe-Claire Diving Club members finished atop the podium at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. They also won silver at the 2013 and 2015 world championships.
“You really have to work for your medal and that’s something I realized right after we came seventh,” Benfeito said about the team’s Olympic debut at Beijing 2008. “The harder you work, the more results that will come.”
“I don’t think (the Olympic Games) are anything different. Every competition is the same. We compete against the same people. Every competition, you have to treat it the same. Obviously the Olympics are bigger with a lot more TV and a lot more media. As soon as we go into a competition it’s always got to be the same mindset.”
Filion, 28, knows winning a medal at the Games is no easy task.
“The Olympics are every four years so you have to be good on the day of your competition – otherwise you wait another four years or sometimes you’re just done,” said Filion. “You don’t even know if you’re going to be there for another four years. Just because you’ve been to the Olympics doesn’t mean you’re going to go again. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Benfeito and Filion will compete in the 10m synchro and individual events at Rio 2016. The other members of the Fab IV, Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware, will also represent Canada on the women’s side. Philippe Gagne, Vincent Riendeau and Maxim Bouchard were also named to Canada’s Olympic diving team.