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By Brenda Branswell, The Gazette August 2, 2013
Pamela Ware won bronze in the women’s 3-metre springboard event at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Spain last week.
MONTREAL — With one dive left in the 3-metre springboard final at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Pamela Ware broke from her normal competition routine by glancing at the scoreboard.
“I was diving pretty well and I was a little anxious to know how I was doing,” said Ware, 20, who grew up in St-Hubert.
Ware, who avoids looking at the standings during competitions to help stay calm, saw she was in third place.
Her final turn last Saturday, a front two-and-a-half with one twist, is a dive she usually performs well “except for in the prelims and semis (in Barcelona), which were really bad,” she said.
Ware tried to block out that thought “and it worked.”
She won the bronze medal with 350.25 points, beating her personal best by eight points.
“I actually didn’t believe it at first. I thought it was like a mistake,” she said this week, back home in Montreal.
Ware also won a bronze in the 3-metre synchro springboard event with teammate Jennifer Abel and finished fifth in the 1-metre springboard.
It was Ware’s first time taking part in the world championships, but she wasn’t the only athlete in her family experiencing a similar rite of passage. Her 22-year old sister, Carol-Ann, competed in the 10-metre platform event, her first major championship representing Canada.
The Ware sisters began diving in elementary school when Pamela was 7 and Carol-Ann was 9. Pamela didn’t immediately warm to the sport.
“I couldn’t really do much,” she recounted. “I was scared. And every time I couldn’t do a dive, I wanted to quit.
“My mom always pushed me because she saw potential. Thank God she did,” Pamela said, laughing.
Carol-Ann loved diving from the get-go and started on the platform when she was 13.
“I’ve always been more of a tower diver than a springboard diver,” she said.
“And I like tower a lot more as well.”
They joined Montreal’s CAMO club a few years after they started in the sport, juggling training and school.
Mitch Geller, the chief technical officer at Diving Canada, said on any given day Carol-Ann could be “top 6, top 8 in the world.”
She finished 24th last week in the platform event.
“I felt like I had a lot more pressure than normal,” Carol-Ann said.
“And it was something I had to deal with. And I had little issues dealing with it.
“But there were a couple of things that went really well during my event so I can’t be completely disappointed about it,” she added.
Their coach, Aaron Dziver, described the sisters as “very, very hard-working exemplary divers.”
The first thing Dziver mentioned when asked about Pamela’s strengths as a diver is that she is very strong physically. She’s able to press the diving board further down than most women, which allows her to jump higher than a lot of them, he said.
Pamela needs to work on a little more finesse, Dziver said, adding she needs to enter the water a little more cleanly.
Pamela has been working over the past year on increasing the difficulty of her dives.
“Because of her strength she’s able to do some dives that some of the men are doing and none of the women are doing right now,” Dziver said. “So she’s looking at pushing the limits of her discipline by working on these dives. And hopefully, if things go well, she’ll be able to insert them in her list and we’re going to be able to see them next year.”
Carol-Ann is “one of the most beautiful divers to watch,” Dziver said.
“She has an incredible entry, a rip entry … she enters the water extremely cleanly where there’s not a lot of splash, very little bubbles and consequently you get high marks for that.
“What she needs to work on is consistency and being able to maintain a focus that enables her to demonstrate that finesse, demonstrate those entries on a regular basis and that’s a big challenge for her.”
Pamela and Carol-Ann, who also have a younger sister, share an apartment in Montreal. Pamela is a part-time social science student at Vanier College. Carol-Ann graduated from Vanier last semester and is enrolled in studio arts at Concordia University. Both have their sights set on competing for Canada at the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The sisters don’t compete against each other since they do different events. As for what it’s like having a sibling competing at the same level, Carol-Ann said: “I find it’s good because we’re there for each other and we know what it feels like to be stressed out.
“We can talk about it or sometimes we get on each other’s nerves,” Carol-Ann said with a laugh. “But because we know each other it’s good having someone there that you know you can trust and talk to when you really need her.”
Said Pamela: “We support each other a lot.”