Carlson cracks top 10 at junior worlds

Joey Payeur

Molly Carlson still is flying high even after finally getting her feet back on solid ground.
The Fort Frances native made her second appearance at the FINA world junior diving championships—and the last competition of her junior career—a memorable one as the 17-year-old finished in eighth place with 406.55 points in the Group ‘A’ girls’ 3m springboard final in Kazan, Russia last week.
Huiling Chen of China captured the gold with 445 points, with Melany Hernandez of Mexico getting silver (441.75) and Katherine Torrance of Great Britain taking bronze (433.65).
“Coming top 10 feels amazing!” exclaimed the current Toronto resident, who is in her freshman season with the NCAA Division I Florida State Seminoles diving team.
“I feel like all my hard work has been proven.”
Carlson got stronger as the nine-dive preliminary round progressed, scoring 54 or more points on her last three dives.
That included a top mark of 58.80 on her last one to give her eighth overall with 412.556 behind preliminary leader Torrance (458.35).
“I was very pleased with my prelims as they did exactly what they needed to do to get me into finals,” Carlson noted.
“I was stable.”
With just four dives in the final, Carlson needed to be on her game right from the start.
Her second dive—an inward 2.5 somersault—yielded her best score of the final at 56.70 while her other three all ranged between 47.60 and 49.20.
“I didn’t dive as amazing in the finals but still very consistent,” she said.
“I was very pleased with my take-offs on [her reverse 2.5 somersault].
“When I was finished, knowing that I still had space to improve and coming top 10 felt amazing,” Carlson added.
“This was my second worlds and I feel like my experience from last time really made me more confident around the atmosphere and for my dives.”
Carlson, meanwhile, had nothing but positive thoughts about her week in Russia.
“The diving pool was gorgeous and the crowds were crazy—but only for the Russian athletes,” she chuckled.
“Kazan was beautiful,” Carlson added. “I’ve been in Florida for so long that seeing snow was very exciting.
“It did get dark around 3 p.m., though.”
Team Canada earned two medals at the worlds, both by Montreal’s Olivia Chamandy, who nabbed bronze medals in the Group ‘A’ girls’ 1m and platform events.
“I was pleased to see how well we worked as a team and pulling off two bronze medals this year by Olivia,” noted Carlson.
She also was grateful for the inspirational video messages sent by veteran Canadian divers like Olympic medalists Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito to the Canadian juniors.
“We look up to them so having them wish us luck really motivated us,” Carlson stressed.
Now it’s back to Florida State to continue her university season with the Seminoles, as well as getting polished for joining the senior diving ranks next year.
Even further in the future is Carlson’s goal of making Team Canada for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“I can take away [from the world juniors] the fact of how amazing my junior career was and how it motivated me to pursue an amazing senior career, as well,” she said.