Canada’s Pan Am Divers: Life In and Out of the Pool

Want the inside track on how Pan Am athletes tackle their health priorities? Here’s a look at the routines, priorities and challenges of Canada’s top diving contenders

Canada's Pan Am Divers: Life In and Out of the Pool

Source: Photo by Vincent Graton

Meet the divers!
Meaghan Benfeito, 10m + 10m synchro
Roseline Filion, 10m + 10m synchro
Jennifer Abel, 3m + 3m synchro
Pamela Ware, 3m + 3m synchro

What does a typical training week look like?
Roseline Filion: We dive Monday to Friday (approximately five hours a day), with weekends off to recuperate. Twice a week, we do weight training and cardio. Time is an issue with my schedule, so I’ve cut out yoga, but we’ve done flexibility and stretching with a teacher as well.
Pamela Ware: When we’re at the pool, we’re not in the water all the time. At least two hours are dedicated to other things, like abs, strength training and trampoline.

How do you maximize nutrition for best health?
Meaghan Benfeito: We don’t eat very much junk food. Once you learn how to eat properly and then eat something bad, it just doesn’t sit well.
RF: Eating well has become a part of performing well. When you’re well educated, you enjoy picking out the good foods.
MB: Cheat days are needed to keep a good balance.
PW: We all work with our nutritionist to decide what’s best for us individually. For me, I needed to add more protein to my diet. But I’m picky with meat, so I’m trying to integrate more protein in other ways.

How does chlorine affect your hair, skin and nails?
Jennifer Abel: I’ve worn a bathing cap for the past couple of years and I can see a big difference in my hair. Now it grows quicker and looks nicer. Chlorine is horrible for your skin. It makes it really dry and irritable. The best thing you can do is to moisturize often with a thick cream.
MB: I started diving with a bathing cap last year, which really helps keep my hair healthier and less tangled. And nail polish only lasts half a day in the pool.

What was your best moment in competition?
JA: My medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. Diving is an individual sport, so when you get up on the podium with a personal best and medal, it’s very fulfilling because you did it by yourself.
RF: My best moment was definitely the 2012 Olympics. It wasn’t the performance itself but rather seeing my parents and their reactions after winning the medal. They were just so happy!

Any advice for new divers or young people in sport?
PW: Never give up, no matter how hard it gets. Because it gets hard! Just push through and believe in yourself.

JA: People think it gets easier with time, but it actually gets harder. Believe in your own capacity. You have to make a sacrifice, but all the choices you made have a purpose.

Pictured above, from left to right: Meaghan Benfeito, Jennifer Abel, Pamela Ware, Roseline Filion

*This interview has edited for length and clarity.

Visiting the GTA this summer?
The Pan Am Path is an 84-kilometre route spanning the GTA from east to west. It’s a public space where residents and visitors to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games can walk, run, cycle and wheel, enjoying the fresh air, a bit of nature and even some art. For 15 weeks this summer, from May 16 to August 15, the Pan Am Path will come alive with a vibrant city-wide festival of art installations, performances and community events. How cool is that?