Windsor will once again be the centre of the diving world

Team Canada diver Celina Toth speaks to media at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre on May 23, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

A series of high-profile diving events will take place in Windsor over the next few years.

Officials from the city of Windsor, Tourism Windsor Essex and Pelee Island (TWEPI), and Diving Canada held a media event Thursday morning at the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre to kick off the 2019 Summer National Diving Championships, which will take place Friday through Sunday.

This weekend’s championships will determine the Canadian diving champions, who will represent Canada at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea this July.

In addition, Windsor was chosen as the host for the 2020 and 2021 FINA Diving Grand Prix.

These events are the latest in a series of diving championships that have been held in Windsor in recent years. The region hosted the FINA World Diving Series from 2014 to 2017. Swimmers also used Windsor as a platform for their talents, as the WFCU Centre hosted the 2016 FINA World Swimming Championships in 2016.

Among the divers hoping to represent Canada at the upcoming Pan American Games in Peru is St. Thomas native Celina Toth. As divers practiced and splashed behind her, Toth said her entire team has always felt at home in Windsor.

“We really like coming back here to Windsor,” said Toth. “We all feel like we’re a part of one team and it’s really nice to hear that crowd. I really thrive off of that, the loud energy, so I’m really excited to see what we’re going to bring this weekend.”

Toth’s specialty event is the ten-metre dive. According to her Diving Canada bio, she won a bronze medal at the 2015 FINA Grand Prix in Madrid, and has won the senior national title in the ten-metre dive four times.

Mayor Drew Dilkens said the coming Grand Prix events in 2020 and 2021 will showcase internationally known divers who may also be Olympians next summer.

“Over a hundred divers, some of the best athletes in the world, and the Olympians that you’ll see competing in Tokyo in 2020 will then come to Windsor to earn points, and it’ll be very exciting in the community,” said Dilkens. “Tickets will be about 20 bucks so it will be accessible to anyone who’s interested in it.”

Recent FINA events have brought financial windfalls to Windsor-Essex. For the 2016 Swimming Championships, Windsor collected over $32-million in economic activity. Gordon Orr, president and CEO of TWEPI, said the potential economic benefit for the Grand Prix events will be more than for the last Diving World Series.

Complete information about the Summer National Diving Championships is available on the official Diving Canada website.