WA Diver Maddison Keeney Boosts Olympic Dream

Diving | Published: Mon 30 May 2016
Western Australian Maddison Keeney has produced a top quality campaign at the 2016 Australian Diving Championships in Melbourne to firmly stake her claims for Olympic selection.

With the Championships forming a major part of the selection puzzle for the Australian Olympic Diving Team, all eyes were on the women’s 3m springboard with Keeney demonstrating remarkable consistency over the three phases of qualifying, semi-final and final, to take out the national title and ensure that she gave selectors a timely reminder of her talents.

The former WAIS scholarship holder, who is now based at Diving Australia’s Brisbane High Performance training venue, scored 345.90 in the final to win clear of Queensland’s Jayah Mathews (279.60) and Victorian Anabelle Smith (277.55).

Keeney’s talent has never been in doubt, but the 20 year-old has also seen the harsher side of diving after a baulk at the 2015 World Championships saw her become an overnight sensation online when a bout of competition nerves struck and saw her score zero for a dive whilst in contention for a medal.

The Perth-product however, has chosen to confront the nerves and the associated stigma head on and showed a high level of resilience in the face of Olympic selection pressure to not only nail her routine, but manage her own expectations with it.

"I didn’t have to do anything special in order to qualify, and I don’t think I did anything special,” Keeney said.

"I was able to hold my nerve and come out with a good performance. I know that I can do better though and that’s what I strive for.”

I’ve been practicing really hard to fix my nerves, and taking everything into account I’m just really happy with where I’ve come from and what I’m doing now,” she explained.

Keeney also took gold in tandem with Smith, in the final of the women’s 3m synchro.

The pair scored 316.83 to finish ahead of NSW diver Esther Qin and South Australian Samantha Mills (301.20).

Members of the WAIS diving program showed significant potential in Melbourne, with coach Mat Helm’s trio of Tamara Irvine, Nikita Hains and Teju Williamson providing some exciting dives and more than a glimpse of their future potential on the path to Gold Coast 2018 and Tokyo 2020.

In the women’s 10m platform won by Olympic medallist Melissa Wu, 16 year-old WAIS athlete Tamara Irvine finished fourth in 278.30 ahead of 17 year-old training partner Teju Williamson (269.05).

Nikita Hains – at 15 years of age – finished seventh (264.00) after an incredible semi-final performance in which the former gymnast qualified third, following a total of 279.95.

Irvine also managed seventh place in the women’s 3m final and sixth place in the final of the 1m springboard.