Benfeito was just 16 years old when she and Filion won a bronze medal in the 10 m synchronized diving event at the 2005 FINA World Aquatic Championships in her hometown of Montréal. In 2006, the pair competed and won bronze at the COMMONWEALTH GAMES in Melbourne and the FINA World Cup in Changshu, China, as well as a silver at the Canada Cup. Benfeito also competed individually, winning a bronze in the 10 m tower diving event.
The following year, Benfeito competed as a member of three synchronized teams, the 3 m synchronized dive with Jennifer ABEL and Kelly MacDonald, while continuing to dive with Filion in the 10 m synchronized event. Highlights from the year included silver medals in the 3 m synchro event with Abel, the 10 m synchro with Filion at the Canada Cup, and a bronze medal in the 3 m synchro with MacDonald. 2007 was an especially successful year for Benfeito in individual events, taking three gold medals at the Speedo Junior National Championships, and a bronze at the Pan Am Junior Championships.
In 2008, Benfeito and Filion competed in their first OLYMPIC GAMES in Beijing. Although the pair finished in 7th place, the event gave them experience at the Olympic level, preparing them for future elite competition. The next year, the pair took part in all four stages of the 2009 FINA Diving World Series. In this event, they brought home two silver and one bronze medal in the 10 m synchronized event. This led the pair to compete in the 2009 FINA Grand Prix circuit, where they won two golds and one silver, adding up to six international synchronized medals in 2009. In addition, in 2009 Benfeito earned one gold and one silver on 10 m on the FINA Grand Prix circuit.
In 2010, Benfeito was the busiest and most successful Canadian diver on both the national and international scene. She began the season with two gold medals at the CAMO Invitational, and competed on the FINA Grand Prix and FINA World Series Circuits. Benfeito and Filion won a medal at every event they entered as a team. Benfeito also won solo gold at the senior national championships and silver at Spain's Grand Prix on 10 m. Her 2010 season was cut short by injury, however, and Benfeito was forced to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
In 2011, Benfeito and Filion won five silver medals at FINA World Series and Grand Prix events, along with a gold medal at the Summer Nationals in Edmonton. Their success secured the Canadian team a spot in the 2012 Olympics in London.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London Benfeito and Filion won bronze in 10-metre synchro. In the final competition of the women's 10-metre platform, Benfeito over-rotated her first of five dives, a forward 3½ somersault, pushing her well behind the other competitors and ultimately depriving her of another Olympic medal.
Author CHERYL WILLIAMS
Links to Other Sites
Diving Plongeon Canada
The official website of Diving Plongeon Canada.
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