Caeli McKay was overwhelmed by a 2017 move from her native Calgary to Montreal, where she joined the national diving team as a 16-year-old. She knew little of her new partner, three-time Olympic bronze medallist Meaghan Benfeito, and nothing about her other teammates.
“The new environment was huge, and I had no experience,” McKay, now 21, told CBC Sports on Tuesday. “Meg welcomed me. If I was anxious or stressed out, she told me I didn’t need to feel nervous, that I belonged.
“I lived with Meg and her family for five months. We would drive to the pool and home together. Growing our relationship made it easier to feel comfortable.”
Now, Benfeito needs a helping hand after the third-floor condo she shared with boyfriend and Canadian Football League player Alexandre Dupuis in Mirabel, Que., burned to the ground following a fire that broke out between 6:15 and 6:25 p.m. ET on Jan. 28.
Home alone, Benfeito was on the phone when a barbecue propane tank exploded on the balcony of the unit directly below her on the second floor. The 31-year-old Montreal native grabbed her scarf, jacket, keys, put on her boots and called 911 at 6:27 p.m., only minutes away from when Benfeito usually took her nightly 45-minute bath at 6:30.