Australian claims third cliff diving event while Brit gets first 2023 win in Italy.
Great Britain’s Aidan Heslop dived to victory at the third stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Polignano a Mare, Italy, posting one of the highest-scoring single dives ever to claim his third career win, while in the women’s competition, Australia’s dominant Rhiannan Iffland picked up her third straight win to extend her lead at the top of the standings.
Here is all you need to know:
– Heslop, who began the day down in 10th place, crept into the top three with a stunning third round dive from the 27m platform.
– Then, armed with his Forward 4 Somersaults 3½ Twists Pike – a weapon that has been hit and miss over the last 12 months – the 21-year-old powered into a commanding lead in front of 40,000 sun-kissed spectators, before nervously watching his rivals attempt to reel him in.
– “Constantin has been a bit of a powerhouse this season and I didn’t give myself a very good start yesterday. I mean, 10th out of 12 is really not where I want to be, but managing to bring it back over two dives to first place is probably the best comeback I’ve ever done in my life. I couldn’t be happier with the two dives I’ve done today”, said Heslop, who made his debut in this location at the age of 16 back in 2018.
– Victory comes on the back of Heslop’s worst result in five years – a ninth place in Paris two weeks ago – giving the Brit a much-needed boost in the overall standings, where he leapt from sixth place into second.
– Romania’s Constantin Popovici, despite missing out on a hat-trick here, maintains a healthy 200-point lead at the top of the standings thanks to a second-place finish. His fellow countryman, Catalin Preda, rounded out the podium in Italy and also grabbed an extra 10 World Series points for the best dive of the weekend.
– Meanwhile, the reigning and record 10-time champion Gary Hunt is now officially enduring his worst-ever start to a season. The Frenchman followed up two fourth place finishes in Boston and Paris with a lowly eighth on the Adriatic Coast to leave him 300 points adrift of Popovici in his quest for an 11th King Kahekili Trophy.
– Over on the 21m platform, six-time champion Rhiannan Iffland claimed victory ahead of
Canada’s Molly Carlson. This was the eighth time in a row that the pair have posted a 1–2
– The Australian was a long way from her brilliant best, posting her lowest total score in the
last 15 stops, but nonetheless it was good enough for her third straight win in 2023 and 23
victories from the last 24 World Series events.
– “I think it’s definitely not a fluke. It’s been many, many years of hard luck to get to this point today. I think it’s just the way that I’m approaching the competition now and I’m kind of finding the positive energy from the results to carry on and build momentum on each event. I guess, it’s just finding a way to cope with the pressure and being able to feel free up there and enjoy the process.” said Iffland, who grabbed a 10-point bonus for the women’s best dive in Italy, her 40th World Series event.
– Despite Iffland’s 100 percent record this season, it’s a credit to Carlson’s consistency that the women’s title fight is still very much alive. 130 points separate the top two in the overall standings, and with three stops to go everything is still to play for.
– Completing the podium in Italy was Australian Xantheia Pennisi. After missing the Paris stop through injury, she picked up where she left off in Boston with another third-place finish.
– After three events in the space of four weeks, the athletes will now enjoy a break to rest,
recover and recharge before making their way to Japan where the High Diving World
Championships will be followed a week later by the fourth stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving
World Series on August 3.
– Seven years after the World Series made its first visit to Japan, at the Shirahama cliffs, the divers will this time be fighting for crucial championship points against the stunning backdrop of Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki prefecture.
Red Bull Cliff Diving Polignano a Mare results
1. Rhiannan Iffland AUS 345.85 points.
2. Molly Carlson CAN 327.70
3. Xantheia Pennisi AUS 308.00
4. Meili Carpenter USA 291.30
5. Iris Schmidbauer GER 281.85
1. Aidan Heslop GBR 448.60 points
2. Constantin Popovici ROU 439.40
3. Catalin Preda ROU 432.50
4. Jonathan Paredes (W) MEX 418.45
5. Carlos Gimeno (W) ESP 393.75
Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2023 standings (After 3 of 6 rounds)
1. Rhiannan Iffland AUS 620 points
2. Molly Carlson CAN 490
3. Iris Schmidbauer GER 284
4. Xantheia Pennisi AUS 260
5. Meili Carpenter USA 252
1. Constantin Popovici ROU 570 points
2. Aidan Heslop GBR 369
3. Carlos Gimeno (W) ESP 344
4. Gary Hunt FRA 270
5. Nikita Fedotov IAT– 268