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Australian defends women’s high diving title

July 25,2019
Rhiannan Iffland of Australia successfully defended her title in women’s high diving at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships at Chosun University on Tuesday.

Starting the final day of the competition in fifth, 15.25 points behind the leader Adriana Jimenez of Mexico, Iffland slowly climbed her way up the rankings. Diving eighth out of 13 high divers, Iffland moved up a spot to fourth in the third round by earning 66.30 points. Still, Iffland seemed pretty far from first place, as she was 12.65 points behind then leader, Jimenez.

However, the fourth and final round changed it all.

Diving ninth out of 12 high divers, Iffland excelled. She received 98.80 points, the most in the group, to overcome the tough odds. Iffland clinched her come-from-behind victory by finishing a mere 0.15 points ahead of Jimenez, with a score of 298.05.

“It’s a great feeling to have this gold,” Iffland told FINA. “It was a fight until the end, but we love this kind of competition - a healthy competition. I felt a bit nervous, but I kept the dive I feel more comfortable with for the end. It’s difficult to handle all those emotions at the top of that platform, but I manage to flip them around and bring in some positive energy.”

With the win, Iffland successfully defended her title. Iffland, who started her career as an acrobatic trampoline artist and diving entertainer, quickly earned recognition as a professional high diver when she won the 2016 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

She went on to defend that title in 2017 and 2018 and also won gold in high diving at the 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championships. Jimenez finished with silver with 297.90 points followed by Jessica Macaulay of Britain in third with 295.40 points. For Jimenez, it’s her second straight World Championships winning silver, while this is the first World Championships medal for Macaulay.

“It’s always a huge satisfaction for me to bring my country’s name, Mexico, to the podium,” Jimenez told FINA. “I had a challenge this year, with many ups and downs, but in the end I am quite satisfied with this medal and to share this moment with all these amazing girls.”

“Being my first World Championships, I am obviously very thrilled to win this medal,” Macaulay told FINA.

The high diving will end with the men’s third and fourth rounds today, starting at noon. High diving is similar to regular diving but is held outdoors, and divers jump from much higher platforms. In the women’s event, the divers jump from a 20-meter-high platform, while men jump from 27 meters.

BY KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]