High Diving, Day 2: History was made: Cesilie Carlton (USA) is the first World champion!

BCN2013 - High Diving

Cesilie Carlton (USA), gold medallistThey were only six, but Cesilie Carlton (USA) was happy as she had won against 60 other competitors! The North American high diver (who suffers from vertigo!) became the first world champion in this discipline, getting the best accumulated results after the three rounds of dives on this hot, sunny and windy Tuesday in Barcelona. Carlton won the competition in 211.60, while Ginger Huber (USA, silver, 206.70) and Anna Bader (GER, bronze, 203.90) completed the podium of this historical event.

This novelty at the FINA World Championships is almost a première for these divers also – in fact, besides the shows and exhibitions, the most known competition of High Diving is the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, an annual circuit with several legs around the world. Until a couple of weeks ago, these series were only open to men. On July 14, in Malcesina (ITA), four of the six finalists in Barcelona (Tara Hyer Tira and Huber from USA, Bader, and Stephanie de Lima from Canada) made their debut in this circuit.

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On this July 30, they reached the top of the world, diving from the 20m platform built for the occasion in the port of Barcelona. The final was held in three rounds – the first with a maximum DD (degree of difficulty) of 2.6, the second with a DD of 3.4, and an unlimited DD in the third combination. Bader was the provisional leader after the first set of dives while Huber was the best after the second round. Performing a well-executed DD 3.3 dive, Carlton – who was the quickest to jump off the platform (she would later explain this is because of her vertigo) – managed to secure the gold in a convincing way.

The winner of this landmark event in Barcelona is from San Antonio, Texas, former springboard diver and started practicing High Diving in 2009, much because of her husband, himself a high diver. Her teammate Huber is an entertainment performer at Sea World, San Diego, and the highest she dives from in her shows is 7m. She is a former junior diver at national level, and at 38 she is the veteran of the competition.

One of the most attentive spectators of this final was diving legend Greg Louganis (USA), who was a judge during the men’s first day. “It’s a great event with outstanding performances and really high scores”, considered the best male diver in history before the women’s final. “After also judging some pool diving, I have been judge in the Red Bull series for the last three years and that’s why I was invited to judge at the World Championships”, Louganis explains. Asked if he would try to dive from 27m, the North American star confesses: “I’ve been thinking about it… If ever I would dive, I would perform a somersault in three positions. I would definitively like to try it but I would go step by step, in order to keep it safe!” Finally, Louganis expressed his satisfaction for this evolution in the programme at the FINA World Championships: “High Diving is different, it represents a free spirit, it’s an extreme sport… It surely has its place at these World Championships”.

On July 31, the men’s competition will be completed with the remaining three rounds (out of five) from the 27m platform. At the end of the first two rounds (on July 29), the provisional leaders were Orlando Duque (COL), Artem Silchenko (RUS) and Jonathan Paredes (MEX).

QUOTES:

Gold medal winner: Cesilie Carlton (USA)

"My dives went exactly the way I wanted to go. I could tell when I entered the water that it was a good dive."

"I'm afraid of heights and I get pretty nervous on the platform. But I know I'm in control of what I'm doing so as long as I go very quickly and don't look down for too long, it works."

"I would hope I can become a role model for other women in this sport because I would have never thought I would do high diving. I hope the sport can go further so that people see it's out there and it's something that women can do too."

Silver medal winner: Ginger Huber (USA)

"I'm very pleased to have won this medal but especially pleased about having this event, it's huge. Of course the icing on top is that USA got two medals."

"With the support of FINA, the sport can definitely grow, there are more girls out there, we just need a little more help, more training facilities."

"The view from up there is spectacular so it really helps distract you from the height you are. It was a little windy today but it didn't bother me too much." "Having the crowd and the people watching it, it just makes it so much more exciting."

Bronze medal winner: Anna Bader (GER)

"It’s really nice! The gold would have been better, but I am quite satisfied."

"I was originally a platform diver, but I switched to High Diving in 2005. Most of the times, I am competing against guys, but we start now to hold events only with women. The inclusion of High Diving in the World Championships will definitively boost the sport – for 2015, I hope we can be more in the final, why not 12 instead of six?"

"My third dive was well performed but the entry had some problems. I didn’t change anything from my programme [for the third round, the divers could change the dive previously announced]. I wanted to show these three dives, and this is what I’ve done".

"In High Diving, courage plays a major role, then it’s hard training. I hope the audience enjoyed our performances!"