Rhiannan Iffland Becomes First High Diver to Capture Four Consecutive World Titles in Doha

by Riley Overend 0

February 16th, 2024 Diving, News

Australia’s Rhiannan Iffland overcame a 14.5-point deficit on her last two dives to win her fourth 20-meter high diving world title in a row on Wednesday, becoming the first diver ever to achieve that feat at age 32.

Iffland finished with a score of 342, sneaking past the Canadian duo of Molly Carlson (320.70) and Jessica Macaulay (320.35), who were separated by less than half a point in the battle for 2nd place. The podium in Doha ended up being exactly the same as in Fukuoka last summer.

Iffland called it “a big accomplishment” to capture four world titles in only four tries dating back to 2017. “I knew it was gonna be a fight, so it makes it a bit more rewarding,” she said. “I’m really proud that I fought for it and I didn’t give up.”

Iffland found herself down 14.5 points after the first two rounds of diving on Tuesday. But she cut the deficit to just 4.3 points with her third dive before going ahead for good with an inward triple featuring a half twist (3.8 DD).

“It was a hard mental battle to convince myself it wasn’t over,” Iffland admitted. “In round three, the pressure was on. I’ve really grown to love the pressure. I need that bit of a challenge to step up.”

Despite leading by a few points, Carlson elected for a more difficult dive — a forward four somersaults with a half twist (4.4 DD) — and the decision did not pay off. The 25-year-old saved her toughest dive for last, and her confidence proved costly — though it was enough to edge Macaulay by .35 points for the silver medal.

“I did that dive in practice and it did not go so well,” Carlson said. “In the end, I was a little bit too confident.

“I am really proud of what I did today,” she added. “Rhiannan — she is teaching me so much. I cannot wait to be a world champion one day.”

Macaulay announced she’s retiring at 31 years old after capturing her third bronze medal in a row at Worlds.

“It was an incredible experience to compete here, to compete in high diving for the last time,” Macaulay said.  “There are a lot of emotions, a lot of sadness, a little bit of grief because I have been doing it for so long.

“We have seen this sport progress like crazy. Women are doing dives that I hadn’t even thought I was going to do. Now I am excited to step back and to see the progress grow exponentially.”

Kaylea Arnett placed 4th with 300.05 points at her high diving debut for Team USA. A member of the Chickasaw nation, an indigenous tribe in the U.S., the 30-year-old transitioned from a national team diving career in the 3-meter and 10-meter events. Arnett nailed a front triple somersault with a half twist for 83.3 points to move up from 5th to 4th place on Wednesday.

Rounding out the top six finishers were 25-year-old Australian Xantheia Pennisi (291.95) and 40-year-old German Anna Bader (291.80).

High diving isn’t part of the Olympics — at least nothing higher than 10 meters — but that could change soon. World Aquatics added the discipline to its World Championship lineup in 2013 and has reportedly been trying to persuade the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to add high diving to the Olympics.

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About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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