The year Rhiannan Iffland zoned in to land the perfect high diving season
How the dominant Australian maintained her focus to win every 2019 Red Bull Cliff Diving stop and another World Championship gold.
The crowd descended into silence at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao as Rhiannan Iffland tip-toed to the edge of the 21-metre high platform. After winning previous stops in the Philippines, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Lebanon and Bosnia & Herzegovina – a historic perfect season was on the line.
Iffland had already wrapped up her fourth world title in a row before competing in Spain, but needed a score of 75.8 to become the first Cliff Diver to ever go undefeated through an entire season. An inward triple somersault in the tuck position, a dive rated at 3.8 difficulty, was chosen to get the job done.
After leaping off the edge, Iffland twisted, turned, flipped and somersaulted her way through the air before landing feet first in the water. The outcome was never in doubt. A score of 102.6 flashed on the screens with Iffland commenting: “This year was amazing for me! I'm still pinching myself. It was actually really tough coming to this event having already sealed the title.”
The winning streak:
Five years ago, Iffland was more known for cruise ship high dives than competitive senior trophies. After winning the 2016 Red Bull Cliff Diving title as a wildcard, she has gone on to dominate the women's scene and claim the King Kahekili Trophy every year she has competed.
The last-gasp dive:
In late July at Gwangju in South Korea, Iffland also defended her FINA World Championship title to continue the unbeaten run. With perennial rival Adriana Jimenez looking set for gold, Iffland pulled off a memorable final dive to pip the Mexican by just 0.15 of a point.
When you have won it all, and then won it all again some more, what do you do next? For, Iffland, she believes there is more still to come. She said: “I have some more dives in my locker and I think I have a long career ahead of me working little by little.”