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Women's high diving makes a splash at Barcelona worlds

Updated: 2013-07-31 16:23

Women's high diving makes a splash at Barcelona worlds

Ginger Huber of the US performs a dive in round 1 of the women's 20m high diving event during the World Swimming Championships at Moll de la Fusta in Barcelona, July 30, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

BARCELONA, Spain - Female high diving is a new event, with the first ever competition held in Malcesine on July 13, just two weeks before the first ever World Champion was crowned in Barcelona on Tuesday.

Just four divers took part in that inaugural competition, which was won by Germany's Anna Bader in Italy a fortnight ago. Just two weeks later in Barcelona, six competitors climbed the stairs to the platform to compete at the FINA World Championships, which has to be seen as a positive sign.

American Cesile Carlton scored 211.60 points in her three dives to become the inaugural world champion, ahead of Ginger Huber who scored 206.70 to finish second. Huber's chances were spoiled by a disappointing last dive, while Bader took bronze with 203.90 points.

"I'm very excited, I've produced good dives and I never thought about being in this king of competition," said Carlton afterwards.

The high-diving has been one of the successes of the Swimming World Championships as crowds have lined the side of the Port Vell in Barcelona.

Fans have got into place well in advance, braving the heat and the sunshine which has made it vital to put on a high-factor sunscreen in order to see the divers plunge into the water below.

The men jump from a height of 27 meters, needing three seconds from jumping into space to hitting the water below, reaching speeds of 85 kilometers an hour in the process.

The women's competition saw the divers leap from 'just' 20 meters, but the view of the buildings surrounding the port and looking out over the masts of the boats moored nearby was still more than enough to set all but the bravest trembling.

Indeed the impact is such that the surface of the water needs to be 'broken' by the jet from a hosepipe to it presents a less solid surface for the divers, who go into the water feet first, to impact on and all of the competitors have to give the 'OK' sign when they get back to the surface, so the wetsuited divers waiting nearby in case anything goes wrong, knows a rescue won't be needed.

Women's high diving makes a splash at Barcelona worlds

Gold medallist Cesilie Carlton of the US (C) smiles next to her compatriot, silver medallist Ginger Huber (L), and bronze medallist Germany's Anna Bader at the women's 20m high diving victory ceremony during the World Swimming Championships at Moll de la Fusta in Barcelona, July 30, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

"The view is amazing and the platform is spectacular. Having the crowd and people watching makes it more exciting," said silver medalist, Huber, while Bader said it was the "highlight" of her career.

Just six women took part in the inaugural female event at the Worlds, but there can be no doubt they offered some of the best images of the tournament to date, both portside and also on the TV.

It is an event made to be televised with the port, the sky, the water and the diver highlighted against the skyline before twisting and turning in slow motion into the port below and if an event looks good on TV we can be certain it will be back next time and it will be back with more competitors.

"Of course this sport can grow with the support we are getting," said Huber.

The only word of warning is that high diving should be left to the expert, just ask the Irish tourist who decided to try it out after a few drinks on Friday night. He was lucky as he was released from hospital after just two days: a perfect example of why it should most definitely be left to the experts.

Related stories:

High diving sets lofty goals

High diving starts at World Championships in Barcelona

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