Iffland flies high at Fina event in Abu Dhabi

Podium finish: Rhiannan Iffland (centre) of Australia celebrates after winningthe gold in Abu Dhabi on Monday. — AP
Podium finish: Rhiannan Iffland (centre) of Australia celebrates after winningthe gold in Abu Dhabi on Monday. — AP

Abu Dhabi - Serving as the final qualifier for the Fina World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, next May, 12 women from the Fina High Diving Qualifier in Abu Dhabi secured their place in next year’s world championships



By Team KT

Published: Mon 20 Dec 2021, 11:18 PM

Last updated: Mon 20 Dec 2021, 11:27 PM

Australia’s Rhiannan Iffland was in absolute control of the event, from the first round to the end, with her performance in Abu Dhabi solidifying her place of dominance in women’s high diving in the Fina World Swimming Championships (25m) on Monday. The reigning 2017 and 2019 world champion displayed poise and precision throughout her optional and required dives to win gold with a 359.60 point final score.

“I am really excited about my performance today,” said Iffland.

“I was very confident coming in this morning because I dived so strong yesterday (Sunday). I wanted to make it mine, and I did it,’’ she added.

The rankings did not change much after the first round as all divers must perform a dive with the same degree of difficulty. With the final round allowing each athlete to choose a dive without a degree of difficulty limit, this is where each can showcase their strengths and change the outcome of the event. The excitement increased as the order for the final round saw the highest ranked athletes dive last. And they did not disappoint with the varying degrees of difficulty in dives providing impressive scores.

Silver medallist Canada’s Molly Carlson received 9’s in her required dive, but with her impressive strong take-off in her optional dive that carried a 3.8 degree of difficulty, Carlson secured her spot on the podium.

“I am so happy to be up there at one of my first Fina events. This is how it has been going in practice and I am just glad that I was able to do it in a competition,” Carlson said.

“Abu Dhabi is amazing. I am honoured to be here. It has been so much fun mixing regular diving, swimming, and all sports, and having our 20-metre platform out here is a dream come true.”

The bronze medal was a battle between Belarusian Yana Nestsiarava, Colombia’s Maria Paula Quintero and Canada’s Jessica Macaulay. All three athletes brought their best, but it was Nestsiarava that prevailed with a fabulous 3.9 optional dive that she nailed in execution to receive 9’s across the board, to secure the bronze medal.

“I am happy, but I am still in disbelief. I cannot think straight,” Nestsiarava said.

Serving as the final qualifier for the Fina World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, next May, 12 women from the Fina High Diving Qualifier in Abu Dhabi secured their place in next year’s world championships.

Based upon the final results in Monday’s qualifier, Molly Carlson, Yana Nestsiarava, Maria Paula Quintero, Meili Carpenter (USA), Ellie Smart (USA), Iris Schmidbauer (Germany), Patricia Valente (Brazil), Anna Bader (Germany), Aimee Harrison (Canada), Elisa Cosetti (Italy), Celia Fernandez Lopez (Spain) and Leila Saliamova (Russia) have secured their place in the Fukuoka field, with the upcoming Fina World Championships taking place from May 13 to 29, 2022.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Margaret MacNeil had a day to remember as the 21-year-old set a new world record to win the women’s 50m backstroke final.

At Yas Island’s Etihad Arena, MacNeil, who had clinched gold in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x50m mixed freestyle earlier in the week, added to her haul with victory, clocking 25.27 seconds. She finished ahead of her compatriot Kylie Masse (25.62) and Sweden’s Louise Hansson (25.86). Japan’s Daiyo Seto won his fifth world short course title in the 400m Individual Medley with a time of 3:56.26, equalling the competition record by Great Britain’s James Hickman.


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