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Iffland’s platform for success


A change in mentality has helped fuel Lake Macquarie’s Rhiannan Iffland dominant start to the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

Iffland, a three-time champion, set a new women’s record for a single season with four straight event wins in Portugal at the weekend.

When asked what, if anything, she had done differently to previous years, Iffland pointed to a shift in her mental approach.

She said “good energy” was helping her handle the pressure to perform.
“It was the same thing in Italy with the three in a row,” she told Newcastle Weekly days before her latest triumph.
“I have gone in with a different mental game this year.
“What it really comes down to is I can’t change what another diver does.
“If they do a good dive, then I’ve been able to turn that pressure into good energy.”

Rhiannan Iffland gives the thumbs up as she prepares to dive in Portugal.

Iffland, a former Belmont High School student, started out as a trampolinist before turning her attention to diving at the age of nine.

After learning her craft at Lambton pool as a child, she then went on to work on a cruise ship, performing trampoline, three and 10 metre dives during trips through the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

In this period, she was introduced to high diving and, slowly but surely, moved her way up, metre by metre.

Iffland eventually gravitated towards cliff diving once she felt comfortable at greater heights.

She then joined the professional circuit as a wildcard rookie in 2016 – a decision that brought her instant success, with a first world title followed by two more.

The sport of cliff diving provides a platform for aesthetic action and dives of incredible complexity.

Elite cliff divers can free-fall from up to 27 metres and enter the water at speeds of up to 85 kilometres.

They compete at some of the world’s most stunning locations, with this season kicking off in Palawan, Philippines, for the first time, before moving on to Dublin, Ireland, Polignano a Mare, Italy, and Sao Miguel, Portugal.

The 2019 world series then hits Beirut, Lebanon, in July, Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and wraps up at Bilbao, Spain, in September.
Iffland admitted it was a desirable career.

Iffland celebrates on her way to the podium.

“A lot of divers dream of the lifestyle, the travel, the places,” she said.

She believed cliff diving’s popularity and competitiveness had increased drastically over the past few years.

So much so, there is growing momentum for it to make the jump to sport’s grandest stage.

“Cliff diving has grown, especially for women,” Iffland said.
“The level of diving is getting harder and the women are performing them well.
“We’re also noticing more exposure as the years go on and there is a push for the sport to make the 2024 Olympics [in Paris].”

Iffland currently sits on 600 points in the women’s standings, ahead of Canada’s Lysanne Richard, 370, and Great Britain’s Jessica Macaulay, 360.

The fifth event of the season will take place on 14 July.

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