Rachelle Simpson (USA) gets first world title in Kazan

Kazan 2015 - HD

Kazan is definitively an inspiring location for Rachelle Simpson! After winning the first edition of the FINA High Diving World Cup, last year also in the beginning of August, the 27-year-old North American promised to also shine at the 16th FINA World Championships in the capital of Tatarstan. The promise was kept and after the three rounds of dives in the final, Simpson earned the gold in 258.70, getting the first world title of her career. The silver went to the first champion ever, two years ago, in Barcelona, her teammate Cesilie Carlton. The bronze went to a newcomer at this level, Yana Nestsiarava from Belarus. The youngest (23 years old) competitor of the field (nine divers participated in this final) has been fourth last year in the same Kazanka venue, but had already upgraded to third in the 2015 World Cup in Cozumel (MEX).

After a not so successful first dive (5161B), Simpson appeared more inspired in her second attempt (5262B) and climbed from the sixth to the first position. Thanks to a very solid final round, where she presented one of the most difficult combinations (5163B, forward 3 somersaults 1 ½ twists pike, worth DD 4.0), the US star had no problems in securing the gold. Carlton, with a 3.9 attempt (back 3 somersaults tuck), was also consistent and assured the silver in 237.35, more than four points ahead of the Belarus champion (233.10). The US athlete, who caused sensation in 2013 by saying after her victory that she was afraid of heights, was third in Kazan in 2014, but was out of the podium at the 2015 rendezvous in Cozumel.

Rachelle Simpson (USA) in action - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Ginger Huber, also from US, has been silver medallist in Barcelona 2013 and Kazan 2014, but could not repeat that level of performance at these Championships, finishing in a disappointing sixth place. Anna Bader, third two years ago and silver medallist in Cozumel 2015 wasn’t also very lucky in Kazan, concluding in seventh, after a “shaky” third dive, the same brilliantly performed by Simpson.


Rachelle Simpson (USA, gold):
“Normally, at the beginning of the third round, I am not first, so to the last dive this time was a bit different. But I was quite happy with my second round, so I wanted to get it done as soon as possible”.

“I don’t have any special ritual before my dives. I try to visualise my combination while on the board, then  I simply count 1, 2, 3 and I go. I’m always afraid when I am up there. But, it’s a kind of adrenalin rush, and to be honest I am a bit addicted to that. In the end, I’m impressed and even proud of what I’ve done. I practice some yoga in life, so that it helps me breathing and concentrating better. It also keeps your heart rate a bit down…”

“There are some talks about including this discipline in the Olympics. It’s definitively a possibility and the FINA World Championships are a good platform for that to happen. If we could get more women involved in the sport, that would also help”.

“I love Kazan! FINA and the Organisers have done a fabulous work here, and if the World Cup in 2014 was already good, this time we are even better”.

Carlton (USA), Simpson (USA) and Nestsiarava (BLR) "tasting" their medals - Photo credit: Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Cesilie Carlton (USA, silver): “The competition was great, but was a bit cold out there. I have a new dive on my programme, and it worked out quite good. On my last dive, the scores were not coming and I started to feel nervous as I didn’t know exactly where I was in the ranking. Rachelle is always very good under pressure and she can put really good dives down”.

“My secret for success? To remain focused and try to do what I achieve during training. I have often said that I am afraid of heights, but this feeling is not so intense as before. When you are more confident and more experienced, this sensation is not so strong. But, truly speaking, I continue not looking down for too long…”

Yana Nestsiarava (BLR, bronze): “It was a great competition. The weather was a bit chilly, but we had a really nice time here in Kazan. I love the sport I do and when I am ready, in the edge of the board, everything disappears for me. It’s pure adrenaline. I have started this discipline after performing in a diving show”.