Swimming World’s Top Five Diving Moments of 2018

Anna Bader (L) of Germany, Adriana Jimenez (C) of Mexico and Jessica Macaulay of Australia celebrate on the podium during the final competition day of the first stop at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas, USA on June 2, 2018. // Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool // AP-1VUWZH9YS2111 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //
Photo Courtesy: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool

By Erin Keaveny, Swimming World Contributor.

As 2018 comes to a close, its time to reflect on everything that happened this over the course of the year. Here are Swimming World’s top five diving moments of 2018.

#5) 14 year old Zhang Jiaqi’s performance in FINA World Cup

Zhang dove in her first FINA World Cup at the Wuhan leg of the competition on women’s ten meter. She won the event by 23.45 points, beating her teammate, and defending Olympic champion, Ren Qian.

While she is an impressive new face in the international diving scene, the young star has been emerging as one of the world’s best divers since before she was barely a teen. Zhang is the back-to-back Chinese national champion on 10m. She won her first national title last year in her national debut, upsetting Ren, the string favorite, only six months after she joined the national team.

Zhang, who started diving when she was seven, has lofty goals. In the interviews following her wins, she always talks about where she can improve and the hard-work she needs to put in to become a better diver.

Zhang has her sights set on a gold medal on platform in the 2020 Olympics.

#4) Daniel Restrepo Garcia wins men’s 3m at the Youth Olympics

Restrepo Garcia was in sixth palce after prelims on boy’s three-meter springboard at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Going into finals, the Chinese favorite Lian Junjie was in first place. And up until this point, Chinese divers had never lost an individual events at the Youth Olympic Games.

In finals, Restrepo Garcia’s strong performance and high DD list helped him find a place on the top of the podium. He could not hold back his tears of joy while he received his medal and heard Columbia’s national anthem play.

The 18 year old diver was his country’s flag bearer, and won Columbia’s first and only medal in diving at the Youth Olympic Games.

#3) David Boudia come out of retirement with a big splash.

In September 2017 three-time Olympian, and Olympic gold medalist, David Boudia announced he was coming out of retirement. But, he’s mixing things up and switching from platform to springboard. This year, Boudia competed in his first two meets, the FINA Gold Coast Grand Prix and USA Diving Winter Trails.

Boudia took home a silver medal from Australia and gold from winter trails, placing him back in the conversation as a potential medal contender for the 2020 Olympics. The Olympian showcased his consistent 307C, scoring 94.50 points in both contests.

2018 has been an exciting year for more than one reason in the Boudia household, as he and his wife announced they are expecting a their third child.

#2) Rhiannan Iffland becomes the most successful female cliff diver ever.

This year, the Australian diver became the most successful woman in the history of Red Bull Cliff diving when she won the 2018 Cliff Diving World Series, her third world series title.

Iffland also performed the highest scoring dive of 2018, a back triple with two twists in the pike position. The dive has a degree of difficulty of 4.3, and she earned 109.65 points from the judges.

She began her cliff diving career in 2015, and 2018 was only her second year as a permanent member of the World Series Tour.

#1) China sweeps the 2018 FINA Diving World Cup

The Chinese team took home all eleven gold medals from the 2018 FINA Diving World Cup. 296 divers from 26 countries competed in the seven day event.

The Chinese team dominated at the meet, which was held in Wuhan, China, taking first and second place in every individual event.

Their ten-meter platform mixed synchro team notably won by a massive 52 point margin, and the women’s synchronized ten-meter team won by 37 points.