Heslop wins thrilling high diving world title

15 Feb 2024

Aidan Heslop produced a breath-taking closing dive to become world champion for the first time in his young career in the Men's 27m high diving event in Doha. 

Having placed fifth on his World Aquatics Championships debut last summer, Aidan put himself in contention for the podium this time around after two solid dives on Tuesday's first day of competition, meaning he sat second heading into the final two dives on Thursday.

It was always likely to come down to his closing Forward 4 Somersaults 3 1/2 Twists Pike (5187B), with a 6.2 degree of difficulty - the hardest dive ever completed at a World Championships. The 21-year-old nailed it, receiving eights and 8.5s from the judges to receive a massive 151.90 points, leaving him on 422.95 overall.

There was a nervous wait as he watched Catalin-Petru Preda of Romania and France's Gary Hunt finish their lists after him - but Aidan's score was enough to secure him a maiden world title by a margin of nine points. 

"It's pretty nice [being called world champion]! The dives weren't exactly what I was looking for, especially on the first day - but today, I put that final dive down like it should be most of the time, it was pretty consistent today, and when you've got the big dives, that's all you need to be on the top of the podium," he said.

"I'm ecstatic, absolutely, but there's more to be done, that's for sure. That dive has brought me happiness and sadness at different competitions. It's been good this week - I was really nervous up on top, as you would be, but I knew what I needed to do, and the two I've done in training this week have been pretty excellent as well.

Aidan Heslop high dive action shot Doha 2024.JPG
Aidan Heslop completes one of his dives during the first two rounds in Doha

"I think this was probably the worst of the three, actually, but if it's enough to get me on top of the podium, I'm happy with that right now!"

Alongside some of his fellow high divers, Heslop's drive to execute more and more difficult dives is driving this incredible sport on to greater heights - and that is something he hopes can continue.

"Being at the forefront of some of the biggest dives that people are doing nowadays is fun - it's risky, but it's fun," he said. 

"We are throwing these big dives that are most of the times within our limits, and we know what those are. But to deliver those in competition is a completely different story.

"I really like the position I'm in right now, and what I am doing to help develop the sport and develop those bigger dives."