The best men and women cliff divers put down their first competition dives at Possum Kingdom Lake in weather-hit Texas on Thursday for the third stop of the 2015 World Series.
The competition, originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday, was brought forward two days to Thursday as a contingency to guard against the possibility of the stop being affected by a return to the extreme weather which impacted the region earlier this week. Flash flooding and tornados have ravaged swathes of the USA's largest state.
On Thursday, the 11 male athletes were able to perform their first two required dives, with a fixed Degree of Difficulty of 3.8, to complete the Seeding Round and Round 1 of the Head-to-Head, and the 10 competitors launching into the first stop of the 2015 Women's World Series also performed their first two dives.
Colombia's Orlando Duque, the winner of 13 cliff diving world titles, and Texan Rachelle Simpson, the winner of the first Women's World Series in 2014, lead the standings in their respective categories, with the competition scheduled to conclude on Friday.
The men's 27m event will continue with Round 2 of the Head-to-Head and the seven-diver final, as the World Series' leading athletes execute their most spectacular and technically-challenging dives, and the women will complete the third and final round of their 20m competition.
Standings after Round 1 (Men)
Orlando Duque (COL) – 207.10pts
Jonathan Paredes (MEX) – 205.20 v Miguel Garcia (COL - Wildcard) –153.90
Gary Hunt (UK) – 203.30 v Kyle Mitrione (USA – Wildcard) – 119.70
David Colturi (USA) – 195.70 v Steven LoBue (USA) – 178.60
Blake Aldridge (UK) – 176.70 v Sergio Guzman (MEX – Wildcard) – 165.30
Artem Silchenko (RUS) – 188.10 v Andy Jones (USA) – 169.10
Standings after Round 2 (Women)
1. Rachelle Simpson (USA) – 150.30
2. Adriana Jimenez (MEX) – 143.50
3. Ginger Huber (USA) – 143.10
4. Lysanne Richard (CAN – Wildcard) – 141.40
5. Anna Bader (GER) – 131.70
6. Cesilie Carlton (USA – Wildcard) – 116.70
7. Jaqueline Valente (BRA – Wildcard) – 109.60
8. Tara Hyer Tira (USA – Wildcard) – 107.90
9. Helena Merten (AUS – Wildcard) – 98.50
10. Sophie Brundish (UK – Wildcard) – 85.20
Orlando Duque (COL)
It's been tough. Since the last stop in La Rochelle I've been a little bit sick and also travelling a lot. I flew from Paris to Hawaii two days ago and then flew to Dallas yesterday, so my head was still spinning this morning. But you know what you have to do and from experience you're able to perform. It's not the best situation for me, but we have to try and get ahead of the weather and that's what we're trying to do. The area's been hit really hard. Hopefully we can finish the competition. I need to take a good rest this afternoon, relax and be ready if we're diving tomorrow, and if not look ahead to Saturday.
Jonathan Paredes (MEX)
I'm very happy with my dives. I only arrived here yesterday and Orlando sent me a message saying you'll have to be ready as soon as you arrive as we're competing tomorrow. I kept that in mind and it was good for me today. I wasn't thinking about the weather, I knew the platform would be ready and that we'd be having a competition. We've come here to dive and that's what we want to do. I'm not thinking about finishing on the podium, I just want to do my best, and improve.
Rachelle Simpson (USA)
We only had a short practice and I was very nervous. I only got one practice of my big dive in and it was not great, so there is room for improvement, but to be in the lead after the first two rounds... I'm really happy. Texas has such a special place in my heart. It was my first cliff diving experience and I won the first time here, so I'm really glad to be back. The change in schedule means you're stepping out of the usual routine, but we have the dives and it's just a case of getting yourself in sync with yourself.
Adriana Jimenez (MEX)
I'm so happy to be second. It's just the first day, though, so I hope that I'm able to do as well in the final round. It's a pleasure for me to be a permanent high diver in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series and I'm so grateful for the opportunity. We arrived late yesterday, and then we got the news that the competition would be today, but you have to be able to adapt and be ready as soon as possible.