America's David Colturi produced a superb display of diving on the first day of action at Possum Kingdom Lake, securing an overnight lead at the fourth stop of the 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Texas. Joining him in the top three are Poland's Kris Kolanus in second place and fellow American Andy Jones in third. In the women's it was Mexico's Adriana Jimenez and Australian Helena Merten whose brilliant first dives couldn't split the judges, and the two will share a lead heading into the final rounds on Sunday afternoon, with reigning champion Rhiannan Iffland in third place.
Colturi, fresh from a second place finish at the previous stop in Italy, seems to be finding his very best form from 27m once again following shoulder surgery last season and, buoyed on by the enthusiastic home fans who had gathered on boats, kayaks and paddleboards, the 28-year-old twice prompted the judges to pull out scores of 9.5 out of a possible 10. It was a red hot start from the former Olympic diver on a scorching day, and he couldn't hide his joy afterwards:
"It feels incredible," said Colturi. "I've been struggling to get this consistency over the last couple of years and to finally find it here now, keeping the momentum from Polignano, and doing it front of my friends and family here in Texas is just the best feeling. Two more big ones tomorrow and staying on top of that podium, that's the target."
Six-time champion Gary Hunt continued with his tactic of trying a new second round intermediate dive at every stop this year, but just as in Portugal and Italy, the Englishman failed to impress the judges and will begin the final rounds down in ninth place.
In the women's competition, Jimenez and Merten were both in magnificent form from the 27 metre platform during the first two rounds, and will start Sunday's finals in joint-first place with 161.85 pts.
"I'm not thinking too much about my position," said Jimenez, "I'm just going to take it dive by dive, enjoy the competition, and see what happens."
Reigning champion Rhiannan Iffland sits just three points behind the leaders in third place, and the Australian will be aiming for another win here at the scene of her first ever victory as a wildcard in 2016.
In what is already a thrilling 2017 season, another memorable final is expected on Sunday afternoon as the world's best cliff divers battle once more for crucial championship points.
Standings (after 2 of 4 rounds)
1 – David Colturi (USA) – 177.40pts.
2 – Kris Kolanus (POL) – 169.80
3 – Andy Jones (USA) – 165.60
4 – Blake Aldridge (GBR) – 165.00
5 – Miguel Garcia (W) (COL) – 164.40
6 – Michal Navratil (CZE) – 164.00
7 – Jonathan Paredes (MEX) – 158.80
8 – Alessandro De Rose (W) (ITA) – 158.20
9 – Gary Hunt (GBR) – 156.00
10 – Steven LoBue (USA) – 155.40
11 – Alain Kohl (W) (LUX) – 154.40
12 – Sergio Guzman (MEX) – 147.60
13 – Orlando Duque (COL) – 141.80
14 – Owen Weymouth (W) (GBR) – 129.40
1 – Adriana Jimenez (MEX) – 161.85pts.
1 – Helena Merten (AUS) – 161.85
3 – Rhiannan Iffland (AUS) – 158.80
4 – Ginger Huber (USA) – 150.50
5 – Cesilie Carlton (USA) – 136.10
6 – Tara Hyer-Tira (W) (USA) – 132.30
7 – Maria Paula Quintero Torres (W) (COL) – 117.10
8 – Iris Schmidbauer (W) (GER) – 115.30
Watch Live from Texas
This event will be LIVE on September 03 from 3 pm local time (8 pm GMT) on www.redbullcliffdiving.com, Red Bull TV and Facebook. Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. Find out more at about.redbull.tv
If you miss the event or simply want to watch all the action again, the replay will be available on demand a few minutes after the event.