Getting to Know: Xantheia Pennisi

Xantheia Pennisi
On her 22nd birthday, the Australian wildcard takes on our quickfire questions

Xantheia Pennisi's sportive career has already taken a few turns, from gymnast to traditional diving and on to cliff diving. A show in Australia, together with fellow Aussie Rhiannan Iffland, was the beginning of it all; from 10m to 15m and 17m in 2017 and then to the first 20m dive in June 2018. The Brisbane-born athlete, who celebrates her 22nd birthday today, has competed at six World Series stops to date, and will once again feature as a wildcard in the upcoming 2021 season. Here, we get to know her a little better with a few quickfire questions:

What scares a cliff diver?

The height is scary but for me, mostly it's hitting the bottom of the pool.

What's your parents' attitude towards your dangerous passion?

They can barely watch my diving because it scares them, but they support me and are so excited for me to compete.

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Pennisi made her World Series debut at the age of 19 in Mostar. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

Could you do mental maths during a dive?

Absolutely not!

How high does a cliff have to be before you say no?

I would probably go up to 25m.

What age would you allow your children to jump off 21/27m?

Depending if they are prepared and ready, 16 years old minimum.

What do you say is true luxury?

Being at a tropical beachside with my family/loved ones to me is true luxury.

Is there a sport your really suck at?

Basketball!! Cannot play it to save my life!

Who would you want to be for a day?

I have always wanted to be a stylist or fashion designer, so being that for a day would be awesome!

Personal dream location?

Bora Bora!

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Diving into paradise in the Philippines last year. Photo: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool.

Why cliff diving and not ballet?

I was a gymnast, then traditional diver and wanted something more, and cliff diving sparked something inside me.

Describe yourself in 3 words:

Ambitious, determined, easy going

Your biggest weakness:

Chocolate - I love chocolate!

What headline would you want to read about yourself?

First Ever Female to Perform [insert dive] on 20 meters!

Something you always wanted to do but never dared to so far?

I would love to start my own clothing brand but I have not yet dared to.

What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

I would tell my 10-year-old self not to worry what others think about you.

Please, finish this sentence: If I could tell you just one thing...

It would be to count your blessings and be grateful every day!

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Pennisi (R) with fellow Australian cliff diver Rhiannan Iffland. Photo: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool.

What's the most important asset in cliff diving?

The most important asset for me in cliff diving having is diving consistency in the lead ups for the 20m dive.

Looking at the pool of cliff divers, build the perfect athlete.

The perfect cliff diving athlete to me is someone who knows when to work hard but also knows when to have fun, they are brave and aren't afraid to stand out of the crowd.