Plymouth diver representing Great Britain among favourites to win world's biggest cliff diving event

The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is taking place in Switzerland
The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series is taking place in Switzerland Credit: PA

A diver based in Plymouth says it’s a “dream come true” to represent Great Britain at world’s biggest diving event.

Aidan Heslop is among the favourites to win an event at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Sisikon, Swtizerland, which finishes on Sunday 18 September.

The 20-year-old won an event last weekend and will compete again on Sunday in the penultimate event of this year’s diving season.

He said: "It really is a dream come true because it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was 11 years old.

"This weekend was my second win with Red Bull and the one before was incredible, I was over the moon on cloud nine for months afterwards.

Aidan Heslop dives from the 27-metre platform during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Switzerland Credit: Romina Amato/Red Bull/PA

"On Sunday, I just hit all four dives the way I know I can and to be able to stand on top of the podium is just such an awesome feeling."

Heslop said it was an “honour” to sing the national anthem on top of the podium over the weekend, especially after hearing the news Queen Elizabeth II had died.

He said: “It’s a tragedy and a huge thing for the whole country.

"I never got to meet the Queen but it has been an honour to sing the national anthem on top of the podium."

Cliff diving, also known as high diving, is a subcategory of the Olympic style of diving but the main difference is that the divers land on their feet when they hit the water.

In some events, divers execute acrobatics as they jump from heights of more than 20 metres.

"The impact is so hard from 27 metres that if you land on your hands, you’re not going to have a good time," Heslop said.

"The misconception that most people have with high diving is that you just go somewhere and do tombstoning, and it’s what we probably get quite a bad rap for.

Aidan Heslop won first place over the weekend at an event in Sisikon, Switzerland Credit: Romina Amato/Red Bull/PA

"Safety is a big part of what we do and the type of training I do is very similar to the Olympic divers."

At the age of 16, Heslop became the youngest diver ever to compete in the Red Bull World Series, making his debut at the 2018 season finale in Italy.

He also represented Wales that same year in the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Four years on, Heslop admitted he "always knew" he would be successful but never imagined he would get to this level at such a young age.

"I did kind of always know that I’d be in this position at some point but not at 20 years old,” he said.

Aidan Heslop is one of the favourites to win in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series Credit: Romina Amato/Red Bull/PA

Despite facing one of the biggest competitions of his career, Heslop has another nerve-wracking event coming up this weekend – meeting his girlfriend’s parents.

"Her parents are coming to support me in Italy and it’s the first time I will be meeting her dad, so that’s going to be interesting,” he said.

"There’s a lot on the line for these last two competitions, but that will be a good distraction."

You can watch Aidan Heslop compete for Great Britain in the Red Bull Cliff Diving competition here.