Diver 'on top of the world' after coming second in Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series

Aidan Heslop dives from the 28-metre platform during the final competition day Credit: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool/PA

Plymouth diver Aiden Heslop said he was “on top of the world” to take second place in the world’s largest cliff diving competition.

Heslop, who lives and trains in Plymouth, represented Great Britain in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, where divers execute acrobatics as they jump from heights of more than 25 metres.

Mr Heslop came in second place over the weekend in the penultimate event of the 2022 cliff diving season in Polignano a Mare, Italy.

The young athlete went into his final dive in fifth place but climbed up the leader board after receiving a 10 from the judges for a spectacular dive.

Mr Heslop said: “I’m on top the world. To jump from fifth place to second and get scored a 10 on the way is not a bad feeling.

“The atmosphere in Polignano is always great, we love this stop because the crowd is always amazing here.

The event is the world’s largest cliff diving competition Credit: Romina Amato/Red Bull Content Pool/PA

“I did my first ever Red Bull competition here in 2018, so it’s a special place for me here.”

Cliff diving, also known as high diving, is a subcategory of the Olympic style of diving but the main difference is that the divers enter the water feet first.

“The impact is so hard from 28 metres that if you land on your hands, you’re not going to have a good time,” Mr Heslop said.

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

Mr Heslop was joined on the winners’ podium on Sunday by France’s Gary Hunt, who came first, and Catalin Preda, of Romania, who was third.

His mother Helen Heslop and her husband travelled to Polignano to watch him compete and said she is “beyond proud” of his achievements.

“Obviously it is nerve-wracking to watch but I am absolutely beyond proud of Aidan,” she said.

“He has worked so hard for this and what he has achieved at such a young age is amazing.”

In 2018, Mr Heslop became the youngest diver to compete in the Red Bull World Series, aged 16, and he represented Wales in the Commonwealth Games in Australia that year.

Four years on, he admits 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.