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A first for high diving in a European championships. Alessandro De Rose (ITA): "Being here in Rome is an indescribable dream"

Diving from 27 metres-high is not an ordinary thing to do. It takes a touch of above-average craziness "especially for the first time," says smiling Alessandro De Rose, Italy's high diver and world bronze medallist in 2017.

Alessandro's story is very nice, one of someone who made it, through merit and stubbornness. His journey began with traditional diving, in Cosenza, in the south of Italy, but at a very young age he stopped due to the untimely death of his father. A path full of obstacles, which, between a thousand adventures and changes, led him to focus on high diving and to enter the world circuit, as a pioneer among Italians. Thanks to his wife Nicole Belsasso, who is also his coach, De Rose has embarked on an exceptional path, together with the Italian Swimming Federation, creating a High Diving Programme that is training young athletes.

De Rose, it will be a high-level competition, in front of a warm and passionate audience. What do you expect?
"It will be a very big emotion. This is the first edition of the high diving European championships and to have it here in Rome is an indescribable dream. We've seen the warmth that the crowd puts into it and the energy it gives, so I can only imagine what it's like to be up there."

In the days leading up to this event, have you already dreamed about his race?
"It's actually a recurring dream. We've known about these European championships at home for two years now. The Italian Swimming Federation has started a project with us, putting together a high diving team. I have to admit that I have been thinking about these European championships so many times and have been entertaining the idea of winning a medal in front of this audience."

Do you see a risk in competing in front of your fans? Could that put a bit of pressure on you?
"There is pressure, it's normal. It can be negative in my everyday life with my wife. I feel sorry for her," he smiles, "because I do become a bit unbearable. But I have experience on my side and I can usually turn these nerves into adrenaline to compete at my best and give everything I got."

How much do you have to be 'crazy' to try such a discipline?
"Rather than crazy you have to be an adrenaline lover. With the Italian Swimming Federation project, the kids who will take part in this event have been lucky enough to follow a path that brings them up in a gradual way. This certainly helps to take that step toward the void, that step that many call crazy but that it's not."

And have you always had this adrenaline you have been talking about in your life? Have you always been looking for something new, a different challenge?
"Actually, I am a very fearful guy. However, I love extreme challenges, the ones full of adrenaline. I recently tried bungee jumping from 175 metres, it was different up there. We have water, there it was concrete at the bottom. Between the two activities there a key difference in my opinion: here I am in control of myself and my body, there a little less, you have to rely on a rubber band."

Have you got any other extreme challenges planned?
"I have already tried parachuting, I would like to try hang gliding, paragliding..."

De Rose will begin his chase for the European podium with the first mandatory dive scheduled today, August 18, from 18:00, on courts 1 and 2 of the Foro Italico Tennis Club.

Photo Giorgio Scala/DBM Use of photographs is only permitted for publications registered for editorial purposes. Credits must be mentioned.

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