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Germany's Iris Schmidbauer the Roma 2022 high diving queen: "Who doesn't want to make history?"

For the first time, high diving was introduced in the European Aquatics Championships' programme. Germany's Iris Schmidbauer becomes the first European champion in history. After four dives from 20 metres (one compulsory dive, two optional dives and one intermediate dive), the 27-year-old athlete placed her gold medal around her neck.

How special is this historic win?

I have no words for it. I was hoping for a medal. I mean, who doesn't want to make history at the all-time first European Championship? It's insane! I also find it really cool that it was eight of us, from so many different countries. It’s good to be more and more in this discipline, it’s becoming official and now let’s hope to be at the Olympics in the future!”

You were in a great position going into the final round. How did you feel nerves-wise?

I was crazy nervous, but all I wanted to do was just do a nice dive. That was my goal. I managed to get a nice dive and I was happy with it and everything else that happened was put of my control.

What do you feel when you dive?

It’s always scary. You have always to overcome your fear every time. It gets a little bit better during the season as more as you do it but especially after a break it’s so scary to do your first dive. So I always have to try and calm down and look into the environment. Here I was just appreciating all these green trees around, I saw this rainbow and I was just trying to think about this nice environment and how happy I feel to be here and how honoured I feel to be here and I was thinking about my dive and I visualize it. I train it into parts and visualize together and when I am up there I just visualize the first part and you just go.

How did you start high diving?

I watched in 2013 the very first World Championships where high diving was first introduced and I actually watched Anna Bader compete and I was like “oh wow that’s amazing! Those girls like flip like off 20 metres, I’d love to learn how to do that too!” I actually never did diving professionally or gymnastics I just did “leisure sports”. While I was at University I started getting into diving and working my way into high diving and now I’m here competing together with Anna Bader who I was looking up to in 2013, never thinking I would be able to compete. And like winning the very first European diving championship is a dream coming true. I can’t believe it.

Do you like Rome?

Yes, I love Rome, it’s a really nice city. There’s so much to discover. So much history. It’s a great city.

Photo Diego Montano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto Use of photographs is only permitted for publications registered for editorial purposes. Credits must be mentioned.

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