Aussie takes advantage as Iffland leads ahead of finals while Lichtenstein positions for first Red Bull Cliff Diving win

Red Bull Cliff Diving (6)

The mercury was rising as the divers prepared for two rounds of diving on Day 2 in super sunny Polignano a Mare

The women were first out, swapping yesterday's balcony for the 21mplatform for Round 2's Intermediate dives.
In Round 2, Australian Xantheia Pennisi appeared to be regainingconfi dence after a scratch in Boston, fi nishing Round 2 in the top 5, withItaly's Elisa Cosetti maintaining her form and holding onto her fourth place,keeping her in contention for a podium fi nish at her home stop.

At the top of the scoreboards, it was all change, as yesterday's three-waytie meant defending World Series champion Rhiannan Iffl and was the fi rstto throw down her Intermediate dive, an Inward 3 Somersaults 1/2 Twistwith a DD of 3.4. The Aussie's eff orts saw her pick up three 8.5 scores, butwith Molly Carlson from Canada and US wildcard diver Kaylea Arnettsnapping at her heels, the Australian could only fi nish the Round in thirdplace.
Carlson was the penultimate diver in Round 2, and produced anoutstanding Back 2 Somersaults 2 Twists, but despite the seasoned WorldSeries divers putting down typically strong dives, wildcard Arnett could notbe contained. The Texan brought all the energy to the platform, punchedout an almost-perfect Forward 3 Somersaults 1/2 Twist
dive, picking up three 9.0 scores, moving into the lead after two rounds.

Round 3 saw the divers bring their fi rst of two Optional dives to the 21mplatform, with the Australian defending champion stepping up to the platewith a brand new dive, her high DD adding an extra degree of pressure toArnett and Carlson. There was nothing to suggest that the Forward 3Somersaults 1 1/2 Twists in pike position was a new addition to her repertoire as Iffl and seamlessly nailed each manouevre, signing off theday's eff orts with a rip entry and three 8.5 scores from the judges. TheCanadian answered by dialling it in on her fi rst Optional dive with a higherDD of 4.4 to Iffl and's 4.0, but a fraction of an over-rotation on entry shaveda few vital points off Carlson's score, leaving her to settle in second placeafter three rounds. Podium contender Arnett also came up slightly short onher entry, but the rookie looked in excellent spirits after maintaining a topthree fi nish ahead of the fi nals tomorrow.

In Round 2 in the men's competition, there was plenty for the home crowdto cheer about as Italy's own Andrea Barnaba took the top spot on thescoresheets after an exquisite and classy performance, as the Italianracked up 167.40 points with three 9.5 scores, challenging second place‘Ripmaster' Jonathan Paredes on 164.60 points.

Independent athlete Nikita Fedotov also maintained a stronghold in the topthree, but it was the third round of diving in the fi rst Optional dives thatsaw the majority of the drama unfold. Having tumbled down into 10thposition in Round 2, Spain's Carlos Gimeno regained lost ground, picking up126.90 points to fi nish the second day in fourth place. Defending WorldSeries Champion Constantin Popovici appeared to err on the side ofcaution, opting for an Inward 4 Somersaults 1/2 Twist with a relativelyconservative DD of 4.6, so was relying heavily on pinpoint execution. TheRomanian served up a stunner, earning three 9.0 scores from the judgesand a second place in the scoresheets ahead of the fi nals.

James Lichtenstein, who was within touching distance of victory at the laststop in Boston, showcased his strength and agility as the American nailedan Armstand Back 4 1/2 Somersaults in tuck, the compiled 129.60 pointsproving enough to propel him into fi rst overall. Next up, Nikita Fedotov waslooking to improve on his Round 2 third place fi nish, with the biggest DD ofthe competition at 6.0 with his Armstand Back 4 1/2 Somersaults in pike.After launching from the platform, Fedotov struggled to fi nd time for hisfeet-fi rst vertical landing and took a heavy hit as he entered the water.
Neither Mexico's Jonathan Paredes or local hero Barnaba could outplayLichtenstein's early bid for victory, but the Italian wildcard looks to be inwith a good chance of a dream podium fi nish on home soil if he retains hisfocus in the fi nals on Sunday.

Quotes
Rhiannan Iffl and, AUS
Today was an exciting day for me, I decided to kind of gamble a little bit,putting a new dive in there and upping it by point three. I was supernervous coming into today. I think it's the most nervous I've beencompeting for a while. It ended up paying off this time and yeah, still onetomorrow. Nowadays you have to be consistent across all four rounds to getthe job done. Fingers crossed for tomorrow but I'm going to be focusedheading into it. I just love this location, I I love the people, I love everythingabout it. I don't think that there's any particular reason that makes meinvincible at this location. I always have to bring it back to hard work andexperience. It's anyone's game when they turn up at each location.

James Lichtenstein, USA
Sitting in number one at the moment. We got another big dive tomorrow.Anything can happen, but I'm going to do my best and rely on my trainingto put the one down tomorrow. Get a good rest, get some physio, have agood dinner, and then just get a good warm up and have a good take off and a good entry tomorrow.

Andrea Barnaba, ITA
It's amazing! The crowd is screaming and clapping for us, that's amazing.Me and Elisa, we can feel all the people are cheering for us and that'samazing, I love it. And Polignano is a really cool city too, so I love to stayhere for doing some competition like this, and that`s amazing.