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Cesilie Carlton: The world-class high diver, who has fear of heights

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High diving will be one of the most spectacular disciplines of the 2017 FINA World Championships from 28 to 30 July in a very attractive environment on the banks of the Danube river, right in front of the Hungarian Parliament Building. It is not easy to say who will be the top favourite in the women’s event, but 2013 world champion and 2015 World silver medallist Cesilie Carlton will be one of the medal contenders.

The 2017 FINA World Championships will be the third one with high diving included in the competition programme. The venue will be the heart of Budapest at Batthyány Square, where the best athletes of this beautiful discipline will jump off a 20 meter platform.

Cesilie Carlton has the best results so far in high diving at the FINA World Championships. The San Antonio-born athlete competed in swimming and then gymnastics until she realized that she could combine the two sports, so she took up diving and later high diving.  


She became a high diver in 2009 at age 28, and she needed some time to learn the technical part of this sport and to gain some experience. There was a man who was supporting her during this process. It was experienced high diver Jason Carlton who later married her…

‘I really started high diving because of my husband – Jason. He's been high diving for around 20 years. When I first met him, I thought he was insane. I'd never even heard of high diving until I started dating him. He told me he dived off a 90-foot high (27-metre) dive. I think it was to impress me - and it worked. It really did.’ (, 1 September, 2013)

Cesilie Carlton fall in love with high diving and she became one of the most successful representatives of this sport. She won the historical gold medal at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona, and then won silver in 2015 in Kazan.


The best high divers take part in the Red Bull Cliff Diving Series as well. The women’s competition was held in 2014 for the first time, when Carlton finished sixth overall. She won the bronze medal in 2015 and 2016.

She has performed in theme park and 'daredevil' shows across the world including at the City of Dreams Casino in Macau, China, where she performed in two 90 minute shows twice daily, performing a series of high dives. (, 07 May 2014)

‘Look, I know this is going to sound crazy, but I have a pretty good fear of heights going on when I am up there. A lot of people have been saying it's vertigo but it's not - it's a fear of heights. A pretty significant fear of heights.’ (, 1 September, 2013)

The women’s high diving competition with Cesilie Carlton at the 2017 FINA World Championships will be held on 28 and 29 July at Batthyány Square.


Born: San Antonio (United States),27 March, 1981

Medal record:

World champion (2013 Barcelona); World silver medallist (2015 Kazan)

Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series: bronze medallist (2015, 2016)