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Rachelle Simpson

United States

Rachelle Simpson with the 2014 World Series trophy

USA

The 28-year-old American was a gymnast before she started high diving and was undoubtedly the star performer in the first-ever Women's World Series in 2014. The year got off to a perfect start with a win at her home event in Texas and she followed that success with victory in Norway and then made it a hat-trick of wins at the 2014 final in Mexico to confirm her as the top athlete in her sport and a very worthy champion. Rumour has it that she's the female clone of the young Orlando Duque...

Successfully defending her title in 2015, 'Rocco' will be the one to catch for an ever-improving group of athletes, and the Texan has set her 2016 goals: "I want to come out strong and to increase my scores by .5 or 1.0 on each of my dives. Last year I was consistently scoring 8.0's-8.5's, this year I would like to bump that to 8.5's-9.0's." The 2015 FINA high diving world champion embraces the increase in amount of women's competitions from three in the previous years to seven: "Now we have almost the same amount of competitions as the men. I think it will help people see that women are the real deal and not just an exhibition. It also gives us women the chance to cliff dive more and with more cliff diving comes more experience and a higher level of diving!"