Discover the life of a professional cliff diver, Iris Schmidbauer
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We recently sat down with German professional cliff diver and Red Bull Athlete, Iris Schmidbauer, who continues to push the boundaries of the sport as she works towards being the next world champion. We spoke with her about how she got to where she is today, her goals for the future and her biggest challenges so far. Daring, embodies female empowerment and inspires people every day to overcome their fears – read the interview below to find out more.
So Iris, how did you get into cliff diving?
It’s a long story! I was doing a bit of leisure diving, just once a week or so. I taught myself with YouTube videos and had some lessons with the diving club, but it was nothing competitive or professional.
When I was 19, I was just about to finish school and I saw the World Championships. Back then, there were only five girls diving. I was amazed that they could dive 20 meters off a platform. I fell in love with the sport and just wanted to learn how to do it, not thinking that I could actually end up competing.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Probably becoming European champion, but I was also really proud that I learned some new dives this year, including the back triple double, which is the hardest dive that I do. When I started getting into the sport, I always dreamed of doing these big dives, and now I’m doing them!
What are your goals for next year?
I’ve got a couple of goals. I want to get into 10-meter diving and get a full 10-meter ‘list’ on the side. For high diving or cliff diving, I want to do my best at every competition, get more consistent and get this ‘rip entry’ on every dive. Ideally, I want to finish top five in the world in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Of course, the goal is to get a podium next year, or maybe more than one!
What do you love about the sport?
I love that it’s always a challenge – that you always have to overcome your fear and push boundaries. It never gets easy. You just have to believe in yourself, and trust in your skills, and trust that everything you’ve learned will come together.
And I love that there’s not much you need in this sport. You just need a swimsuit and that’s it. It’s just about you, the height, the water, and also perfection. What I really love is when I’m just in nature, standing on a cliff, can feel the rocks underneath my feet, and just dive into the foaming ocean. When I swim back up to the surface and take that very first breath, I’m just so happy that I overcame that fear.
What does training look like for you?
I train with a traditional diving team in the pool, or we do dryland training, which is gymnastic-based. We’ve got trampolines, dry boards, and do a lot of conditioning. We split the time: two hours on dryland and two hours in the pool. That’s one session. We do two sessions a day.
What does your diet and nutrition plan look like? Does it change leading up to a competition?
I don’t really have a specific diet I follow, but I just try to use my common sense and eat healthily. But I do want to enhance my diet more this year, especially alongside Lifeplus supplements that can help me to become the best athlete I can be.
What is your advice for those starting out a new sport?
Oh, it’s tough. It’s always going to be tough to do something out of the ordinary, but if you really want it, you can do it. Just go and do it.
What is your mantra?
‘Push your impossible.’
What makes you stand out?
Most people who get into high diving come from a professional diving background. I only started training with 19, which is pretty late. Now I’m one of three girls who compete the hardest dive in the world. I’ve got the hardest list in the world right now. I just had to figure it all out myself. I don’t have an official high diving coach, I get coaching here and there and then have to put it all together and push myself.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
There have been a couple of big challenges. My parents aren’t really supportive of my diving. They don’t try and stop me, but they’re also not happy about it. They want me to be financially secure and to have a normal career.
Another big challenge was that when I started the sport, I pushed myself beyond my experience to do ‘triples’. I crashed three times with that dive. The last time that I crashed, I landed flat on my back from 20 meters. I was coughing blood and I had whiplash, but I was actually lucky I didn’t have any severe injuries. The injuries were more mental to be honest. When I had to get back up there and do the dive, I was so terrified. It took several years to get my confidence back.
Which strengths do you believe you have that make you a great diver?
I never give up. I always believe in myself and don’t listen to what other people tell me. If you know you can do something, don’t give up, and follow that dream.
Inspiring us with her tenacity and bravery, we couldn’t be prouder to sponsor Iris as she strives for greatness in the diving world. Follow our social media channels to keep up-to-date with her activity and join us in cheering her on!