FILIPINO-Australian diver Xantheia Pennisi will have her long-overdue homecoming as she sees action in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in El Nido, Palawan April 12 to 13.
The 20-year-old diver, whose mother is from Tarlac, is honored to be the first diver of Filipino descent to compete at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
“Everything happens for a reason, and this stop happened for me,” said Pennisi. “I will be diving for my family and my biggest supporter, my mum.”
“I haven’t been in the Philippines since 2012, and I cannot wait to be back!” she added. “I feel very special to be representing Australia and the Philippines. I know my family are supporting me, and I want to make them proud.”
Growing up in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Pennisi was introduced to the sport when she was four.
Later on, she started high diving when she was in her teenage years, and not long enough her coaches and peers saw her potential.
After meeting Rhiannan Iffland, three-time Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series women’s champion, Pennisi was inspired and she “immediately wanted to be a part of this amazing sport!”
Finally, after years of preparation, she made her official debut in last year’s Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series as a Wild Card entry at the sixth stop in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Although she’s still a newcomer to the sport, Pennisi is focused on building on the success of her rookie season.
“For me, this year is still about learning the sport of cliff diving,” said Pennisi. “I have only been cliff diving for less than a year, so I am focusing on doing consistent dives and getting high scores.”
“I don’t have the biggest dives yet, but I am working on them. My goal is to place in the top five at all the competitions,” she added.
Diving in front of her fellow Filipinos, Pennisi has been training six times a week to build core and leg strength, while mastering the execution of dives and somersaults.
Her trip to the Philippines won’t be complete without enjoying her favorite things about the country.
“I love the exotic fruit, especially green mango - they are my favorite!” shared Pennisi. “I love the local markets and street food. The warm weather and all the incredible beaches are a great bonus, but seeing my family is my favorite part of the Philippines.”