By Olivia Sandusky

In the sports world, you’ve officially made it when your idols become your rivals.

Just ask Kobe Bryant about Michael Jordan. Unlike some of the NBA rivalries, however, the competition between high divers in these 17th FINA World Championships is filled with encouragement.

It has to be.

Take Owen Weymouth and Orlando Duque.

In his first World Championship appearance, 18-year-old Owen Weymouth climbed up to a competition that would frighten people of any age: the 27-meter high dive. That’s 88 feet up. So it was no surprise that the blonde, smooth-faced boy from Great Britain was nervous on his first day of competition.

“I was a little terrified, honestly,” Weymouth said, “but it’s something that I’ve really fallen in love with. As the youngest, I feel like I'm the first diver who started from a young age and had this as their main goal. A lot of the athletes here are retired 10m divers, where I focused on high diving early on so it’s a nice progression for the sport.”

Owen Weymouth (GBR) 

After Friday’s preliminary round, Weymouth ranked 19th of 22 athletes, with 119.45 points, but there’s still time for him to improve his position over Saturday’s next two stages.

For his part, Duque — who is something of a global citizen and dives for Colombia — finished Friday’s prelims in sixth, with 179 points.

“It’s amazing competing with Orlando,” Weymouth said, “because he’s someone I looked up to as a young boy and I’ve watched him over the years. He was my inspiration. I dive with him and socialize with him. We’re like friends now.”

Duque turns 43 this year. Age-wise, of course, he could Weymouth’s father.

Orlando Duque (COL)

Even if you know nothing about the sport, you might recognize the 5-foot-7 Duque, with his long black pony tail flying behind him.

The only thing longer than that pony tail is the list of Duque’s records, including his victory in the inaugural FINA high dive competition, in 2013 in Barcelona. But unlike some decorated veterans in whatever sport it might be who carry a less-than-humble air about them, Duque is a friendly competitor.

“I’ve seen a couple of generations come and go with this sport and to still be diving and have the young kids look up to me is nice,” Duque said.

“You work your whole career and prepare yourself because you want to compete, and then eventually you want to leave a good image. It’s nice to have an 18-year-old kid in the competition. It’s the future of the sport.”

Even at completely different phases of their careers, Weymouth and Duque have similar Olympic-sized goals for what lies ahead.

FINA’s high diving competition is in its third iteration. Duque is working hard to see the sport continue to progress despite his inevitable retirement.

“For the future of high diving, I see [the] Olympic Games. I may not be diving still to compete in them, but I’m working hard to see that happen for this sport.”

Weymouth also hopes to help make Duque’s aspirations come true.

“This is the next stage of the sport,” Weymouth said. “We owe it to guys like Orlando. I wanted to become an Olympic athlete, and I think that this sport will get there soon.”