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Articles: Diving


Diving is the sport of falling or jumping from an elevated platform into water while performing acrobatic and gymnastic manoeuvres.

The origins of diving are unclear; although it has probably been a human pastime for centuries, the first records of diving into water come from the United Kingdom in 1865, although these competitions did not have a high board to jump from. Jumping from a high board originated in Sweden and Germany, where gymnasts used it to practice their moves with a soft landing. Initially, it was called “Fancy diving”. The first federation dedicated to diving was formed in the UK in 1901 and named Amateur Diving Association, and the first formal championships were held in 1903.

The modern form of Olympic diving was held at the 1908 Olympics in London, and in the 1928 Games, all diving competitions were combined into the high board diving event. The sport is popular in the USA, China, UK, Germany, and Australia.

The sport of diving

Both men and women take part in diving competitions. Competitions are held at various junior levels and adult levels for both sexes. The equipment needed for the sport of diving is relatively simple: a pool to jump into; at Olympic events, this pool must be at least 5 meters deep. Additionally, a diving platform must be used, with a fixed and spring board platform at a height of 1 and 3 meters from the surface of the water. Most platforms also have fixed platforms at 5 and 10 meters. In Olympic competitions, only the 1 and 3 meter springboards are used in conjunction with the 10-meter platform. In other lesser competitions, divers can elect to use either the 3-5 or 10-meter platform.

Divers wear tight fitting swimming trunks, with men wearing short trunks and women wearing a one-piece swim suit.

Beginning of a competition

At most competitions, the order of divers performing is determined by a drawn lot. At this point, each diver submits a list of pre-determined dives, a series of acrobatic moves performed during a single decent. The dives are varied and have different levels of difficulty. At the start of competition, divers wait in the warm up area until their name is called, then head to the platform to execute their pre-planned dive.

Rules of diving

Diving competitions are judged by a panel of judges. There is normally a panel of either 5 or 7 judges; in five judge panels, the highest and lowest scoring judges’ scores are eliminated, and the three other judges’ scores are averaged. In seven panel judges, the procedure was the same; however, at the 2012 London Olympics, this procedure was modified to eliminate the two lowest and highest scoring judges, leaving again three judges scores to be averaged.

Judges give scores based on several criteria: the quality and hold of a handstand if needed; the height of the diver at the apex of the dive, the higher the diver the higher the dive; the distance the diver maintains between himself and the platform throughout the dive (they should be no more than 2 feet away); the body position of the diver in relation to the dive being performed, including feet touching and pointed toes; proper rotation and twist upon entering the water and the angle of water entry, which should be completely vertical.

The judges’ scores are then multiplied by a difficulty modifier to give the final score.

Flow and tactics for diving

There is very few tactics in play when a diver performs a dive that may only last for one or 2 seconds; the tactical and strategic play comes into play in the preparation phase. A diver may submit a list of dives where he places an easy dive before a complex one to build confidence. Furthermore, divers will have very rehearsed pre- and post-dive rituals to enable them to maintain composure. During big competitions, coaches are not allowed on the dive deck, and will generally communicate with their athletes via hand signals to help them stay calm and focused.

Diving competitions

Diving is governed worldwide by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA). It supervises 5 aquatic sports: swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming, and open water swimming. The main competition and pinnacle of the sport is the Olympic games; after that comes the FINA World Championship which is held every 2 years. Annually, the premier event is the Diving World Series, which is made up of four events held at various locations. Ranking points are collected at each competition to determine the season’s champion.

There is no real prize money in diving competitions, most professional divers earn money from corporate sponsorship. Like for many sports, there is no real route into professional diving; as a mainly amateur sport its merely a matter of practice and competing at a national and then international level.

Betting on diving

The betting market on diving events is limited to the main four or five events held every year. Diving betting is straight up betting on the winner of each discipline.