You probably already know that diving consists of a diver jumping from a springboard or platform and performing acrobatic manoeuvres before plunging into water.
While the prospect of flinging yourself off a board for the first time may seem a little scary, it’s something that some of us readily do, perhaps on the beach when we drop off a small cliff face into the sea. The depth of the water in modern diving pools gives us ample protection provided the dive is done safely. Diving pools have depths ranging from between 3m (9.8ft) and 6m (19.7ft).
Diving is one of the original ‘extreme sports’ and gives a great adrenaline rush. Jumping from a 5m board is the equivalent of jumping from the roof of a house.
All competitive diving is done from springboards set at 1m (3.3ft) and 3m (9.8ft) above the surface of the water. Alternatively, it can take place from platforms or firm boards set at 5m (16.4ft), 7.5m (24.6ft) and 10m (32.8ft), though when it comes to firm boards, all major competitions admit dives from the 10m board only.
Diving has traditionally been an individual sport, but at the Olympic Games in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, both men's and women's synchronised diving were added.
Synchronised diving involves two divers who perform either on the 3m springboard or 10m platform using the same or similar dives. Judges scrutinise both the execution of each individual diver and how synchronised they are.
Getting started in diving requires very little, other than perhaps lots of courage and some tight fitting swimwear that will stay on when you hit the water!
How to get involved in diving
Although in recent times the availability of facilities for diving have generally been on the decline — with the times for diving being reduced at many municipal pools — there are still some good facilities to try out the sport and many clubs are ready to take on a willing learner.
One of the reasons for the closure of facilities has been the perception of diving as being a dangerous activity, but diving with sensible safety management is a very safe activity.
Diving is increasingly viewed as an elite activity, only undertaken by expert competition divers, but they all had to start somewhere! Many good divers started off using public facilities, and then went on to find a local club where they could learn to do it properly.
To get started it is worth enquiring at your local swimming pool, gym or leisure centre. Even if they don’t have the facilities themselves, they may know where the nearest ones are.