Diving is one of the most followed Olympic spectator sports in the world. But for many people, it is just that – a spectator sport. This is not because of its difficulty, although it is a very challenging sport, but because so little is known about it. With that in mind, here is a breakdown of the basics of the dive.
The dive can be broken into three parts – the take-off, the flight and the entry.
When taking off, the diver can either face the water and have a running start (usually the case when jumping from a spring board), or he or she can have their back to the water and fall in backwards (usually done off a hard platform).
During the flight, the diver can combine several different acrobatic moves, such as a tuck, pike or spin. When tucking, the body is moved into a fetal position, similar to that of a cannon ball. A pike is similar to a tuck as the body is bent at the waist. However, in a pike the legs remain straight.
The final step in the dive is the most important. The entry has to be clean and as vertical as possible, limiting the splash. When entering the water head first the legs must be held tightly together with the toes pointing up. The hands are held above the head, palms together, with the fingers pointing toward the water. When landing feet first, the arms remain tight against the side of your body. The legs are also together and the toes are pointed towards the water.
Although the breakdown of the dive seems simple, the actual process is very challenging. It can also be very dangerous for inexperienced swimmers and divers. But as usual, the only way to improve is with practice.