Diving as we know it is a popular and fun thing to do – one of the first things we learn having grasped the basics of swimming, and in some cases young lads and lasses will learn to dive before they know how to swim. For most of us that is about where we stop but there are those who continue to practice the art, for that is what it has become, and inevitably there are those of us who take their art to the extreme and hence we have a high diving world record.
Let us first give you the basics of competitive diving before we move onto the extreme diving that we know will interest you guys. Big shout of thanks goes out to our friends at Wikipedia – a great source of reference.
Diving competitions consist of three disciplines: 1m and 3m springboards, and the platform. Competitive athletes are divided by gender, and often by age groups as well. In platform events, competitors are allowed to perform their dives on either the five, seven and a half or ten meter towers. In major diving meets, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships, platform diving is from the 10 meter height.
Divers have to perform a set number of dives according to various established requirements, including somersaults and twists in various directions and from different starting positions. Divers are judged on whether and how well they completed all aspects of the dive, the confirmation of their body to the requirements of the nominated dive, and the amount of splash created by their entry to the water. Theoretically, a score out of ten is supposed to be broken down into three points for the takeoff, three for the flight, and three for the entry, with one more available to give the judges flexibility.
There are six “groups” into which dives are classified: Forward, Back, Inward, Reverse, Twist, and Armstand. The latter applies only to Platform competitions, whereas the other five apply to both Springboard and Platform.
- In the Forward Group (Group 1), the diver takes off facing forward and rotates forward
- In the Back Group (2), the diver takes off with their back to the water and rotates backward
- In the Reverse Group (3), the diver takes off facing forward and rotates backward
- In the Inward Group (4), the diver takes off with their back to the water and rotates forward
- Any dive incorporating an axial twisting movement is in the Twist group (5).
- Any dive commencing from a handstand is in the Armstand group (6).(only on platform)
During the flight of the dive, one of the four positions may be specified:
- Straight – with no bend at the knees or hips
- Pike – with knees straight but a tight bend at the hips
- Tuck – body folded up in a tight ball, hands holding the shins and toes pointed.
- Free – Some sequence of the above positions.
These positions are referred to by the letters A, B,C and D respectively.
In the video below from rosebowlaquaticsorg there is a great compilation of dives performed by the US Olympic dive team shortly before they headed off to Bejing for the 2008 games. This less than 100% serious demonstration was held at the Rose Bowl Centre in Pasadena, California and it is great to see the team relaxing and having some fun as well as executing their dives with precision and accuracy.
So now you know what competitive diving is all about it is time to check out the extreme element. Enter one Dana Kunze who currently holds the world record, in fact has more records in the diving world than any other practioner of high diving. His 172 feet reverse tripple somersault put him back on top of world – awesome and frightening – respect to Dana Kunze. korismith’s video shows the dive.
Both Germany and Sweden have a long history of diving but it was the United States who dominated the sport for most of the twentieth century. Now we see the Chinese dragon has raised its head and sweeps all before it – in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics China won 7 of the 8 gold medals on offer (Australia winning the other), and they won 11 of a total of 24 medals on offer. And the United States did not win one medal at the diving meet in Beijing.
Just to cheer you up we have found our friends at redbull are into sponsorship of extreme diving and have posted this video – come on you American divers – where are you hiding?