The 2019 World Aquatics Championships will be the 4th to host a high diving event: a special outdoor spectacle where divers leap from platforms 20 meters tall (women) and 27 meters tall (men). Divers at the event generally land feet first rather than head first, as we see at the elite international indoor level.
Much as pool swimming did over a century ago, high diving has bloomed out of natural settings: first actual cliffs and platforms affixed to existing structures, and now moving more into controlled venues within natural bodies of water, such as in the Red Bull Cliff Diving series, which recently dove at Hell’s Gate in Texas.
Unlike the first 2 competitions, which were held in natural (or ostensibly natural) bodies of water, the high diving competition at the FINA World Aquatics Championships have begun to migrate toward temporary venues – which, in part, allows for a more traditional spectator experience. In 2017, that meant temporary venue built in Batthyanyi Square, which was adjacent to a beautiful natural setting off the Danube River, but did not mean actual diving into the Danube River. In 2019 in Gwangju, South Korea, the event will move even further away from the large bodies of water, and the event will be held in a temporary venue built inside the Chosun University football (soccer) stadium.
Gwangju is a land-locked city of 1.4 million residents in southern South Korea. There are a few large lakes in the outlying parts of the city, including Jangseong Lake 5 where open water swimming is being held, but the major water feature through town are rivers, including the Yeongsan River.
The Chosun venue will allow spectator seating for 3,006, just over the ascribed FINA standard of 3,000 spectators. The high diving pool will be 7 meters (23 feet) deep, exceeding the FINA standard of 6m. The indoor diving pool will be 5 meters deep, which is the FINA standard.
The Nambu University International Aquatics Center will host the indoor swimming, with 11,000 seats, including around 8,000 temporary seats. That facility was first built for the 2015 World University Games, which Gwangju hosted.
There was no high-diving event at the World University Games.
Water Polo will also be hosted in a temporary pool in a soccer stadium, the Nambu University Football Field with 5,000 seats, while Artistic Swimming will be hosted in a temporary pool in the Yeomju Gymnasium. Swimming and diving will be the only events held in permanent venues at Nambu Univeristy.
High Diving Host Venues – FINA World Aquatics Championships
- 2013 – Port Vell, Barcelona, Spain
- 2015 – Kazanka River Bank, Kazan, Russia
- 2017 – Batthyanyi Square, Budapest, Hungary (artificial venue)
- 2019 – Chosun University Football Stadium, Gwangju, South Korea