by Claire Forrest
If swimming were a family, the sport of diving is the black sheep. Diving is the illusive and enigmatic second cousin to swimming that you know you’re related to, but you’re not quite sure how. And if you’re a swimmer you’ll probably never fully understand diving. Case in point, here are some common questions every swimmer has about the sport of diving:
What swimmers think during diving…
- Do they get dizzy doing all those flips?
- Oh, no. He’s going to hit his head. Oh. Oh, thank goodness. He’s fine. My blood pressure can’t handle this.
- Are they supposed to make splashes or no?
- If I fell asleep right now, would anyone notice? Would the divers get mad?
- What are those numbers before each dive that sound like a GPA?
- Can I clap yet? Do I have to wait to clap until she surfaces from a dive?
- How is diving even scored?
- That is going to be scored a ten. Without a doubt.
- How was that a five?
- Oh, man. I wish I could sit in the hot tub between events. Why can’t swimmers do that?
- Is it bad that I think divers smacking is a bit entertaining? Just a teeny tiny bit?
- Can I clap for someone who just smacked?
- Diving takes forever. How are we only on round three?
- I could totally be a diver.
- What even is a triple axel?
- Oh, wait, THAT’s a triple axel?! No way, I could never do that. I can barely dive off the blocks correctly most days. I’ll stick to swimming.
- How can I have been a swimmer for so long and still have no idea how diving works?
Since we swimmers have to endure countless misunderstandings about our own sport, I decided to get the inside scoop so we can all be a little bit more knowledgeable and supportive of our divers:
First, that degree of difficulty (the GPA sounding number) is the numerical value of the dive, a.k.a., how difficult it is to complete. The lower the degree of difficulty, the easier the dive, and vice versa. The lowest degree of difficulty is 1.1, generally a front tuck off the one-meter board.
In terms of scoring, the aim is to be able to complete dives with a higher degree of difficulty, because the points you gain on a dive, zero through ten, are multiplied by the degree of difficulty. Simply, you’re going to get more points on a harder dive than you would on an easier one, even if you scored the same on both, because of that multiplication. If there are more than three judges, the middle three scores are what counts. Essentially, the highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the median is kept, which helps even out the fact that some judges just tend to score lower or higher than others.
And the smacking thing? Definitely clap. Yeah, my source told me, it sucks and it’s embarrassing to smack, but it feels worse to exit the pool to silence. Think what it would feel like if no one cheered for you just because you had a bad race. That’s no fun!
Now, I wanted to flip the script. It turns out that swimming is just as mysterious to divers.
What do divers think during swimming?
- Don’t they get bored going back and forth, back in forth, over and over again?
- If I have to explain what a shammy is one more time, I swear…
- Yes, divers sit in the hot tub. Their event lasts for hours and they don’t have a warm down pool. In fact, divers tend to be jealous of swimmers because we get to stay in the water. Do you think we can manage a trade?
- Yes, please clap after dives! Loudly!
- Really?! You’re sleeping during diving? Here I am awake and cheering through all the heats of your mile.
- What stroke would I compete in if I were a swimmer?
- Why do swimmers get to make so many splashes? Divers get points off for the splashes they make!
- The 3-meter is definitely the best perch from which to watch swim meets.
- Yes, swimmer, that bruise on my leg is from diving. Yes, it hurt a lot.
- Maybe I could be a swimmer.
- Dang, that 50 free was FAST! No, I’ll stick to diving.
- How can I have been a diver for so long and still not understand swimming?
Perhaps swimmers and divers are more alike than we realize…