Introduction To Diving

    As a spectator of the sport of diving, your appreciation is greater if you know what to watch for…what makes a great dive.

    TYPES OF DIVES: There are six different groups of platform and springboard dives. The first four types involve rotating in different directions relative to the board and the starting position, while the fifth group includes any dive with a twist and a sixth group involves an armstand starting position on the platform.

    Forward Group: The diver faces the front of the board and rotates toward the water. Dives in this group vary from the simple front dive to the difficult forward four and one-half somersault.

    Backward Group: All the dives in the backward group begin with the diver on the end of the board with his back to the water. The direction of rotation is away from the board.

    Reverse Group: Formerly called “gainers,” these dives begin with the diver facing the front of the board (using a forward approach) and rotating toward the board.

    Inward Group: The diver stands on the end of the board with his back to the water and rotates toward the board or opposite of the backward group’s movement. The earlier term for these dives were “cutaways.”

    Twisting Group: Any dive with a twist is included in this group. There are four types of twisting dives: forward, backward, reverse, and inward. Because of the many possible combinations, this group includes more dives than any other.

    Armstand Group: In platform diving, there is a sixth, unique group of dives called “armstands.” Here, the diver assumes a handstand position on the edge of the platform before executing the dive.

    BODY POSITIONS: When each type of dive is performed, the diver utilizes one or more of the four different types of body positions:

    Tuck: The body is bent at the waist and knees, the thighs are drawn to the chest while the heels are kept close to the buttocks.

    Pike: The legs are straight with the body bent at the waist. The arm position is dictated by the particular dive being done or by the choice of the diver.

    Straight: This position requires that there be no bend at the waist or knees. However, there may be an arch in the back, depending on the dive. As in the pike position the arm placement is either the diver’s choice or defined by the dive done.

    Free: This is not an actual body position but a term used to describe the diver’s option to use any of the other three positions or combinations thereof when performing a dive which includes somersaults and twists.


    As you watch more and more diving, especially by talented performers, you will observe that although several divers may do exactly the same dive, it never looks quite the same. This is because each individual has different mannerisms, characteristics of movement, strengths and sense of timing-which all add up to an abstract but observable phenomenon called “style”.

    Style is difficult to assess by any standard, except whether or not you like it. This is why it is hard to judge diving. Even though there are criteria of execution all divers must meet, evaluation remains a subjective process. No matter how well a dive is performed, artistic likes and dislikes of the judges play a large part in the outcome of any contest, and for this reason there are usually differences of opinion among coaches, competitors, judges and spectators about the accuracy of results.

    A dive is scored between zero and 10 points in either full or ˝ -point increments by each judge. A table of the scores and the criteria for how they should be awarded follows:

      0 completely failed
      ˝ – 2 unsatisfactory
      2˝ – 4˝ deficient
      5 – 6 satisfactory
      6˝ – 8 good
      8˝ – 10 very good

    In classifying a dive into one of the judging categories, certain parts of each dive must be analyzed and evaluated, and an overall award obtained. The parts of a dive are:

    Approach: Should be smooth but forceful, showing good form.

    Takeoff: Must show control and balance plus the proper angle of landing and leaving for the particular dive being attempted.

    Elevation: The amount of spring or lift a diver receives from the takeoff greatly affects the appearance of the dive. Since more height means more time, a higher dive generally affords greater accuracy and smoothness of movement.

    Execution: This is most important, for this is the dive. A judge watches for proper mechanical performance, technique, form and grace.

    Entry: The entry into the water is very significant because it is the last thing the judge sees and the part probably remembered best. The two criteria to be evaluated are the angle of entry, which should be near vertical, and the amount of splash, which should be as little as possible.

    Seven judges are used in a National Competition. When the judges awards are given, the two highest and two lowest scores will be eliminated. Usually five judges are used at preliminary or invitational competitions with the one highest and lowest score eliminated. The remaining three scores are totaled and that number will then be multiplied by the degree of difficulty rating assigned to that dive. The DD is predetermined with a table range from 1.2 to 3.6 in one-tenth increments.


    Junior divers participate in various competitions throughout the year, including;

    Divers who qualify move on to the
    • Spring Junior Region Synchro Championships (To Be Reviewed)

    Divers who qualify move on to the
    • Spring Synchro Championships (To Be Reviewed)
    • Summer Junior Region Championships

    Highest finishers move on to the
    • Summer Junior Zone Championships

    Top divers move on to
    • Junior & Age Group National Championships

    Representing the USA in international diving competitions.
    • Junior National Team

    USA Diving clubs also hold invitational competitions for future champions and junior divers throughout the year.


    Novice diving competition has been developed to allow new and less experienced divers an opportunity to compete with other divers at their ability level and to allow a diver to start competing at any age level. Age groups are 7 & Under, 8-9 (or 9 & Under), 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18. Novice diving is designed to develop interest and stimulate improvement in the sport of diving. The Novice events are offered at Association and Invitational meets. Novice divers precede the Junior divers in most events. Novice divers automatically advance to Junior Olympic diving when they win three events at three well attended meets. Also, Novice divers may elect to compete in Junior Olympic events if the diver is able to execute the list of dives required by his/her age group category. For Novice diving rules and required dives, please see “The United States Diving Rules and Regulations”, published by USA Diving, Inc.


    The Junior Olympic team is comprised of divers in their age groups who have a minimum of two junior-level dive lists on 1m, 3m or platform. Requirements for these age groups, for the Association, Regional, Zone and Junior National Championships are located in “The United States Diving Rules and Regulations”, published by United States Diving, Inc. The Junior Olympic Groups Age Group Team train 3 to 6 days per week, 2.5 hours per day and Age Group National Team trains 5 to 6 days per week, 3 hours per day.


    This group is designed for divers preparing to represent their high school, only without the obligation of USA Diving competitions or Atlantic Diving Team fund raising. This program is also designed for area college students who need coaching and a facility to train for collegiate competitions without the obligation of attending USA Diving competitions or participating in Atlantic Diving Team fund raising. This program is also open to experienced recreational and Masters divers. Should a diver desire to compete for Atlantic Diving Team, they will need to make a full team membership commitment by joining an appropriate competitive group by coaches’ discretion and paying the team dues and fund raising fees.

    Masters Diving

    Masters Diving: This group is open to adults age 18 and over who are either new to the sport or are returning. US Masters Diving offers sanctioned meets and is enjoyed on a national and international level. Divers may train for fitness and for recreational purposes and may also compete in Masters meets throughout the world.

    For competitive athletes, US Diving registration is required at the appropriate level. To train for recreational and fitness only, AAU registration is required

    All adult US Masters divers are welcome to join Atlantic Diving Team workouts based, subject to coach’s discretion. Check with the coordinator for workout availability.

    • Fees: Dive workouts area available via monthly enrollments based on the number of days per week an athlete will train.
    • New divers: For information and enrollment, contact our Masters Coordinator at