Skip to main content

Fundamentals of Diving

New to Diving Hero

Before your child jumps into the pool, it's helpful to understand the basics of the sport and what to expect.

Types of Diving


This event uses flexible “bouncy” boards that are set at heights of one meter and three meters above the water’s surface. You can also adjust these boards to be more stiff or flexible.

Synchronized Diving

This event uses either the three-meter springboard or the 10-meter platform. Two divers compete as a team and attempt to perform the same dive at the same time while mirroring one another.


This event uses static platforms set at five meters, seven-and-one-half meters, and 10 meters.


A panel of five or more judges will look at five different elements of each dive and award the athlete a score between one and 10. The highest and lowest scores are usually discarded to reduce subjectivity, with the three remaining scores added together and multiplied by the degree of difficulty of the dive.

New to Diving scoring chart graphic

Elements of Judging

  1. Starting Position: Divers can choose from a variety of different starting positions when on the board or platform, and will be judged on the execution of the position they choose.
  2. The Approach: Divers should move to the end of the board in a smooth motion while displaying good form.
  3. Takeoff: Divers should show good balance and control, and should start an acceptable distance from the platform or springboard.
  4. Flight: Divers should maintain control of their bodies throughout the duration of their time in the air. They should also complete the required amount of rotation and revolution, depending on the elements of their dive.
  5. Entry: The angle of entry into the water should be straight and cause a minimal splash

Categories of Dives

Forward Group

The diver starts facing the water and then rotates down toward the water once in the air. Dives in this group vary from simple front dives to difficult forward, four-and-one-half somersaults.

Backward Group

The diver starts at the end of the diving board facing the ladder, with their back to the water, then rotates away from the board.

Reverse Group

The diver starts facing the water as if they were performing a forward dive, but then rotates toward the board.

Inward Group

The diver begins at the end of the board with their back to the water, like they were performing a backward dive, but then rotates toward the board

Twisting Group

Dives that have a twist (excluding armstands) fall into this group. The four types of twists: forward, backward, reverse, and inward.

Armstand Group (Platform Only)

The diver starts their dive by going up into a handstand at the end of the platform.

Body Positions


Legs are bent at the waist and go straight up toward the diver’s head. Arm placement often depends on the particular dive the diver is attempting.


Legs are bent at the waist and the knees, with the diver’s thighs against their stomach and heels kept close to the buttocks. Feet and knees should be kept together and toes should stay pointed.


No bend at the knees or waist. The type of dive being performed defines where the arms are placed and whether or not the back can be bent.


The diver has the option to use any of the other three positions, or any combination of them while performing a twisting dive.

Pool Standards

The diving pool can be part of the competitive swimming pool or a separate diving well. The sides must be painted in light blue or white, and the bottom must contrast (usually dark lines or design).*

Water Temperature 

Water temperature of the pool should be no less than 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit).


Boards should be at least 4.8 meters (15.75 feet) long and one-half meter (1.64 feet) wide with a non-slip surface.

Water Depth

The water’s depth must be 3.4 meters (11.15 feet) under a one-meter springboard, and 3.7 meters (12.14 feet) under a three-meter springboard or a five-meter platform. It must be 4.1 meters (13.45 feet) under a 7.5-meter platform and 4.5 meters (14.76 feet) under a 10-meter platform.


Platforms should be rigid and horizontal, and at least six meters (19.69 feet) long and two meters (6.56 feet) wide with a non-slip surface.

Pool Dimensions

A competitive diving pool should be at least 60 feet (18.29 meters) in length and 75 feet, 11 inches (22.89 meters) in width.

*Mechanical surface agitation should be installed under each diving surface to help the divers see the surface of the water. This device is usually a small fountain located underneath the diving board that disrupts the surface of the water.

Sports in this article


Tags in this article

New to Sports Parent Beginner SportsEngine