Get Inspired: DIVING

Modern-day diving has evolved into a balletic blur of twists and turns.

The eight gold medals now on offer at the Games are evenly split between men and women, with events consisting of individual and synchronised competitions in both the 3m springboard and 10m platform.

Why is it good for you?

Platform diving requires a quick burst of energy to spring off the board and engages the lower body, upper back, shoulders, abdominals and arm muscles. An hour's activity typically burns approximately 197 calories.

Athletes hit the water at speeds of up to 40mph, with supreme acrobatic and coordination skills required to perform the complex dives.

Total dedication and hours of practice are needed to master diving.

As diving can be done in pairs, it is an excellent way to develop communication skills and learn to work effectively with other people. Clubs also offer a variety of social events beyond just taking part in the sport.

Get involved

Under supervision at a club or training centre, diving is one of the safest ways to get an adrenaline buzz. From beginners to experts, children to adults, courses are run at swimming pools throughout the United Kingdom for those looking to take part.

For beginners, it is essential to receive tuition from qualified coaches to ensure that you learn the complex techniques necessary to perform in a safe way. Other than that, all that is needed are some swimming trunks or a swimming costume designed for use in sports.

For children between the ages of five and 11, the Amateur Swimming Association's Flip and Fun  scheme provides the perfect foundation for those looking to kickstart their diving experience. The British Swimming  website also provides a comprehensive list of diving competitions.

Scottish Swimming  run training events throughout the year for people of all abilities and Swim Wales'  scheme uses aspects of trampolining, ballet, yoga and gymnastic. Information about how you can get involved in Northern Ireland can be found on the Swim Ulster  website.

You can also practise the skills required to excel at diving on dry land using crash mats and trampolines provided at your local leisure centres.

More on the British Swimming website 

History

In the early modern Olympics, the events were more sedate. Plain high diving entailed a simple straight dive off the platform, while in the bizarre discipline of plunge for distance, athletes competed to see who could glide the furthest underwater after diving from a standing position.

Did you know?

The hardest dives ever attempted have a degree of difficulty of 4.1; Tom Daley's most complicated dive has a tariff of 3.7. The highest-scoring single dive in Olympic history was 112.10 points by Australia's Matt Mitcham, which won him gold in the 10m platform in Beijing. The dive had a degree of difficulty of 3.8 - since downgraded to 3.6.

Unsurprisingly, the latter discipline did not last the distance - making its only appearance in 1904. That was the year that diving made its Olympic debut.

A women's event was added eight years later, making diving one of the first Olympic sports to incorporate events for both sexes.

Competitive diving developed from gymnastics in Sweden and Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it was included in the Olympic Games for the first time at the 1904 Games in St Louis.

Both springboard and platform events have been included since the 1908 Olympic Games in London, with women having taken part since 1912. The 10m and 3m springboard events have been in place since 1928, while the Sydney Games in 2000 witnessed the entrance of synchronised diving.

More on the IOC website