What is Diving? In 10 Minutes or Less.

What is Olympic Diving and its history?

Olympic Diving is a professional or recreational sport that includes performing acrobatics in the air, with a panel of judges scoring the execution of the dive. Diving can be both an individual sport as well as a synchronized team of two depending on the diving event. Diving has been recognized as an Olympic sport since 1904 when George Sheldon took the gold in the 10 meter platform event. Over the years diving has developed into one of the most watched Olympic sports in the world. Viewers can watch divers perform 4½ flips off of the 10 meter platform and that is just the beginning…

What is the difference between springboard and platform diving?

Springboard and platform diving are similar in most aspects. The two main differences are that the platform does not move when a diver jumps off it, and there are more levels of height to choose from than springboard. 

What is Springboard Diving?

Springboard diving entails using a flexible diving board to spring oneself into the air. Modern Springboards are made from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum. Using a fulcrum the diver can tighten or loosen the diving board based on their preference when diving. There are two different levels of springboard diving, 1m (3.3ft), and 3m (10ft). Both levels are used in the USA, AAU, and NCAA diving competitions but only the 3 meter is used for Olympic competitions.

What is Platform Diving?

Platform diving is when a diver uses a Diving Platform or Diving Tower to perform dives from the heights of 5 meter (16ft), 7.5 meter (25ft) or 10 meter (33ft). Divers must jump from a stationary platform to initiate any dives that they are performing. Most platforms are covered in some kind of matting or non-slip surface to reduce the risk of slipping when executing a dive. All three levels are used in the USA, AAU, and NCAA diving competitions but only the 10 meter is used for Olympic competitions.

What kind of dives are there?

Diving is broken down into two categories, Optionals and Voluntaries. When you first start diving you will begin by learning the basics which leads into voluntary dives. There is no exact distinction between the two categories, it all depends on the age of the diver and their skill level. Simply put, voluntaries are the easier dives, and optionals are more difficult dives to perform. Optionals have a higher Degree of Difficulty (DD) than voluntaries, which gives a diver the ability to score higher on a particular dive.  

How can you get involved in diving?

Don’t you worry there are plenty of different ways for you to get involved in diving! Whether you are just wanting to dive for fun or if you are wanting to become a competitive diver, there are so many options! Below is a list of the different diving organizations:

Summer League Diving

You can join a summer league diving program at your closest neighborhood pool that has a diving board and a team. You can ask your pool management if you have a diving board but are unsure if there is a summer league.

High School/ Middle School Diving

If you are interested in joining a highschool or middle school diving team check with your schools administrators to see if your school has diving team, which is usually associated with the high school or middle school swim team.

Club Diving affiliated with AAU and USA Diving

AAU Diving (Amateur Athletic Union)

AAU Diving is the first step to becoming a competitive diver. The rules for AAU diving are a little more relaxed than USA Diving.

USA Diving

USA Diving is the next step from AAU Diving. The USA Diving Circuit is made up of 3 competitions: Regionals, Zones, and Nationals. 


Diving has been around for a long time, and continues to grow in popularity. It can be a recreational sport or a competitive sport depending on a diver’s capabilities and interests. Athletes today are continuing to push the limits of performing harder and harder dives at each Olympic Games, and the sport will continue to evolve due to its competitive nature.


If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below! We are here to help you!


Leave a comment