Think you’ve got what it takes to leap into thin air and slip into the water like an eel from a height of 10m? Hey, come back
If you can swim, like heights and are utterly fearless, diving might just be the sport for you. There are more than 100 diving-friendly pools across Great Britain and Northern Ireland, where you can practise without having to aim between paddling infants. You either jump from a springboard up to a height of 3m or a firm board at 5m, 7.5m or 10m. If that isn’t enough, you’re creeping towards the terrain of high-diving, and should go and see a therapist.
There are six basic types of dive (forward, backward, reverse, inward, twisting and armstand), and four positions the body can adopt while in the air: tuck (rolling into a ball), pike (bending at the hips but not the knees), straight (body extended at all points) and free (a combination of the above, including twists). The bellyflop is so far unrecognised. Divers usually enter the water head-first, as close to vertical as possible, and with palms held overlapping towards the water to create a “rip entry” and thus minimise splash. Synchronised diving is popular at competition level.
Diving is great exercise for the upper body, notably the arms, and leads to improved flexibility, posture and focus.
Equipment, costs and practicalities
How much for a pair of Speedos and a spray-tan these days? Other than that, it’s the standard pool fees – though it isn’t recommended that you attempt the higher dives without coaching. Contact your local ASA regional office to get information about diving clubs, events and competitions near you.
Trendiness rating: 8/10
The signs on the wall during school swimming lessons said “No diving”, didn’t they? These guys are mavericks.
Faye Callaghan, swimming.org: “Diving is one of the most exciting sports in the world. It involves leaping and springing into water while trying to perfect a series of body positions. It’s also very strictly controlled. If you’ve ever watched a diving competition, you’ll have seen the strength, flexibility and courage of the divers.
It’s a fantastic sport for anyone who wants to put their aquatic skills to the test. Having a head for heights and good flexibility is essential, but even the most timid of participants can learn all the basics and more. Diving is a sport that is growing in popularity all the time, and with Tom Daley and co making the headlines this summer there has never been a more exciting time to get involved.”
Find out more
Great British Diving Federation – UK diving clubs listed.
Swimming.org – diving section of the British Swimming website.
You may also like
Synchronised swimming, trampolining.
You might hate
Football, mountain biking.
Over to you
Are you a diver? Help us build up this resource by sharing tips, videos, links to clubs and anything else that beginners might find useful.