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About platform and springboard diving

Platform and springboard diving are two of the most spectacular and exciting aquatic sports. They involve an immense amount of strength, flexibility and courage.

Both competitive platform and springboard diving involve one or two divers performing spins, twists and somersaults into a pool from a series of heights.

Heights of the boards range from 1m all the way up to 10m.

Not sure how high 10m is? Just imagine two giraffes standing on top of each other… and then diving head first from that height!

Heights of diving springboards and diving platformsDivers need to enter the water as smoothly and cleanly as possible to impress a group of judges who will score the dive – find out more about scoring here.

The difficulty of a dive can vary greatly and depends on a diver’s starting position, body position throughout the dive, and the number and types of rotations or twists performed during the dive.

More about platform and springboard diving

What the difference between platform and springboard diving?

All competitive springboard diving is from flexible ‘bouncy’ boards set at 1m and 3m above the surface of the water. Platform diving is from static platforms set at 5m, 7.5m, and 10m.

However, you won’t see Tom Daley diving from the 5m or 7.5m – all major competitions (such as the Olympic Games and World Championships) use the 10m platform only.

The techniques required for platform and springboard diving are quite different. So the world’s best divers usually compete in either springboard or platform events.

How deep is a diving pool?

The depth of a pool depends on the height of platform and springboard diving boards

  • Competition pools are usually 5m deep if there is a 10m platform
  • Diving pools are 4m deep if there is a 5m platform or 3m springboard.

These are currently the FINA recommended minimum depths but some are deeper. For example, the diving pit in Sheffield’s Ponds Forge is 5.85m deep.

What is a diving tower?

A tower is a diving platform structure that can hold as many as five levels of board: 1m, 3m, 5m, 7.5m and 10m.

Competitions are only held on the 5m, 7.5m and 10m platforms. The 1m and 3m platforms are used for training and practice.

Fascinating facts about diving

  • The fulcrum or ‘wheel’ on a springboard is adjusted to control the amount of spring the diver gets from the board.
  • The word ‘rip’ originates from the sound that is made when a diver enters the water without making a splash.
  • During practice, a bubble machine produces air bubbles in the water to decrease the surface tension of the water, cushioning impact for the diver when learning new skills.
  • The bubbles are also important for divers to gauge how far from the water they are during spins and somersaults.