What to Expect at a Diving Meet
Competition plays a vital role in both the progression of divers and the development of the sport as a whole. Diving meets are fun and exciting events, but they are also opportunities to test your skills while under pressure. However, for a new diver the logistics of a diving meet — as well as the emotions that are attached to competition — can make the entire event feel overwhelming.
To help alleviate those nerves, here are some tips of what to expect at a diving meet:
At any event that involves dozens of athletes and fans, a certain amount of chaos is bound to occur. To ensure that the inherent mayhem of the occasion does not affect the accuracy of the scores, diving meets have an established system of organization, usually in place before competition day. Two of the more important elements of this system are the registration and scoring tables, which will be set up clearly around the side of the pool.
- Registration table: At the entrance of the pool, there is a registration table where divers will check-in and confirm their participation in the meet. After you sign in, you must confirm that the list of dives you plan to perform is accurate. If any of the registration information is inaccurate, you will need to make the changes at this table.
- Score table: This will look like a normal, long table and is generally placed near the side of the pool. At least six people sit at the table to help score the meet as well as one person who is the announcer.
Besides the announcer, whose job is obvious, the remaining people at the score table have the following roles:
- Recorders: Two people write down the judges' scores, throwing out the high and the low numbers. They add the three remaining scores together (raw score) and pass the paper to the checker.
- Checker: Two people multiply the raw score by the degree of difficulty. They keep a running tally of the combined scores as the dives are completed. After each round of dives the sheet is passed to the calculator.
- Calculator: One (or two) people check to ensure that the scores are accurate on both sheets. They make sure that the high and low scores have been dropped, that the addition is correct and that the DD is multiplied accurately. If there is no discrepancy between the two sheets, the score is finalized. If there is a discrepancy, the sheet is passed to the master scorer to determine where the error occurred.
- Master scorer: This person keeps a record of all the scores for each dive. They do not cross out the high or low scores, which are used in case there is a discrepancy later in the meet.
Diving Meet & Crowds
Diving is an incredibly popular sport — which will become obvious the second you enter the diving arena. It is best to leave a lot of time to get to a meet, since parking may be difficult and the crowds can be pretty overwhelming once you get inside.
Expect a lot of stimulus, a lot of bodies, and a whole lot of organized chaos:
- Coaches: During warm-ups, coaches will be lined up on either side of the diving pool, instructing their divers. It is often noisy and busy around the edges of the water, with multiple coaches talking at once.
- Crowded diving boards: There will be a long line of divers waiting their turn to use the diving boards. Prepare for that delay and know what dives you want to practice before your turn on the board.
- Noise: Expect noise from people at the diving tables making last minute corrections to the dive sheets, the coaches coaching their divers, the parents arriving and talking with other families, and the announcer making announcements over the loud speaker.
Diving meets are generally open to divers the day before the event. If this is the case, use the opportunity to check out the facility, choose the board that best fits you, and run through your list of dives before the crowds arrive.
Once in the diving pool area, find a spot to put your bag down and begin stretching. Locate your coach and stretch, making sure to leave plenty of time for the lines at the diving boards during warm-up. Remember, the diving boards will be crowded, so approach the boards with a plan:
- Test out the boards: Determine which board you like. Each board is different and you don't want to waste your time in line for the wrong one.
- Warms-ups are short: Determine beforehand what dives you and your coach feel need the most attention.
- Practice like it is the real competition: Focus on the dive at hand and prepare yourself for the judges. Don't balk or stand too long on the board.
The Diving Competition
When it is time for the competition to start, the announcer will notify the divers that the boards are closed and all divers are to exit the pool. Make sure to listen to the announcer as he will provide important information:
- The judges will be called to take their positions
- The diving order will be announced. Listen for your name and remember the names of the people before you.
- During the first round of dives, the announcer will call the person who is up and the person who is on deck (next in line).
- Know when your turn is up and be prepared to perform your dive as soon as your name is announced.
- Most divers consult with their coach before and after a dive is performed. Plan to approach your coach well in advance of your name being called and know where to find them after your dive.
Depending on the type and size of the meet, there may be cuts — reducing a large group of divers to a smaller group — in the competition. Generally cuts occur after three to five rounds of dives have been completed, and the top 12 to 16 divers continue on to perform their remaining dives.
After all dives have been completed, the winners will be announced and take their place on the podium. The next diving event will begin after the medals or ribbons are awarded.
Diving is a Community
Most divers soon discover that diving is a community. At nearly all competitions divers can expect to see the same people, coaches and families. Diving meets then become, not only a great time to grow as a diver and test your skills, but also a time to build community relationships that will last the course of a diving career and beyond.