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Diving is a sport that consists of performing acrobatics in the air from a trampoline before diving into the water.

It requires skill, strength, flexibility and coordination, as well as courage and a lot of concentration to perform the manoeuvres.

Are you curious to know how the competitions work? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this complete and up-to-date guide, we’ll explain the history, basic fundamentals and rules of show jumping.

Check it out 👇

History of diving

The history of diving can be traced back to antiquity, when diving and acrobatics in the water were already recorded.

However, the modern sport as we know it today began to develop at the beginning of the 19th century.

At that time, the first events were often held in natural waters, such as rivers and lakes, before specific pools for the sport were designed and built.

It is believed that the first show jumping competition took place in 1871. Since then, the sport has become professionalised and known worldwide, not only in Europe but also on other continents.

Throughout the 20th century, the sport evolved in terms of both techniques and standards. In this sense, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) played a key role in standardising the rules.



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So much so that the diving events were included in the 1904 Olympic Games in St Louis and subsequently became a regular feature in subsequent editions.

What is diving?

História dos saltos ornamentais
What is diving?

Diving is a discipline that involves performing acrobatics and manoeuvres while jumping from a platform into the water.

This practice is a competitive discipline commonly associated with the Olympic Games, but there are other tournaments around the world.

In the competitions, the athletes perform a series of jumps from different heights, which can vary from 1 metre to 10 metre platforms.

While performing the jumps, the athletes try to achieve the highest possible score from the judges, who assess criteria such as technique, degree of difficulty of the presentation, entry into the water and overall performance.

The ability to perform complex acrobatics adds an artistic element to the sport – hence the term “ornamental” in its name.

As well as individual events, there are also synchronised pairs competitions, where two athletes perform the jumps at the same time, seeking perfect coordination in their executions until they reach the water.

Diving rules

Competitions in show jumping usually take place on platforms of different heights, either individually or in pairs;

Objective: The jumpers perform a series of jumps from these heights, showing a variety of acrobatics and techniques;

Scoring The jumpers receive scores from a panel of judges, who assess various aspects of each jump. The criteria include jumping technique, body position in the air, entry into the water, synchronisation (in synchronised events) and the degree of difficulty of the performance;

Rounds | The number of jumps can vary depending on the competition format, but athletes generally perform a series of jumps in predetermined rounds;

Victory | At the end of the rounds, the jumper (or pair) with the highest average score is declared the big winner.

Diving disciplines

piscina de saltos ornamentais
Diving disciplines

In professional competitions, such as the World Show Jumping Championships and the Olympics, the sport is divided into eight disciplines:

  • Men’s 3 metre springboard (individual);
  • Women’s 3 metre springboard (individual);
  • Men’s 10 metre platform (individual);
  • Women’s 10 metre platform (individual);
  • Men’s synchronised 3 metre springboard (doubles);
  • Women’s synchronised 3 metre springboard (doubles);
  • Men’s synchronised 10-metre platform (doubles);
  • Women’s synchronised 10-metre platform (doubles).

Diving acrobatics

  • Forward jump | The jumper performs a forward jump from the platform, keeping the body extended and aligned;
  • Backward jump | The athlete performs a backward jump from the platform, keeping the body extended and facing backwards;
  • Half pirouette jump | A jump in which the athlete performs a half pirouette in the air before entering the water;
  • Full pirouette jump | Similar to the half pirouette jump, but with a full pirouette (360 degrees) before entering the water;
  • Inverted jump | The athlete jumps forwards, but inverts their body backwards before entering the water;
  • Pike | The jumper bends their body at the waist, keeping their legs straight and feet together, forming a diving position;
  • Tuck | The athlete curls up, bending their knees towards their chest and hugging their legs with their hands;
  • Spreadeagle | The jumper extends their legs and arms out to the sides during the jump.

Equipment used in diving

Modalidades dos saltos ornamentais
Equipment used in diving

The equipment used in show jumping is simple. Men wear swimming trunks and women swimming costumes. Unlike swimming, it is not compulsory to wear caps or goggles.

Some athletes can use accessories to prevent injuries, such as bandages around the ankle, wrist and other places that are very demanding during the competitions.

Diving championships

  • Olympic Games;
  • World Cup;
  • Grand Prix;
  • Asian Games;
  • European Championships;
  • Pan American Games.

Now you know everything about show jumping, such as its history, rules and disciplines. Did you like this content? Let us know in the comments! And keep visiting us every day, OK?



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