Diving 101

Dual Meets – 6 Dives are Required

  • One voluntary dive and five optional dives for a total of six dives per dual meet
  • Voluntary dives: are the simpler ones, such as a front dive, a back dive, a reverse dive, or an inward dive.
  • Each week, the voluntary dive that must be performed changes. The first meet, a front must be done as the voluntary; the second meet, a back; the third meet, a reverse; the fourth meet, an inward; the fifth meet, a twister; and that cycle continues until the dual meet season is over.
  • Optional Dives: Optional dives can be any dive except the one performed for the voluntary dive
  • For example, if you perform a front dive for your voluntary dive, you may use a back dive, a reverse dive, or an inward dive for your optionals, as well as any other dive that is listed in the State High School League list of dives

 Regional or State Meets – 11 Dives are Required



The diving competition is scored as an individual event and the top 5 scores earn points the same as an individual swim event:  6-4-3-2-1.  

The judging is comprised of three judges, one from each team’s coaching staff, and one official.  Each dive, no matter what it is, is assigned a degree of difficulty based on how difficult the dive is to perform. There is a very long formula to figure out each dive’s degree of difficulty; the more difficult the dive is, the larger multiplier will be applied to the judge’s scores. This gives the divers an incentive to perform the more difficult dives. Each dive’s total score is added up to get a final score, which then determines the final ranking of the divers.



There are six groups of dives. The first four are classified by the direction the diver rotates. 

1. 100’s Forward group: The diver faces the front of the board and rotates toward the water

2. 200’s Backward group: Dives in the backward group begin with the diver on the end of the board, with his or her back to the water, so as to rotate away from the board

3. 300’s Reverse group: Formerly called “gainers,” these dives begin with the diver facing the front of the board but then rotates toward the board (300’s)

4. 400’s Inward group: The diver stands on the end of the board with his or her back to the water and rotates toward the board, entering the water facing the other end of the pool

5. 5xxx’s Twisting group: Any dive that uses a twist. There are four types of twists: forward, backward, reverse, and inward (diving number starts with a 5 followed by the 3-digit dive number)



A dive may be performed using one of the following four positions. 

Pike: The legs are straight with the body bent at the waist.

Tuck: The Body is bent at the waist and knees, with thighs drawn to the chest and heels kept close to the buttocks. Feet and knees should be kept together and toes should be pointed.

Straight: No bend at the waist or knees. Depending on the dive, there may be an arch in the back. Arm placement is the diver’s choice or is defined by the dive performed.

Free: Indicates the diver’s option to use any of the above three positions, or combinations thereof, when performing a twisting dive.



When judging a dive, five basic elements need to be considered with equal importance before awarding a score.

  • Starting Position: Depending on the dive, the diver should be standing straight with the head erect and the arms straight and steady in a position of the diver's choice.
  • The Approach: The diver shall move to the end of the springboard in a smooth motion showing good form. Using no less than three steps, the diver shall execute a forward hurdle from the last step.
  • The Take-Off:  The take-off should show proper balance and control, and it should initiate the diver into a safe distance from the board. The diver must leave the springboard from both feet.
  • The Flight: The flight of the dive should be smooth and graceful and at no time should the dive move to the left or the right of the springboard. During the dive, the body shall be carried in one of the four acceptable positions: tuck, pike, straight, or free.
  • The Entry: The entry into the water, whether it is a head-first or feet-first entry, shall be vertical or as close to vertical as possible. The diver’s body shall be straight, the legs together, and the toes pointed.