For those who already jump at ease in the pool, the next step is to dive. And learning to do this is pure adrenaline! Diving headfirst is exciting and lets you swim faster and get closer to the bottom. It's like discovering a completely new part of the pool, previously reserved for more experienced swimmers. Nervousness is common in the beginning, but with some techniques (training the movements on land, starting from the squat position and having the support of a trainer or experienced swimmer), it makes this task easier. In this article, we'll look at how to get the dive right and continue until you get to more advanced maneuvers.
Part 1 of 3: Preparing to Dive
Step 1. Find a pool deep enough
Since you're going to dive headfirst, it's essential that the height is large enough to prevent you from hitting your skull to the bottom or hurting your spine. By Red Cross standards, a measure considered safe is 2.74 meters. Despite this, most tanks are 2.4 meters deep. Never dive into a pool that is smaller in size.
- If you don't know the height of the pool, it's best not to dive. It's difficult to judge depth just by looking at the tank. Therefore, the ideal is to look for a place where this measure is printed or where there is a responsible person capable of providing this information. There are also establishments that put a notice on the site stating that diving is allowed there.
- Avoid jumping headfirst into lakes, ponds and other natural bodies of water unless the area is supervised and is clearly intended for diving. The depth in these water reservoirs is very irregular (ie, the measurement can vary from point to point and abruptly) and there may be hidden rocks that are not visible from the edge or surface.
Step 2. Get used to the idea of diving head first
Many beginners, especially children, are afraid to perform the movement for the first time. Fear is expected. After all, we all know that throwing yourself headfirst results in pain and injury. We just need to remember that in water this will not happen if the maneuver is done correctly. But if you get nervous before you start practicing, try the following techniques to feel more comfortable:
- Start by jumping standing. Thus, you can get your body used to the sensation of penetrating water vertically. And in the case of children, some of them may feel that the water is hard and that it will hurt. Show the kids that the liquid doesn't hurt and encourage them to dive.
- Another technique that helps you lose your fear is to practice falling into water. Stand in the pool or other reservoir and release your body. Let yourself fall forward and then backward. Notice how the water “holds” your body, preventing you from hurting yourself.
Step 3. Run an out-of-water simulation first
The rehearsal helps you to visualize what the dive will be like before you get into the pool, as well as alleviating anxiety. Stand with your spine straight and your arms stretched above your head. Your arms should be close to your ears. Keep your hands outstretched and overlapping. Bring your chin in, touching your chest. This is the correct upper body diving position.
- You can practice the movement on solid ground. It could be a lawn or a soft rug. Support your body weight on one knee and let your arms and fingertips face the floor. Move forward so your hands touch the surface followed by your arms. Continue until you finish the movement lying on your stomach.
- Remember to hold your open hands over each other, not with your palms together. Another important point is to keep your chin resting on your chest. These details help to align your body and allow you to penetrate water more easily.
Step 4. Squat down next to the pool and slide into the water
Stand with your toes just past the edge line. Lower yourself to get closer to the water surface. Extend your arms above your head – remember to tuck your chin in! – and point your hands towards the water. Now lean your body forward and slide into the head pool. As your body enters the water, straighten your legs and let your toes in.
- When you dive, release your breath and then hold your breath. Be careful, because a lot of people are scared at this time and end up sucking water. But as you get used to the feeling of sliding into the pool, the act of holding your breath will become natural.
- Start from the squat position until you feel completely comfortable with the dive. When you feel that this technique is getting easy and that you are ready to take the next step, you can start practicing by starting the standing movement.
Step 5. Start the standing dive
When you're ready to try this starting position, move closer to the pool until your toes are over the edge. Keep your arms and hands in the correct position and lower your torso to waist level. Point your fingers towards the water. Put your chin in and then lean forward into the pool. As your legs follow the rest of your body, bring them together and keep your toes inward.
- Count on a coach or teacher the first few times. Diving standing up can be a little intimidating. Therefore, having someone's support at this time can make all the difference. Ask the person to stand beside you and place one hand on your stomach and the other on your back. That way, he or she can guide you into the water.
- When you are able to dive standing up without the help of a veteran, you are ready to perform more advanced maneuvers, such as the dive itself. In no time, you'll jump into the water without blinking!
Part 2 of 3: Diving with the Right Technique
Step 1. Place your support foot on the edge of the pool
If you are right-handed, your support foot will be the right one. If you are left-handed, your foot will be the left one. Leave it a little in front of the back foot so that the toes of the front foot slip discreetly past the edge of the pool. Your back foot should be flat on the floor and your body weight evenly distributed between both feet. This is the starting position for the dive.
- When you are practicing the correct starting position, always try to keep your feet in exactly the same place on the edge. If you're going to dive off a trampoline, the tip is to mark the place where your feet should be to make the job easier.
- When you feel comfortable diving from the initial standing position, you can start taking a few steps or even a short run before sliding into the water. It takes 3 to 5 steps forward followed by a jump propelled by your support foot and the dive itself.
Step 2. Stretch your arms up and behind your head
Repeat the position used to start practicing the correct starting posture. Keep your arms straight and close to your ears. Keep your hands straight as well and one over the other. Stay in this position until you are ready to dive.
- As always, remember to keep your chin against your chest.
- Before doing a walking or running dive, your arms will be at your sides at first, but they should always be extended straight up before you enter the water.
Step 3. Boost up and dive into the pool
Instead of leaning forward and falling into the water, push off the ground with your support foot to increase the reach of your dive. Your fingertips should be the first part of your body to touch the water. Keep your body straight, your legs together and your toes in during the maneuver. Once you are fully submerged, you can start swimming or immediately rise to the surface to breathe.
- Don't forget to exhale as you enter the water and to hold your breath while you are submerged. You can swim for a few seconds before needing to surface for more air.
- Try to get more momentum walking or running before diving to gain speed and depth in the pool. Regardless of how you start the movement, your body should always enter the water at the same angle and using the same starting position.
Part 3 of 3: Experiencing Advanced Techniques
Step 1. Dive from a block.
In swimming competitions, competitions begin with a dive from a starting block, which is just above the surface of the pool. To dive from such a position, you start crouching, holding the edge of the block with both your hands and your toes. When the start signal or gunfire sounds, you should take a shallow dive and start swimming the moment you hit the water.
When diving from a starting block, it's important to align your body so that you can make the move by splashing as little water as possible. Keep your body straight and in the right position. Push the block with your toes. This way you can minimize the friction of the water against your body and you avoid wasting precious seconds during the race
Step 2. Dive off a trampoline
Once you've mastered the technique from the pool's side edges, you can venture out on a trampoline. The low version of this board poses a similar challenge to the poolside, but the tall model is another story. The height of the trampolines is usually 3 m above water level and access requires a ladder to reach the top.
- Make sure the pool where the trampoline is located is deep enough to avoid accidents. This precaution is essential, as this method of diving makes you penetrate the water with more force and speed. The minimum required depth is 3.5 m.
- You can start from the same starting position used the other times to dive off the trampoline. The key is to penetrate the water at an angle that minimizes friction and resistance. That's because the more parallel to the water your body is, the greater the impact. There's even a chance you'll end up hurting your stomach if you literally run into the water.
Step 3. Learn how to take a trampoline swim out
This is the appropriate term for starting a dive from a walk or a short run. You take 3-5 steps and then jump with one leg before entering the water. This technique is used before any type of advanced maneuver that requires more momentum to gain height. The extra height is needed in order to have precious seconds left to perform certain movements or to squirm the body before sliding into the water. Let's see how to make this output:
- Start at the back of the board and walk around a bit. Take 3 steps to gain a good boost or 5 steps if your legs are shorter or you want to ensure a greater height.
- When taking the last step, you should be close to the edge of the trampoline. Take off and jump, swinging your arms up at the same time. It's not time to jump off the board into the water yet. Instead, jump into the air.
- Land on the trampoline with your feet in the right position for diving and with your arms stretched above your head. You are now ready to perform your dive by jumping off the trampoline.
Step 4. Try the carp or jackknife jump
This advanced technique results in an elegant jump and is a good option for those who have already mastered the basics of diving. You will start from the trampoline standing up and bend your torso at the hips. Then, you should adopt the upright posture during the fall. Check out the step by step below:
- The movement starts with a swim out. It's 3 to 5 steps before you take off, jump and land on the edge of the board with your arms stretched above your head. Jump in a direction slightly away from the springboard to give yourself space and time to perform the following maneuvers.
- Raise your hips above shoulder height while jumping off the trampoline.
- Bring your arms down towards your toes. Your body should form an upside-down V.
- Finish the dive by leaving your body straight.