Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • If there's one thing people know about competitive diving, it's that the splash is important.

  • The perfect dive will have the smallest splash, like this highest scoring Olympic dive ever by Matthew Mitcham from 2008.

  • But it's not just this that determines the splash.

  • It's what happens underwater.

  • To figure out how Olympic divers get such small splashes, I spoke to the guy who trains them.

  • My name is Drew Johansen, and I'm the head diving coach for the 2020 Olympic team.

  • I coached in London in 2012, as well as in Rio for 2016.

  • There's three components: there's the above water, there's the swim, and then there's the underwater save.

  • Divers can't change much once they're in the air, so when they push off, they have to give themselves enough height, enough distance from the board, and enough angular momentum to complete the dive.

  • You know, you're going 30 miles per hour. You have all the angular momentum of four and a half somersaults on top of it.

  • And you're anticipating that moment of hitting the water.

  • As they approach the water, athletes extend their body into a needlelike line, with their toes pointed, knees locked, abs tight, arms up and hyperextended over their heads, elbows pressing tight into their ears, andmost importantlytheir hands in this position.

  • We'll have the athletes put their hands out and have them put their thumbs together interlocking and then they'll grab on top.

  • This creates what's called a rip entrynamed for this sound.

  • And it's crucial for breaking through the water in a way that minimizes splash.

  • To understand why this body position is keylet's look at what happens when you're not in this position.

  • If you slip and fall for instance, like Chinese diver Chang Yani did in the FINA world cup semi finals, covered by NBC Sports.

  • Oh my goodness!”

  • Splashes come in two parts.

  • The initial splash is unavoidable.

  • As water is getting displaced, it has to move somewhere. It gets pushed down and out, creating a radial jet that shoots up at 20 - 30 times the speed of the impact.

  • The second part of the splash is caused by the air that divers bring in with them.

  • When Yani's body makes contact with the water, it creates an air-filled cavity.

  • As her body submerges, the cavity deepens, and the surrounding water starts applying pressure.

  • That pressure is enough to cause the cavity to collapse in on itself: It starts filling with water from the bottom up.

  • There's so much pressure and energy that that water ejects straight back up toward the surface, resulting in a Worthington jetthe second pop of the big splash we see here.

  • This large splash earned Yani a scratch divezero points.

  • Just a day later, Yani was able to create the total opposite — a tiny splashthanks to that hand position and her controlled and rigid body. This dive scored 73.5 points.

  • Just recently at our Olympic trials... we had a ninety point dive, actually, a couple of them up there on the 10 meter platform.

  • Like this dive by Team USA member Jordan Windle, which scored 96 points.

  • As his flat palms make contact with the water, they push it down and out.

  • He still gets that initial, unavoidable splashbut it's tiny.

  • The flat hands create a cavity that's just wide enough for his body to pass through.

  • The next steps in the rip entry work to minimize that second splash, the Worthington jet.

  • And they take place underwater.

  • As they enter the water, they're going to swim their hands out to the side.

  • This swim motion is clear in this 76.5 point dive by Andrew Capiobanco, from an Olympic trial event in Indianapolis.

  • It moves some of the air brought into the water away from the center, breaking the air cavity into smaller bubbles.

  • You'll see two white bubbles out to the side of the hole that the athlete went in.

  • Those are the swim bubbles.

  • And then the final component is another somersault that's created underwater that also will trap the air that comes into the water and prevent it from coming up through the same hole that it went in, and delays it from coming back up.

  • And that's what reduces the splash as much as possible.

  • This disperses air, breaking big bubbles into smaller bubbles, making them less splashy when they rise to the top.

  • If performed correctly, the bubbles will be so small, that it looks almost like the water is boiling at the surface.

  • The perfect splash is what appears to be no splash at all.

  • There's no official rules on splash size in the FINA rule book, but judges do use it to impact scores.

  • It will fall under the category of overall impression.

  • The judges will look at the technical elements and they have the leeway in our subjective sport.

  • When the dive has that exclamation point on the end of it, it does bring the scores up and it is within the rules for the judges to do that.

  • Getting a perfectly small splash isn't the point of diving.

  • However, it is the punctuation to a job well done.

If there's one thing people know about competitive diving, it's that the splash is important.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US Vox water dive cavity olympic underwater

How Olympic divers make the perfect tiny splash

  • 2349 113
    joey joey posted on 2021/09/19
Video vocabulary