Competitive diving uses a diving tower or a diving platform consisting of an upright inflexible tower to which one or more platforms which are horizontal are affixed and extended out over a pool of deep water. Divers are given enough time to perform a particular dive with acrobatic movements because of the elevation of the platforms which are set at 10 meters, 7.5 meters and 5 meters. For building confidence and practice, there are platforms with lower height positioned at 3 meters and 1 meter only. To prevent athletes from slipping, most of the diving platforms use non-slip surface or some kind of matting as cover. JO and NCAA competitions use all three platform altitudes. Divers could get different scores for each level because of the different extent of difficulty.
How to Score the Dive
Each dive is subjectively scored by judges. But there are certain rules that govern the supposed scoring of each dive. Generally, three fundamentals of a dive are considered namely the approach, flight and entry. The score is affected by the following major factors:
1. Quality of the hold and length of time if hand-stand is necessary
2. Diver's height at the dive's peak, extra height will get a bigger score
3. Diver's distance from diving apparatus all through the dive, ideally within 2 feet of the diving platform
4. Diver's body position should be properly defined, with feet constantly touching and pointed toes
5. Appropriate amounts of revolution and rotation when the dive is completed and the entrance into the water
6. Entry angle where a diver needs to be straight upon entry into the water, less splash would gather a bigger score.
7. Five or seven judges are assembled to form a panel so that subjectivity of the scores will be reduced in the most important meets. With a panel of five judges, the biggest and smallest scores are thrown and the three middle scores are added then the total will be multiplied by the Degree of Difficulty. When seven judges are gathered, the biggest and smallest scores are again thrown and the middle five are added then the total multiplied by the Degree of Difficulty. As a result, one judge will find it extremely difficult to influence scores.
A diver has to make a dive list ahead of time so that he or she can win dive meets. More points should be accumulated by a diver in order to win the meet. A diver who is competitive should strive to get the dives with the possible highest DD so that consistent high scores will be achieved.
During competitions, divers are required to submit a list of their dives ahead of time and the list could no longer be changed under any circumstances past a specific cut-off date. When an announced dive is not performed, a diver will get zero for a score automatically, even if a diver is not capable physically or even if a more difficult dive is executed.
In general, rules in NCAA allow changes in dives while the diver is already on a platform. However, the change must be requested by the diver after his dive has been announced. This rule is especially applicable when a wrong dive is declared. A driver pausing during the hurdle just to request for a dive change can be dangerous. That is why the change will not be allowed and it will be declared as a balk.