Make a splash... learn to dive

Last summer, a sizeable section of the population watched dumbfounded as diving competitors from around the world twisted, tucked and somersaulted into a pool with barely a splash to announce their entry into the water. And with Olympic medal-winner Tom Daley now teaching celebrities the art of diving in his new show Splash!, many more will be wondering whether they're cut out for the sport.

Learn to dive

Pic: Getty Images

If you're interested in learning the moves, here are some of the basics explained as well as how to get started.

Diving - the basics
There are two basic types of diving - from a springboard or a platform. The former is set at a height of either one metre or three metres above the surface of the water, and, as the name suggests, allows the diver to spring upwards before performing the dive.

The fixed platform, also called the highboard, is set at heights of five, 7.5 and 10 metres above the water, allowing for more intricate aerial acrobatics.

All dives involve at least one of three basic body positions: The tuck, where the diver curls into a ball, holding his legs at the shin; the pike, in which the body is bent at the hip but legs are kept straight, and straight, where the entire body must remain as straight as possible.

Combining these basic body positions with forward, backward and inward rotations, not to mention the full body twist, gives you the dazzling displays seen during London 2012.

Is it for me?
While diving isn't a great calorie-burner, (typically 197 calories an hour), it is fantastic for working the lower body, upper back, shoulders, abdominals and arms. What's more, since a high dive means you'll hit the water at speeds of up to 30mph, it's definitely one for adrenaline junkies.

However, to reach a decent standard where complex dives can be performed, requires hours of practice, dedication, and good co-ordination skills.

Where do I start?
If you're a beginner, of whatever age, it is essential to dive under supervision. Diving is a hugely technical sport and as such requires expert tuition from a qualified coach.
Many local sports centres or indoor pools will run diving courses so it is worth paying a visit to see what's on offer. If you have no luck in your home town, visit the Great Britain Diving Federation's website,, to find your nearest instructor or club.

For little ones between the ages of five and 11, the Amateur Swimming Association runs the Flip n Fun scheme, which teaches youngsters about co-ordination and balance, starting on dry land with the help of crash mats and trampolines to build confidence before moving into the water.

Best of all, you won't need to splash out on expensive gear without knowing whether you'll take to the sport - a costume or trunks is all that's required.
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