Learning how to swim and practicing your stroke technique is one thing, but there are other areas of this incredible sport that are just as exciting to master.
The area we are referring to in this instance is the swimming dive. This isn’t just for triathlete competitors – a powerful and efficient dive will also make those with basic skills more of an all-rounded swimmer.
So if you are looking for a few tips on how to master the perfect plunge, take a look at the following pointers below.
No one is expecting you to walk up the steps of the highest board at your local pool and dive straight into the water from a great height. When it comes to mastering your technique you should always start small and work your way up gradually, only progressing when you feel comfortable to move up a level.
For example, you could begin learning by diving from the edge of the pool’s deep end, before moving up to a low board and then onto the higher dives after. If you are going to start at the edge of the pool, always make sure that it’s deep enough to dive into first. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself.
With small steps initially you’ll be able to move onto the advanced boards in no time at all.
Having your feet in the best position is vital for a decent push off start. There are two variations you can use here:
- The grab start – will give you a stronger push into the water
- Track start – allows you to react quicker (more suited for track events and races)
For a grab start, place both feet forward and your toes and hands just over the edge of the pool. Alternatively, for a track start place one foot forward with your toes over the edge and your other foot roughly a hands-width behind.
Find a position that feels comfortable and stable with your feet close to shoulder-width apart. From here, keep your hips up high and look towards your knees.
Arms and hands
Once you’ve found a suitable position, bring your hands up and into a streamlined position. Place the palm of one hand over the back of the other and squeeze your ears lightly with your biceps.
Straighten your arms over your head and remember to tuck your chin towards your chest too. At this point, your hands should not be pointing directly down towards the water and instead should be positioned towards the other side of the pool, creating a more parallel profile with slightly bent knees.
Push off and diving
When it comes to diving into the water, learn forward and push with your feet on the pool or board edge and imagine you are diving into a small hole or circular area.
You should move into the water with your fingertips first, followed by your shoulders, torso and legs for a smooth profile and perfect entrance.
Ideally you want to dive no more than four feet below the surface of the water. Once you’re in, maintain your streamline by gliding and then start kicking to propel you further.
As you begin to surface, take your first stroke to reach the top of the water. From here, you can start swimming or go back and repeat these steps again to practice your dive.
If you are practicing your entrance with goggles on, makes sure they are securely in place. You can tuck the straps, once tightened, under your swim cap for extra support – if you’re wearing one of course.
Whichever starting position you decide to use, never look towards the water before you lift your hands as this will cause your hips to drop. Instead look at your knees and this will help you to maintain a more natural profile.
Remember that for a track start you will be using your weight to push off from your back foot first before the weight transfers to your front foot as you push off and enter the water.
Try to enter the water at a slight angle as opposed to being flat. A flat entrance will hurt and won’t be powerful enough to propel you through the pool. In contrast, you don’t want to enter too deep either because you need to glide through the water at no more than four feet below the surface.
So with these tips at your disposal you should be able to master your swimming dive in no time at all.
Remember to start small and once you’re comfortable with your technique, you’ll be ready to progress onto the higher boards. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.