Diving Patterns
August 26, 2004 7:45 AM   Subscribe

In Olympic diving events, why are there a couple of streams of water converging on the surface where the divers hit the pool?
posted by COBRA! to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
I've been told that it's to ripple the water so the divers can see the surface. I personally can't imagine coming out of a 3 1/2 somersalt with 7.23 twists and changing my position in the air based on whether I can see the surface, but that's why they're in the Olympics and I'm not.
posted by gleuschk at 7:50 AM on August 26, 2004

I always guessed that it broke up the water incase you like... accidentally bellyflopped or something. Wild guess anyway.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:59 AM on August 26, 2004

gleuschk is right. The diving pools are 15+ feet deep, and clear as glass. If the surface wasn't agitated, divers would have difficulty sensing the point of entry. And, amazingly, they are capable of adapting their dives as necessary to ensure the proper entry at the proper time.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:17 AM on August 26, 2004

gleuschk nailed it.

FINA rules for diving pools:

FR 5.3.10 Mechanical surface agitation shall be installed under the diving facilities to aid the divers in their visual perception of the surface of the water. In pools equipped with an underwater bubble machine, the machine should only be used for this purpose if it creates sufficient water agitation when working with a very low pressure; otherwise a horizontal water sprinkler system should only be used.
posted by m@ at 8:29 AM on August 26, 2004

Yeah--on a level of safety, when you're diving from those heights, a belly flop is not just a belly-flop...you can get seriously messed up. That's not to say that every diver who screws up a dive goes to the hospital, but it's critical that they know exactly where the water is.

On an esthetic level, the ability to "rip" a dive and leave the smallest splash possible also requires knowing exactly where the surface is.
posted by LairBob at 8:52 AM on August 26, 2004

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