Diving has been a part of the Olympics since the St. Louis Games of 1904 and today, diving is one of the most popular of the 46 sports practiced during the Summer Games.
For the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, we’ve found answers to some of your most Googled questions about the sport. Why do divers shower between dives? Why do Olympic divers use small towels and wear even smaller bathing suits?
TODAY spoke to Leslie Hasselbach Adams, USA Diving’s high performance manager and education coordinator, to answer some of your most-searched questions about the highly anticipated diving competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Who is on the US Olympic Dive Team?
After US diving trials concluded on June 13, 11 divers qualified for Team USA: Andrew Capobianco, 21, Tyler Downs, 18, Alison Gibson, 22, Hailey Hernandez, 18, Michael Hixon, 27, Brandon Loschiavo, 24, Krysta Palmer , 29, Jessica Parratto, 27, Delaney Schnell, 22, Jordan Windle, 22, and Katrina Young, 29.
Three of the 11 divers – Capobianco, Palmer and Schnell – will do double duty and participate in two events. Olympic diving events began on Sunday, July 25 and will run through Saturday, August 7.
Jessica Parratto and Delaney Schnell became the first U.S. team to medal in the women’s synchronized 10m platform competition, taking home silver. Andrew Capobianco and Michael Hixon won silver in the men’s synchronized 3m springboard competition.
Why do divers shower between dives?
During the Olympics, divers rinse or shower between dives. “Some of it is just for warming up,” Hasselbach Adams said. “When you jump in and out of the water, the water is usually quite warm. When you go out, the atmosphere is a bit chilly, so they like to keep their muscles loose and jump in the shower or in a hot tub – there is usually a small hot tub nearby too – they submerge themselves, in between dives, or you will see them dip their chamois in the hot water and put it over themselves.’
Why do divers dry off between dives?
According to Hasselbach Adams, there are a number of reasons why divers may dry up between dives. “For example, they dry off to keep (their) bodies warm before putting on their warm-up again to wait for their next dive,” she said. “The other reason is that when they spin, their spin rate is really fast and when they’re soaking wet they can slip out of position, slip out of their dive and that wouldn’t be a happy ending. A lot of our athletes use some kind of sticky substance ( like iTac) to help them not slip out of their folds and they will put it on their shins (to) help them.
Hasselbach Adams said: “It’s called water stirrer, that’s what we call it officially, and it shakes the water surface so you can see when you turn, especially from a really high altitude, it’s hard, when the water is super flat, it looks like glass So you can’t see the bottom of the pool So by shaking the water surface it breaks the surface tension and creates more of a visual image of when you need to be ready to get in the water.
How much spatter is too much spatter?
“In general, if it looks like a cannonball, that’s no good,” revealed Hasselbach Adams. “You don’t (get) a good score at all. Ideally, what we call a dive without a splash is a crack. So when you tear it, it’s like, no splash, has a very clear sound, especially if you go even higher , you can hear a great dive. … A lot of people said it sounds like you’re tearing a piece of paper. It’s really cool. It’s a really great sound to hear.”
How deep is an Olympic diving pool?
“It has to be at least 15 feet deep,” Hasselbach Adams said.
How high is an Olympic diving board?
The Olympic diving boards are placed at two different heights – three meters and 10 meters. To put that height into perspective, Hasselbach Adams said, “A good way to think about 10 meters is to think of it as the equivalent of a three-story building.”