Diving is one of the most popular Olympic sports and one of the first to be sold out at the Olympic Games. It is classified as an art as well as a sport because of the aesthetic beauty of the performance of the dives. It requires strength and power as well as flexibility and the diver must be graceful and have a good, kinesthetic awareness.
In Canada, elite competitive diving is regulated by Diving Plongeon Canada (DPC). The lower levels are regulated by individual Provincial associations that are members of DPC. The main competitive season runs from February to September, although some competitions may be held as early as December or January. Many divers (particularly international level athletes) will train and compete year round.
Most provincial level competitions consist of events for 6 age groups (Groups A, B, C, D, and Open (Senior)) for both genders on each of the three board levels (1 meter, 3 meter and platform). These age groups correspond to those standardized by FINA. Most provinces will add a Group E and F, to accommodate younger age group divers (under 9 years). Group E and F do not compete nationally and do not have a tower event (although divers of this age may choose to compete in Group D). The Open category is so called because divers of any age, including those over 18, may compete in these events, so long as their dives meet a minimum standard of difficulty.
Adult divers who are not competitive at an elite level may compete in masters diving. Typically, masters are either adults who never practiced the sport as children or teenagers, or former elite athletes who have retired but still seek a way to be involved in the sport. Many diving clubs have Masters teams in addition to their primary competitive ones. While some masters dive only for fun and fitness, there are also Masters Competitions, which range from the local to world championship level.
Most diving competitions consist of three disciplines: 1 meter and 3 meter springboards, plus the platform event (5meter, 7.5 meter or 10 meter). Competitive athletes are divided by gender, and often by age group. In platform events, age group competitors are allowed to perform their dives on any of the platform levels. In open events at the National Championships and all international events, platform diving is from the 10 meter height.
Divers have to perform a set number of dives according to established rules, including somersaults and twists. Divers are judged on how well they complete all aspects of the dive; the approach and take off, the execution in the air (form, speed of spin or twist) and the entry into the water.
There are 5 or 7 judges used to evaluate the performance of the divers in a competition. These judges use their knowledge of the rules and what the dives should look like to award scores. The judges take into consideration 5 elements of the dive as well as the overall impression of the performance. The 5 elements are;
To reduce the subjectivity of scoring, when five judges are used, the highest and lowest scores are discarded and the middle three are summed and multiplied by the degree of difficulty (DD). If there are seven judges, the two highest and the two lowest scores are discarded, and the middle three are summed and multiplied by the DD. Accordingly, it is extremely difficult for one judge to manipulate scores.
In synchronized diving events, there is a panel of nine (or eleven) judges; two (three) to mark the execution of diver A, two (three) to mark the execution of diver B, and the remaining five to judge the synchronization of the two divers. The execution judges are positioned two (three) on each side of the pool, and they score the diver which is nearer to them. There are three synchronized judges placed on one side and two synchronized judges on the other side of the pool. The highest and lowest of the execution scores are discarded as well as the highest and lowest of the synchronized judges scores leaving 5 judges scores. These are added together and multiplied by the degree of difficulty (DD) to give the score for each dive performed.