Diving Glossary


Announcer – The person who calls out the name of the diver and the dive he is performing in a competition.

Armstand dive – Any dive that starts with a handstand at the end of the platform. Armstands are only used in platform diving.


Back fall – A standing back dive from the tip of the diving board or platform, used to practice entries. See also: Lineup.

Back press – The takeoff for all back, inward and back twisting dives.

Backward dive – A dive that rotates backward (away from the board) after takeoff.

Balk – An illegal movement in performing a dive. Refers to a false start on a forward or backward takeoff or when a diver loses balance during an armstand and touches the platform with one or both feet.

Bingo – When all the judges award the same score for a particular dive in a contest.

Bubble machine – A force of air from the bottom of the pool to the surface of the water. It breaks the surface tension of the water and provides a softer landing. Used when learning a new dive.


Call – A verbal command from a coach notifying a diver when to come out of a particular dive. Primarily used when divers are learning new dives.

Carriage – The posture of a diver when on the diving board or platform. Refers to the way a diver carries his/her body during the forward or backward approach.

Cheeseboard – Slang for a Duraflex Maximodel “B” springboard. This board has slots or “cheese holes” at the end of the board. These holes reduce air resistance and guard off standing water—making it the most popular brand of diving board in competitive diving.

Compulsory dives – See required dives.

Crimping – Slang for when a diver is in the pike or straight position and slightly bends his/her knees.

Crow hop – Slang for when a diver performs a backward or inward takeoff and lifts one or both feet up off the board (creating a second jump) prior to jumping off the board.

Cutaway – Slang for an inward dive.


DD – Abbreviation for degree of difficulty.

Degree of difficulty – A measure of how difficult a dive is to execute, ranging in value from 1.2 to 4.2. A diver’s final score for a dive is calculated by multiplying the degree of difficulty by the sum of the judges’ scores.

Dive groups – The six categories of dives: forward, back, reverse, inward, twisting and armstands.

Draw – Random selection of the order in which divers perform. Also refers to the selection of judges for an event.

Dry board – A diving board placed over a foam pit or port-a-pit used in dryland training.

Dryland Training – Refers to a training apparatus or piece of equipment such as trampolines and/or dry boards that help divers perfect and execute dives.

Duraflex diving board – The standard brand of diving board used in competitive diving.


Elevation – The height a diver gains from his/her takeoff.

Entry – The part of a dive when the diver hits the water, either with feet or hands and head. A diver’s goal is to enter the water with as little splash as possible, usually with a near-vertical body position and pointed toes.

Execution – A diver’s performance of the dive. An element of scoring that takes into account dive mechanics, technique, form and grace.


Failed dive – Term for when a diver fails to execute the dive they intended to perform.

FINA – Stands for the Fédération Internationale de Natation—the international governing body for aquatic sports, including diving. (FINA also governs swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming and open-water swimming.) FINA writes the rules for and sanctions international competitions, including the Diving World Cup.

Finals – The last round of competition in which the best divers in the preliminary round(s) compete for final standings (and medals).

Firmboard – See platform.

Flat-hand grab – A method used in diving to create an entry with little to no splash. This technique derives its name from the position of the hands: The palms of the hands face-up above the head, creating a “flat” or level surface.

Flying – When a diver keeps his body in a straight position for at least one quarter of a rotation prior to executing the remainder of the dive.

Forward approach – Dive approach in which a diver takes several (usually three) steps and a hurdle prior to takeoff.

Forward dive – Type of dive in which the diver faces forward (away from the board) and spins forward after the takeoff.

Free position – Dive position that combines the straight, pike and tuck positions – used in twisting dives.

Front fall – Also see lineup. A standing forward dive from the tip of the diving board or platform; used to practice entries.

Fulcrum – A moveable wheel under a springboard, which divers adjust to change the amount of spring or bounce in the board.

Full in – A forward 2.5 somersault with one twist with the twist performed at the beginning of the dive.

Full out – A forward 2.5 somersault with one twist with the twist performed at the end of the dive.


Gainers – Slang for reverse dives.


Heavy entry – An entry that causes a lot of splash.

Hipping – The motion of a diver thrusting his hips out to get distance from the diving board on reverse dives.

Hurdle – The last, giant step taken before takeoff from the board.


Inward dive – A dive that starts with the diver facing the back of the diving board (or away from the water) and spins forward (toward the board) after takeoff.


Jets – A stream of water that sprays the surface of the pool. It helps a diver distinguish the top of the water from the bottom of the pool.

Judge – Official who scores competitors dives.


Kick out – The quick, strong extension of a diver’s legs out of the tuck position to stop rotation.


Lineup – Fall into the water (either forward or backward), to focus on entry and having perfect body alignment.

List – A list of dives for a competition, including both required and optional dives.


NFHS – The National Federation of State High School Associations is the governing body for diving competitions for high schools in the United States.


Optional dives – Dives selected by the diver to perform in an event. There is no maximum degree of difficulty. Optional dives are performed after required dives.

Over – Refers to a dive that rotated past vertical.


Pike position – Dive position in which the knees are straight and the body is folded forward at the waist, with toes pointed.

Pike-up – A stomach-strengthening exercise. To perform a diver lays on his back and brings his legs and arms up into a sitting “V” position.

Pit – A training tool that consists of large pieces of soft foam that are used to cushion a landing.

Platform – A solid, immovable structure from which divers launch.

Port-a-pit – A thick landing mat used as a training tool at the end of a dryboard.

Power leg – The leg in the lunge position during a five-step approach.

Preliminaries – The first portion of a competition in which divers compete to see who will compete in the finals or subsequent rounds of competition.

Puck – Nickname for when a diver is in pike position, but his/her legs are bent.


Required dives – Dives that require a maximum degree of difficulty, usually performed before optional dives.

Reverse dive – Type of dive in which the diver faces forward (toward the water) and rotates backward (toward the board) after the takeoff.

Riding the board – Connecting with the timing of the springboard’s natural flex to gain the maximum height possible on a dive.

Rip entry – An entry into the water that features little to no splash.


Sammy shammy – A popular brand of shammy that divers use to dry themselves off with.

Save – A forward somersault or a backward kick that helps make an over- or under-rotated dive appear vertical.

Scooping – Arching the back and creating a shallow dive after entering the water from a forward or inward dive.

Scratch – To withdraw from a competition.

Shammy – A small aqua towel that divers use to dry themselves.

Short – When a diver fails to rotate far enough to successfully execute the dive.

Smack – When a diver lands at an angle that is greater or less than 90 degrees to the water. A smack, otherwise known as a belly flop or back flop, can produce welts, bruising or worse injuries.

Smoke – The term “smoke” refers to ripping an entry; a “smoke” is an entry with little to no splash.

Somersault – Rotation around an axis (or imaginary line) running through the hips.

Spotting – Refers to a coach or an assistant helping a diver practice dives on land, using a safety harness and trampoline. (see also visual spotting)

Springboard – A flexible, “springy” board from which divers leap. Divers compete at two heights in springboard events: 1-meter and 3-meter (distance refers to the board’s height above the surface of the water).

Starting position – The beginning position on either the springboard or platform.

Straight position – Dive position in which the body is fully-extended, with no bend at either the hips or knees. Feet are together and toes are pointed.

Swim – A term used to describe the motion of the arms once a diver has entered the water. The arms push through the water and swim towards the side of the body.

Synchronized diving – Event in which two divers (of the same gender) perform identical dives simultaneously from the same height.


Table – In a competition, the place where diving scores are tallied and where the announcer sits.

Takeoff – The moment when a diver leaves the board or platform and execution of the dive begins.

Tariff – See degree of difficulty.

Tower – Platform diving structure. Platforms are typically placed 5, 7.5 and 10 meters above the surface of the water.

Tuck position – Dive position in which the body is curled into a small ball, with legs bent and knees pulled into the chest as tightly as possible.

Tuck-up – (See pike-up) A stomach-strengthening exercise where a diver lays on his/her back and brings the legs in a tuck position and arms into the middle of the body forming a “V” position.

Twist – To rotate around an axis (or imaginary line) running from head to toe.

Twister – Nickname for a twisting dive.


Unattached – To compete without representing a team.

USA Diving – The national governing body for diving in the United States.


Visual spotting – Using visual cues to know when to kick out, stop twisting or stop rotating.

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