How to Perfect the Rip Entry in Diving

The rip entry is the most valued skill in diving. To enter the water at speeds of up to 30 miles-per-hour without a big splash is a feat of extreme athleticism and precision. And while the diver’s air mechanics, takeoff, and dive height are all important, if the dive does not include a rip entry, the scores will suffer.

The rip entry takes years of practice to perfect, but is fairly easy to learn. It involves two essential components: The flat-hand grab and correct body alignment when entering the water.

Flat-hand Grab

In order to enter the water without a splash, you first must learn the flat-hand grab. 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. Essentially, the point of the flat-hand grab is to create a cavity in the water for the diver to pass through.

In order to accomplish this all important “grab,” there are two steps you need to follow.

1. Hand Position

Here is how to get the proper hand position:

  • First, stand in a vertical position. Take one hand and grab the other hand at the base of the fingers.
  • Straighten the arms, keeping the thumbs tucked into the hands and palms facing out.
  • Slightly pull back on the fingers of the hand that is on the bottom, and raise your arms above your head.
  • Make sure to keep your arms straight and your head in line with the arms.

In reality the flat-hand is not completely flat; it has a slight “V” at the tip, as the pulling back of the fingers prevents it from being perfectly level. Nevertheless, the hands should be flat enough that you could balance something on the surface.

Fun Fact:

In the last 50 years, this concept of grabbing the hands to create a flat surface above the head has had a profound effect on the sport of diving. The ability to enter the water with little to no splash is due in large part to this technique.

2. Tight Arms

The arms are very important in the grab. You must keep your arms tight and in position to minimize any chance of disrupting the water.

Here’s how:

  • With the hands above the head, keep the arms tight, straight and close to the ears.
  • Shrug the shoulders up towards the ears and squeeze the arms together.
  • Squeeze the biceps tight to your ears to eliminate any gap that may exist. The arms should be tight enough that if someone was trying to separate them they would encounter resistance.

Body Alignment

Once you understand the grabbing technique, you need to learn how to properly align your body upon entry.

Unlike the flat-hand grab (that is the same for all dives), body alignment changes from dive to dive depending on the way you enter the water.

  • Forward/Inward entries: The head is aligned with the arms with eyes focused on the water; the body is in a slightly hollow and rounded position.
  • Back/Reverse entries: The head is aligned with the arms with the eyes looking back towards the water; the body is in a slightly arched position.

Hot Tip: Keep Position

On the entry, any movement away from the perfect alignment — a wobbly body, a body that is not vertical, or the misalignment of the head or arms — will create a splash.

Lineup & Entries

Practicing your entry in the water is essential to performing it well. Most coaches require divers to work on entries at the start of each workout by performing multiple lineups — standing forward and backward dives off the 3-meter springboard or platform.

There are several ways to perform this series of dives and it is best to listen to your coach’s advice — he/she knows exactly the best line-up skill for you to practice.

Here is an example of how to perform one type of front and back line-up.

Front Lineup

  • Stand on the edge of the board and lean your body over into a pike position. Make sure to keep your legs straight and your body as close to your legs as possible.
  • Place your arms out to the sides of your body; round-out your shoulders and your back, making sure your core is tight.
  • Face the palms of your hands towards the water. Keep your head in-line with your body.
  • Rise onto your toes and prepare to dive with your eyes focused on the water.
  • Once in the air, grab your hands (flat-hand grab) above your head. Try to create a tight seal around your ears by pulling your shoulders up to your ears and squeezing your arms tight to your head.
  • Keep your core tight and dive into the water. Perform an underwater save.

Back Lineup

  • Stand on the edge of the diving board with your back towards the water and your heels hanging off the board.
  • Place your arms down by your legs in front of your body and grab your hands; one hand on top of the other, slightly pulling up the bottom fingers.
  • Keep looking down at your hands and slowly fall off the board keeping your body in a vertical line.
  • As you fall, lift your head back towards the water and raise your arms above your head and tight to your ears.
  • Keep your body tight as you enter the water and perform an underwater save.

Perfecting the Rip

The rip is not something you will perfect overnight. It takes a great deal of timing and positioning to execute consistently. But if you work on the flat-hand grab and proper body alignment each day, you will soon be able to rip your dives — and enjoy some high scores!

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