The FINA Junior World Diving Championships take place every two years, and that event raises a question about the competition that is worthy of an answer.
What are these A and B groups in diving?
The answer is simply a different manner of designating an age group in junior diving used by FINA in international competition. To understand what I am talking about, let's first look at how divers are grouped in the United States.
Age Groups in the U.S.
In the United States as you might imagine, age groups for diving are divided by the age of the competitor. In competition, young divers are generally separated into a series of groups, five of which are used in competition:
- 9 & Under Age Group
- 11 & Under Age Group / 10-11 Age Group
- 12-13 Age Group
- 14-15 Age Group
- 16-18 Age Group
In local and regional competitions, these age groups are changed and combined and merged, to fit the nature of the diving meet and who is participating. Additional age groups exist for developmental competition, but for the sake of brevity, the age groups listed only refer to a progression toward national level competition.
For national championship events, age groups generally are divided according to these age divisions. But again, that really depends on whose national championship you are talking about!
USA Diving, the national governing body for the sport of diving in the U.S., only uses four age groups at their national championships, essentially combining 9 & under and 10-11.
The "Under" designation simply allows younger divers to move up in an age group in order to compete in a national championship scenario. As I mentioned, USA Diving does not offer a national championship for 9 & Under divers but allows them to compete at that level at other competitions.
Amateur Athletic Union
The AAU, following up on their mission to offer more opportunities to those divers who won't compete for a junior world title, offers national championship opportunities to virtually every diver of every age!
That may a bit of an over-simplification, but not much of one. The AAU offers national titles for every age, combining only those in 9 & under. What this means is that a ten year old competes against only ten year-olds for a national title in the ten year-old age group!