What About FINA?
So now it is back to the A and B thing and the point of this whole diatribe.
International diving competitions are governed by FINA, the International Governing Body for Aquatic Sports. According to FINA rules, age groups are designated by letters which correspond to age divisions.
FINA recognizes multiple age groups, only two of which (A & B) compete at the Junior World Championships that are held every two years.
So now is it starting to make sense? If not, then the list below may help. FINA recognizes these age groups and gives them the following designations:
- Group A (16-18 Age Group)
- Group B (14-15 Age Group)
- Group C (12-13 Age Group)
- Group D (11 & Under Age Group)
Where Does Synchro Fit In?
Again, you must specify what governing body and national championship you are talking about. In USA Diving (according to the current rule book), general synchronized diving competition is open to any age group diver. That essentially means you could have a nine year-old teaming with a 17 year-old. This may seem a bit odd, but if your nine year-old is Troy Dumais … well you get my point.
At USA Diving’s Junior National Championships though, the synchro competition was restricted to the 14-18 age group on both springboard and platform. The AAU also offers multiple synchro championships that included 13 & Under competition.
On the international scene, synchro has made its way to the junior ranks but is contested only on springboard. Its designation … A/B? That means that it is open to all competitors that are between the ages of 14 and 18.
And Finally, How Is The Age Determined?
Now that you are thoroughly confused, here is another wrinkle to the system. When determining what age group in which a diver will participate, things again get a bit confusing. For the uninitiated, the first thought would be, “I’m 13 so I should compete in the 12-13 age group.”
Well, not so fast my friend, it doesn’t work like that. For divers that are competing according to FINA rules (USA Diving and the AAU follow this rule), a divers' competitive age is determined by the age that they will be on December 31st of that calendar year.
I know, it is silly, and the overwhelming majority of divers will not compete internationally so why can’t you just compete your age!
Well, that is a topic for another day!