1. Sports
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Why Would A Diver Get A Fail Dive?



Judges at the Junior World Championships

Photo: Woody Franklin

Do you know what a fail dive is? It’s really not that hard to figure out. It’s a dive that gets zero points! The most obvious explanation is that the diver “fails” to complete the dive – such as having the feet hit the water before the hands, or do the wrong dive altogether. That is the easy part.

But there are other reasons why a diver might get zeros from the judges, and do you know all of the ways this might occur? This might sound a bit negative – knowing the reasons for an incomplete dive, but it’s not. The reason being; one of the best ways to avoid a fail dive is to understand what it takes.

And add to that that high school diving has some additional rules, and ones that differ from FINA, the AAU and USA Diving ... it can be a complicated process. But remember, not knowing the rules is not an acceptable excuse for competing with one less dive than the other divers!

So in order to help every diver compete on a level playing field, here is a list the of reasons that a diver might cause a diver to receive a dreaded fail dive.

Individual Springboard and Platform Diving (FINA/USA Diving/AAU)

  • A diver takes more than one minute to begin their dive, after a warning from the referee.
  • A diver double bounces on the end of the springboard or platform before the take-off.
  • A diver performs a dive other than that that was announced.
  • A diver’s feet enter the water before the head or hands hit the water in a head first dive.
  • A diver’s hands hit the water before the feet in a feet first dive.
  • If assistance is given to the diver after they have begun their forward approach, or after the referee has given the starting signal. Assistance can take many forms, but most often this takes the form of a call-out during the dive.
  • When a second attempt after a balk (re-start) is not successful, the dive is fail. In other words, two balks is a fail dive.
  • If a diver refuses to execute a dive, it is fail.
  • If the final step in the front approach is not from one foot. Be careful with the Princeton, or hop hurdle which has a tendency to push the limits on what is legal.
  • If the take-off from the springboard is not from both feet.

Synchronized Diving (FINA/USA Diving/AAU)

  • If either diver enters the water before the other diver leaves the springboard or platform.
  • If all the synchro judges award zero points, the dive is failed.
  • If all the execution judges award zero points on one or both of the divers, the dive is failed.
  • If one of the divers performs a dive other than that that was announced.
  • If a twist is greater or less than 90 degrees or more as the body enters the water.

High School Diving

  • A diver does not assume a starting position.
  • A diver falls into the water
  • A diver is assisted by another person
  • A diver does not execute the pike position before the twist when performing a forward dive pike with ½ twists and an inward dive pike with ½ twist.
  • A diver’s feet enter the water before the head or hands hit the water in a head first dive.
  • A diver’s hands hit the water before the feet in a feet first dive.
  • A diver executes a twist, as determined by the diver’s shoulder position, more or less than 90 degrees when the diver’s feet/hands contact the water
  • A diver twists the shoulders past 90 degrees before the feet leave the springboard.
  • A diver repeats a dive.
  • Performs a dive from the standing position when a forward approach is required. (This is acceptable in age group diving under the rules of USA Diving).
  • A diver steps off the board after assuming the starting position.
  • A diver omits the written description of the dive on the scoresheet.
  • A diver does not perform the voluntary dive first in a dual meet (six dive list of dives).
  • A diver does not perform the voluntary and optional dives in the correct order.
  • A diver performs a dive not listed on the diving table (degree of difficulty table).

Source: National Federation of High School Athletics, FINA

  1. About.com
  2. Sports
  3. Diving
  4. Rules
  5. Fail Dive in Diving – What Makes A Diver Receive A Zero - Why Would A Diving Referee Declare A Fail Dive

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.