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Optional Dives

Diving Meet Requirements


Ariel Rittenhouse - Day 2 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials

Ariel Rittenhouse - Day 2 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials

Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Optional dives in competitive diving are the harder and more impressive dives performed in a divers list of dives. They can range from a forward 1 ½ in the pike position on the one-meter springboard, to a reverse 3 ½ in the tuck position from the ten-meter platform.

When the optional dives are combined with the required voluntary dives, the result is a list of dives that a diver must perform in a particular diving meet or contest. This in commonly known as a “divers’ list.”

As with the requirements for the voluntary dives, depending on age and the type of event (high school, USA Diving, etc.), divers are required to perform a predetermined number of optional dives from different diving groups without limit on the total degree of difficulty (D.D.) of these dives.

A diver can put himself or herself at a great disadvantage by not being able to adequately perform voluntary dives but make no mistake about it – optional dives win diving contests!

One important thing to remember though, despite that fact that there are no limits on the degree of difficulty, a diver should avoid doing the hardest dives possible just because they have more difficulty and they can complete the dive. The object of any diving competition is to score more points than the opponent. And being able to do a dive with lower difficulty successfully, is more prudent than doing a higher difficulty dive for lower scores.

Example: Forward 2 ½ Tuck vs. Forward Double Tuck

A diver may be able to complete a forward 2 ½ somersault in the tuck position with a D.D. of 2.4, but only receive a score of three from each of the diving judges. However, this diver may be able to consistently do a forward double tuck with a D.D. of 2.2, and receive a score of five from each of the judges.

In this case, when the judges scores and the D.D. are multiplied together, the forward double scores over 10 points more than the forward 2 ½. In a diving contest which can be decided by a tenth of a point, that 10-point difference can have an enormous impact. In addition, the confidence gained from doing a dive well is worth its weight in gold.

Depending on the age group and level of achievement of the diver, optional dives must come from two or more of the diving groups - forward, back, reverse, inward, twisting, and armstand (only used in platform diving), and can be chosen by the diver; but a diving group cannot be repeated.

For example, female divers in the 16-18 age group on the one-meter springboard are required to perform four optional dives, each from a different diving group.

Optional Dives

  • Number and scope is determined by diver’s age and type of event
  • Dives must come from a predetermined set number of diving groups
  • No limit on the total degree of difficulty

Sample Dive List
Dive Degree of Difficulty
Voluntary Dives
Forward 1 1/2 Somersaults Pike 1.7
Back Dive Pike 1.6
Reverse Dive Pike 1.7
Inward Dive Pike 1.5
Forward 1 1/2 Somersaults, 1 Twist Free 2.2
Total Degree of Difficulty (Voluntary Dives) 8.7
Optional Dives
Forward 2 1/2 Somersaults Tuck 2.4
Back 1 1/2 Somersaults Pike 2.3
Reverse 1 1/2 Somersaults Tuck 2.1
Inward 1 1/2 Somersaults Pike 2.4
Total Degree of Difficulty (Optional Dives) 9.2
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