I find the 10-meter platform diving competition to be the most fascinating of the Olympic pool events. It’s also one of the sports that far more impressive to watch live than on tv. I just “cliff”-jumped from a 23-foot platform at a nearby water park and that was pretty freaking scary. The idea of performing several flips, twists and turns beforehand, from 10 feet higher no less, is unfathomable to me.
One thing that sort of bothers me is that, in order to not hit the bottom of the pool, the diver has to turn immediately after entering the water. But since the water is clear, we see that turn which slightly detracts from the elegance of the dive. Why can’t they make the diving pools deep enough that no underwater turn is required (or that it can be done at a lower depth)?
Not really, you won’t go down too far. The water slows you down quickly, and most dives leave you with some rotation entering the water that would pull you out of an aerodynamic position anyway. It’s not that they have to turn immediately after entering the water to avoid hitting the bottom, it’s that they are turning when they enter the water. The dives are timed to look good above the surface of the water.
This is from my experience as a 1-meter springboard diver - I’m sure things are more dramatic from the 3-meter board and platforms. But there’s plenty of depth in a diving area either way.
On the ears and on the head. I used to dive off of ten and occasionally 20 meter platforms. The pool depth was 18 feet and I never felt like I had to twist to keep from hitting the bottom. But a bit of air would be nice and you’re not going to find that at the bottom of the pool. One thing I learned at age 9 is to never have a part in your hair when you dive from that height. I honestly thought I’d scalped myself.
I have done some 5 meter platform diving. Pool depth isn’t generally a problem. Remember, the inertia of the water means that the faster you hit it, the more it’s going to resist. So diving from a higher height just means more G forces on impact, not necessarily more penetration. Heck, water will stop a .50 caliber bullet in just a few feet.
The real danger of the added height is damage to your body from the water itself if you hit wrong. Around here, you can’t even get access to the 10 meter platforms unless you are part of a diving program.
On the other hand, with really good streamlined form you can hit the bottom of a 12 ft pool pretty hard just by diving off the side or off the 1 meter springboard.