For Parents Diving?

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Jan 28, 2015
Does anyone have the scoop on diving? My L 9/10 rising HS junior is maybe interested. She still loves gym but has had so many injuries... Curious on a few things:
1) What are training hours like?
2) Would there be possibilities to continue in college? I know there are teams, but is it too late...
3) Is there generally camaraderie? It seems diving is usually part of swimming but with very few divers?

Thanks for any thoughts!
Diving official here.

Level 8/9/10 is a common time for gymnasts to become divers. If you look at results from recent age group diving nationals for both AAU and USA diving, there is a big jump in numbers for girls as you get to the older age groups. This reflects the former gymnasts switching to diving. You can cross-reference dive results and mymeetscores to understand it more fully.

For JO-level diving, the hours will be usually be less than gymnastics, but depending on the club you may be going to one pool for springboard time, another for platform time, and a gymnastics or dedicated diving dryland facility for dryland time. I work with younger kids. The older divers I know are at practice 4-5 times a week. Their season goes from winter through the last week of July, so it may be a longer competitive season than you’re used to depending on where you live.

It is not too late for college recruiting, but look up the rules for NCAA diving scholarships to understand the scholarship situation- it will be partial. This year, last year, and this coming year have a similar recruiting squeeze as gymnastics in terms of current high schoolers struggling to find spots on college rosters due to Covid eligibility extensions. I’ve seen a few long-time divers and former gymnasts try to buy themselves recruiting time by taking a gap year. There are more dive programs than gymnastics programs, but they take less athletes per program so there needs to be more flexibility about schools. Your diver will also need to consider a springboard-only versus springboard and platform dive list and school. Swim and dive rosters are usually combined so you’ll have to scroll through rosters to find divers, their clubs, their backgrounds and their dive lists. Look at the recent team rankings from USA diving nationals to see if there is a decent program near you.

Finally, use caution when choosing a club. Diving is a bit behind gymnastics when it comes to Safesport issues, and there are some sketchy hot potato coaches who have made the rounds of clubs but not been kicked out of the sport. Google coaches thoroughly.

Divers are really friendly and low-key, in my experience. It’s a fun sport worth trying!
Mom to a former multi year L10 who junior year decided to leave the sport due to injuries. Took up diving in high school with high school team. Trained 5 hours a week, took 12th at States that year. After season was over, talked to a couple of local dive teams, both agreed to train her even though she was "old". Went with a club that competed nationally. They put her in with the team to train but would not allow her to compete. Not surprised as she was learning this sport from scratch. There was a lot of similarity but also some major differences. Senior year, competed again at high school, won her conference, took 4th at States. The dive club head coach encouraged her to look at D3 teams and talked to some coaches on her behalf. She got some offers that included financial aid. She ended up walking onto our state flagship school which competed D1. (She had already decided to attend there as the tuition/fees were still less than the D3 schools with the aid package and she's planning on going to medical school so the walk on offer was a bonus). Her senior year, she was offered a partial scholarship. So, it's totally doable. Honestly, if money is not a driver, I think any college coach would be happy to have a walk on diver. Finding divers is hard! Her biggest issue was mastering some of the skills that are unique to diving.

At the club, she trained 20ish hours a week. In college, they could only train 20 hours a week. Dive teams tend to train less than gymnastics teams with some clubs training 10-15 hours a week. Some freshman college divers struggled with the 20 hours of training a week. My kid thought it was easy as compared to the hours she put in at gymnastics.

In terms of camaraderie, yes, dive teams are much smaller. But my daughter formed a close group with the other divers. The team size changed each year as divers came and went but the core team were close. Her team went through a lot as they had 3 coaching changes in her 4 years but the kids all hung together and supported each other. I have to say that her college friends are the dive team members, not her roommates or classmates.
I coached a gymnast who started diving at the beginning of 10th grade, after a back injury halted her gymnastics career. She took to it super quickly, won state championships on her event in 10-12th grade, and got a full ride scholarship to a D1 school with a very well known swimming and dive program. I'm sure that's a bit of an anomaly, but she just tried it on a whim, thinking it might give her a place to still flip around and quickly became very good! I'm pretty sure she was a level 9.

Another former gymnast who stepped away from gymnastics as level 8-ish/age 16ish early in the pandemic and took up diving during the gym closure. She's starting community college as a member of the dive team this month. She'll see how the next year or two goes, and might look into transferring to a university.
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