Understanding Competitive Swimming & Diving
     SWIMMING is one of the most demanding,both physically and mentally,of all sports. Most successful swimmers train two-a-day workouts, eleven months a year.
     There are four strokes used in competitive swimming: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.  In addition, individual medleys ( made up of all four strokes ), relays and springboard diving are included in the meet programs.
      In all races,with the exception of the backstroke, the swimmer starts facing the pool. On the command "Take Your Mark", the starting position is assumed. The starter will start the race only when all swimmers are motionless. In the backstroke events all entrants line up in the pool facing the starting blocks.
       The starter begins the race with a pistol shot or an electronic device. Any swimmer charged with a false start is disqualified and cannot swim the event.
Backstroke: Swimmers push-off on their backs and continue swimming on their backs throughout the race. The touch on turns may be with any part of the body, but the shoulders may not turn over beyond the vertical before the swimmer touches the wall.
Breaststroke: The body shall be kept perfectly on the breast and both shoulders shall be in line with the water surface. All arm and Ieg movements must be simultaneous, in the same horizontal plane, and without alternating movements. Part of the head must break the water level, each stroke , except at the start and on turns where one pull and one kick may be done while wholly submerged. At the turns and at the finish of the race the touch must be made with both hands simultaneously.
Butterfly: Both arms recover together over the surface of the water and are pulled backwards simultaneously while the body is kept on the breast with the shoulders on the same horizontal plane. All up and down movements of the legs and feet must be kept simultaneous with no alternating movements. No breaststroke or scissor kicking movements are permitted. As in breaststroke, both hands must touch simultaneously on the turns and at the finish of the race.
Individual Medley: The swimmer swims the prescribed distance as follows:
First one-fourth: Butterfly; Second one-fourth: Backstroke; Third one-fourth: Breaststroke; Last one-fourth: Freestyle.

Each phase of the race must adhere to the rules governing that particular stroke.
Relays: Two types of relays are swum. The medley is swum with four swimmers, each swimming a different stroke in the following order: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle.   In the freestyle relays, each swimmer continuously swims one-fourth of the prescribed distance.The lead-off person starts with a shot or electronic sound. Each succeeding swimmer may be in motion, but must still have contact with the front edge of the starting block when the preceding swimmer finishes.
Scoring: When scoring a high school dual meet with 6 lanes points are awarded
as follows:      Relays - 

One team may only place or score points with two relays; you cannot place 1st,2nd and 3rd.

In all other events, the point structure is:
1st Place -  8 Points,  2nd - 4 pts. , 3rd - 2 pts., 4th thru 6th - 0 pts.
1st Place - 6 Pts., 2nd - 4 Pts., 3rd - 3 Pts., 4th - 2 Pts., 5th - 1 Pt., 6th - 0
DIVING : A diver's most important asset is spatial orientation and balance. A diver needs to know where he is during every part of his dive. He/she also needs to be in excellent physical condition in order to maneuver his body in the air so as to give the impression of effortlessness.All dives are classified according to their direction in relationship to the board,and are divided into 5 categories:
1. Forward Dives; 2. Backward Dives; 3. Reverse Dives (walk forward, dive back toward the board); 4. Inward Dives (stand backward on the end of the board and dive toward the board); and 5. Twist Dives.

A diver's "list" of dives for a meet must contain dives from 4 of the 5 groups. The first dive is called the voluntary dive. All other dives are optional dives. A high school dual meet list would consist of one voluntary dive and five optionals from at least four groups.
A championship list would be all five voluntary dives and six optionals.

Dives also must be done (and listed) in one of four positions: Tuck - bend at knee and waist, Pike - bend the waist only, Straight - no bends, Free - combination of any positions. Divers also have the option of using a standing or running takeoff.

What to watch for - when the competitor is ready, the dive is announced and a  signal is given by the referee. After the dive, and at another signal from the referee, the judges immediately announce their scores.

A dive is judged on a l0 point scale: the smallest division being half a point. Judges mark the dive so in their opinion that scoring falls into the following broad divisions:
  Completely Fail: 0 points , Unsatisfactory: 1/2 to 2 , Deficient: 2-1/2 to 4 , Satisfactory: 4-1/2 to 5-1/2,
Good: 6 to 7 , Excellent: 7-1/2 to 8-1/2, Exceplional: 9 to 10
         The points considered are the run, the takeoff, the technique and grace of the dive during the passage through the air and the entry into the water. The detailed requirements are set out in the PIAA handbook though clearly these are only a guide for the judges' technical appreciation and judgment.Each permitted dive is listed in the P.I.A.A. handbook according to its difficulty and is given a "degree of difficulty" ranging from 1.2 for the easiest dive to 3.0 for some of the most complicated somersault or twisting dives.To obtain the final score for a dive the following procedure is used: When the judges display their scores the scores are added together and this total is multiplied by the difficulty rating to obtain the final score.
Example: 1 m. Springboard , reverse 1-1/2 somersault in pike position (#303), difficulty 2.5 .
Judges Awards: 7 , 7-1/2 , 8.
Total of Scores ( 7 + 7.5 + 8 = 22.5 )  X  Difficulty ( 2.5 ) = 56.25 , Final Score
If two or more divers tie with the same score, a tie is declared.

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