By Sara Dayley
St. Peters, Mo (KSDK) -- The sport of diving dates back to the 19th century, when gymnasts started performing their tumbling routines into the water.
It requires flexibility, aerobatic excellence and superb coordination. The United States took silver in the women's 3-meter synchronized springboard diving Sunday, and today the men will vie for the 10m platform synchronized honors.
The judging is a little tricky. Each of the seven judges awards a score to a diver for his or her dive. (Ex: 6-5-5-5-5-5-4). The two highest and two lowest scores are eliminated. (Ex: 6 and 4 and two of the 5s are eliminated.) The remaining scores are totaled. (Ex: 5 + 5 + 5 = 15) This total (15) is then multiplied by the predetermined degree of difficulty rating associated with the particular dive performed to calculate the overall score. These degree of difficulty ratings range between 1.2 to 4.1, in one-tenth increments. (Ex: 15 × 2.0 = 30)
For synchronized diving, three judges score the execution of diver one, three judges score the execution of diver two, and five judges score the synchronization. Both high and low are dropped as well.
The judges look at four different parts of the dive and score based on how well each part was executed. First the judges look at the starting position, next they look at the take off, followed by the actual dive and the last judged execution, the entry. Synchronized divers want to be a mirror image of each other - striking the water at the same time. Divers can score an automatic zero on a dive for double bouncing on the end of the board, performing a dive other than the one they turned in, or for simply taking too long.
Focus and concentration are two key factors when divers get set to go off the board. There is one little part of the pool that is small, silent and quite possibly a dive saver. It's a simple spout that makes a huge difference in a divers' abilities to see where the entrance of the water is during rotations. The water from this spout breaks that smooth glass like appearance of the water. Some divers know the sound so well, that they can recognize where they are in the dive by the sound of the spray, before finishing the dive.
The United States did not medal in any diving event during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so Kelci Bryant & Abigail Johnston hoisting the silver medal in the 3m springboard synchronized diving event was a huge accomplishment. China has dominated the diving scene in 2008 racking up 11 medals and nearly sweeping the diving scene.