Why do divers shower after each dive? How it protects athletes from injury
The diving pool has so far been one of the highlights of Tokyo 2020 for the GB team, with Tom Daley finally winning his first Olympic gold medal.
Daley and his diving partner Matty Lee won the 10m synchronized event, and there were emotional scenes when Daley took home the elusive medal.
Those who watched the event may have noticed that Daley, Lee, and the other contestants showered after each dive – which looks confusing when they are already wet.
A number of the athletes could also be seen wearing duct tape, and eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that water was sprayed onto the surface of the pool before each dive.
Why do divers shower?
The reason divers shower is actually to try to prevent injury.
Showering helps keep muscles relaxed between dives, which means they’re less likely to cramp or get stiff when entering the pool or in mid-rotation.
It’s the same reason that divers sometimes sit in hot tubs between dives – it helps keep their muscles relaxed and supple.
Why do divers wear duct tape?
The ribbon you may have seen divers – and other athletes – wear at the Olympics is no ordinary ribbon.
It is a type of tape known as Kinesio, which is flexible and helps athletes manage pain.
The tape helps fluids flow more easily through the body, which reduces swelling and relieves muscle and joint pain.
It was developed by Japanese chiropractor Dr Kenso Kase in the 1970s and is also popular with footballers and rugby players.
Why is water sprayed on the swimming pool?
Water is sprayed onto the pool so divers can actually see where the surface is.
As the diving board is 10m high, they can only see the bottom of the pool from where they are standing.
The ripples created by the spray allow divers to judge distance more accurately and ensure they are entering the water at a safe angle.
Divers can be seriously injured if they enter the water at the wrong angle, as they are moving at around 35 mph when touching the surface.
Other safety precautions include minimum and maximum pool depths for optimum water pressure, and the compressed air bubbles that are pumped from the bottom of the pool, known as the “bubble”, which help. to mitigate the impact of divers with the water.