Heading to Kazan: a closer look at DDs
With the development of high diving, FINA officially adopted at the beginning of 2014 the list of Degrees of Difficulty (DD) for this discipline. As in pool diving, it establishes all the possible combinations from the 27m board for men and 20m for women. To each kind of dive and position a DD is given and this coefficient will then be taken into account when calculating the scores of the divers. Going through the list, it is easy to understand the wider variety of combinations that high diving allows compared with pool diving, where a DD over 4.0 is already considered of extreme difficulty.
In high diving, things start to be complicated with a Degree of Difficulty over 6.0, with a theoretical maximum at 7.0 for a reverse 5 somersaults, piked. Taking into account that a high dive takes many months to prepare and stabilise, the strategy behind the choices of DD (as in pool diving) remains at the heart of the performance’s success.
In Kazan, five rounds for men and three for women will be held: on Day 1, three dives will be made by all 26 male athletes; Day 2 is reserved for the women’s competition; Day 3 will include two rounds for men – the fourth, with the best 18 of Day 1 and the fifth with the best 12 ranked after round 4.
Cyrille Oumedjkane (FRA) diving against the spectacular backdrop of La Rochelle in 2013 - credit: Ray Demski/Red Bull Content Pool
The goals and expectations vary in accordance with the international experience of the participating athletes. The ones with good results in Barcelona naturally aim at podium presences, while for many others Kazan will be a golden opportunity to make their debut at the highest level.
France's Cyrille Oumedjkane, 12th at the FINA World Championships, is clear: “My personal goal for this first edition is to reach the top eight places of the competition.”
British Blake Aldridge, 10th in 2013, has a solid past as a pool diver, having partnered Tom Daley at the 2008 FINA World Cup, where they claimed bronze in the 10m platform synchro event: “My goal is always to win but there are many good divers and winning is all about performing on the day. I would like to dive well and if I do I hope to be in with a chance of getting a medal.”
Jonathan Paredes (MEX) diving at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2014 in Azores (POR) - credit: Dean Treml/Red Bull Content Pool
From Switzerland, Andy Hulliger, is perhaps the most modest: “To get in the top 18 and to show my new dive."
American Andy Jones is determined to “bring a fun, exciting and entertaining event to the World Cup; to show people what the sport is and to help it grow.”
Anna Bader remains philosophical – “participate, dive, inspire and get inspired” – while Tara Hyer is very clear: “My goal is to perform my dives safely and effectively. I have an exciting new dive list, with more DD that I have been training hard for and am eager to compete at the High Diving World Cup.”
And the North American concludes on the “social” aspect of high diving: “I am also looking forward to meeting more men and women high divers from across the world. It will be exciting to talk with people with different backgrounds and from different geographies and to learn how they train for the sport.”