Why Does Sprinkler Spray Water in the Olympic Diving Pool?

10. Why Does Sprinkler Spray Water in the Olympic Diving Pool1
Read Time:3 Minute, 38 Second

What Causes the Olympic Diving Pool Sprinkler to Spray Water? If you’ve watched any Olympic diving competitions, you might have noticed that between dives, sprinklers spray water over the pool’s surface. It appears that it might be to replenish fluid that sloshed over the sides after a dive, but expert divers hardly make a noise.

Why then would you want to add more moisture to something that is already as saturated as it can be? It’s a safety precaution in this instance, as Sporting News reports. The Fédération Internationale De Natation (FINA), which oversees Olympic swimming events, mandates “surface agitation … to aid the divers in their visual perception of the surface of the water” [PDF].

To put it another way, the ripples the sprinklers make in the water enable divers to more easily determine their distance from the pool’s surface. In this manner, they can plan their flips and twists so that they culminate just before they hit the water, preventing a rocky landing or full-on belly flop. As you can see below, it has happened before, despite the fact that it appears that Olympic divers are probably proficient enough to avoid it in any case.

Why is Water Sprayed on Olympic Pools?

Even though it might appear unimportant, the spray is a requirement for safety in all international competition, as set forth by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA). It is a requirement of the organization that oversees competition in six aquatic sports, including swimming, diving, high diving, artistic swimming, water polo, and open water swimming.

Because it is a surface agitator, it gives divers a visual cue to help them understand where the pool is in relation to their dive. It basically aids them in determining when to begin their rotation as they dive into the water.

Given that the 2021 Tokyo Olympics are currently using a horizontal sprinkler system, it appears that a sub-surface bubble machine is also being utilized at the Games to help prevent diver injury.

There are other safety precautions for athletes competing in diving events as well. FINA has regulations covering everything from light sources and glare to diving pool depth, water temperature, and tile color (if a pool has both swimming and diving lanes, which is not the case in Tokyo).

10. Why Does Sprinkler Spray Water in the Olympic Diving Pool2

Water Sprayed for Athletes’ Safety

So that the divers can actually see the surface, water is sprayed onto the swimming pool.

From where they are standing, they can only see the pool floor because the diving board is 10 meters up.

The divers can more accurately judge the distance thanks to the ripples the spray makes, and they can also ensure that they enter the water at a secure angle.

Divers who enter the water at an awkward angle risk serious injury because they hit the surface at a speed of about 35 mph.

Other safety precautions include minimum and maximum pool depths for optimum water pressure, and compressed air bubbles which are pumped from the pool floor, known as a “bubbler”, which helps soften the divers’ impact with the water.

Tom Daley ‘incredibly Proud’

After the victory on Monday, Daley told reporters: “Being a gay man and an Olympic champion makes me feel incredibly proud.

“When I was younger, I believed that my identity would prevent me from ever accomplishing anything. Being an Olympic champion today just goes to show how anything is possible.”

At Rio 2016 and London 2012, Daley won bronze medals.

“In terms of ‘out’ athletes, there are more openly out athletes at these Olympic Games than any Olympic Games previously,” Daley said.

“I came out in 2013 and when I was younger I always felt like the one that was alone and different and didn’t fit. I had a quality that would never allow me to measure up to what society expected of me. I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. Anything is possible.”

Speaking of his husband, film producer Dustin Lance Black, and their three-year-old son Robbie, Daley added: “It’s been the most amazing, life-altering journey for me, and I can’t wait to go see them, my husband and my son, to give them a big hug and be able to celebrate on this incredible journey that it has been.”

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