Diving is an incredible sport; years of hard preparation, conditioning and rigorous training come together to result in a climatic display of bravery, athleticism and unparalleled skill. Athletes compete against one another, demonstrating a variety of spectacular tumbles, turns and twists from soaring heights, all in search of that ever elusive perfect 10.
Since the birth of competitive diving, many variations of the sport have emerged to test the mettle of enthusiasts, both amateur and professional.
To show you exactly what we mean, here at Simply Swim we have put together 8 of the best swimming dives of all time, with everything from the highest professional dives recorded, to adrenaline-pumping cliff jumps from around the world.
1. The Highest Recorded Dive
Probably the most dangerous yet sought-after record in diving history!
Previous attempts have seen champions plummeting from daring heights, resulting in some rather painful injuries. On the 7th April 1985, American Randy Dickison leapt from an astonishing 53.2m (174ft 8 inches), fracturing his left leg when he hit the water.
Two years later, high diver Oliver Favre successfully and safely completed an undisputed 58.28m (191.207ft) drop in Villers-le-Lac France.
Watch Favre’s thrilling descent in the clip below.
Clip courtesy of Cédric Haldemann.
2. Shallow Dive World Record
In this extreme sport, participants descend from a great height to land in a shallow pool below without sustaining any injury. The employed techniques see contestants land horizontally with a wide-spread belly flop. Of course, at this stage it’s worth saying that we wouldn’t advise any of our readers to try this!
In 2012, the world record was conquered by daredevil Darren Taylor. He achieved the record by dropping from a height of 36 feet into less than 12 inches of water below.
Take a look at Darren’s record-breaking plunge in the next video.
Clip courtesy of Guinness World Records.
3. The Olympic Dive That Made History
You may already be familiar with this clip but we feel that it deserves a mention in our list.
At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, gold medallist Greg Louganis dominated the springboard and tower diving events with an extraordinary display of perfect form, creativity and execution of his outstanding routine.
Check out the remarkable raw footage by Olympic filmmaker Bud Greenspan in this YouTube video.
Clip courtesy of Prestigator77.
4. London 2012 – Synchronised Springboard Dive
If you’re an aquatics fanatic, you might remember this exceptional demonstration from the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In a remarkable exhibition, the Chinese synchronised diving team, comprising of champions Qin Kai and Luo Yuntong won the gold medal for their exemplary performance at the 3m springboard event.
Relive the moment in the following two-minute clip below.
Clip courtesy of Olympics.
5. Lucy Wardle - World Record Holder
On the 7th April 1986, at the Ocean Park in Hong Kong US born Lucy Wardle made diving history. From an astounding 36.8m (120ft 9 inches) Wardle flawlessly hurled herself into pool below.
As of 2014, the high-stakes-heroine still holds the world record for the highest recorded dive held by a female.
Take a look at Lucy’s magnificent leap in this clip.
Clip courtesy of Chip Humphrey.
Red Bull Cliff Diving
In 2009, Red Bull, renowned for its thrill-seeking endorsement of high-octane sports, spawned it’s official Cliff Diving World Series.
The games see a limited number of cliff-diving competitors come together to battle it out and be crowned number one. Events take place all over world; with contestants springing themselves from atop waterfalls, tall cliffs and caverns in jaw-dropping fashion.
The following video shows the top 10 dives from the World Series and in the next three sections we have pulled together our list of the best three with relevant time codes for you to skip through and check them out.
Clip courtesy of Red Bull.
6. Group Dive
Surrounded by the backdrop of a number of ancient Mayan ruins, the 2011 games saw a group of expert cliff divers simultaneously hurl themselves from off the edge into the dark waters of a closed cavern in Yucatan, Mexico.
7. Serpents Lair
This death-defying jump takes place at the aptly named Serpents Lair in the Aran islands, Ireland. The dive features Columbian Orlando Duque somersaulting from a cliff edge into the cool water of the naturally formed pool below.
8. The World’s Most Difficult Dive
The final video shows British born athlete, Gary Hunt blow away the competition by accomplishing an unprecedented routine with a difficulty rating of 6.2. His feat has been recorded as the most advanced performance in the history of competitive diving: the triple quad, Hunt’s signature trick.
featured swim image from Bigstock