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Aquarapid International 2010

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On Friday, October 29th, I left Linköping for Stockholm and my first diving competition, Aquarapid International 2010. Having only practised diving for roughly two years, my goals were rather humble: score more than zero points on all six dives. I succeeded with this, and didn’t even score badly on more than a couple of dives. Overall, I’m very satisfied with the result and I look forward to future competitions.

Going to Stockholm

I left home at noon with Niklas and Marina, two of the other divers in the masters’ diving group in Linköping. None of us had competed before, but Niklas and I are roughly equally good divers, whereas Marina started diving only recently. We squeezed into Niklas’ car and headed northwards. On time, we approached the capital after a lunch break, but then something went wrong. I think this picture explains it pretty accurately:


It says “we came from here” and “were headed here”. Not the most direct way as you can see.

The detours took around an hour extra, but since we had planned for this, we still arrived at Eriksdalsbadet on time (with enough time left to warm up and so on). We had roughly forty minutes to dive before the competition began, which was essential for me, because last Wednesday (the last practice session before the competition), I failed one of my dives more times than I’ve ever done before. Thus, I really had to get a good start and remember that feeling when the real competition began. I did get a good feeling, but still, I had no idea how my mind and body would react to diving under the stress that competitions entail. This is how it went:

The six dives

1m, 5122d (forward one somersault with one twist, free) – This was my dreaded first dive and the one I failed more than half of the attempts only two days before the competition. The dive is not very difficult as such, but I suddenly forgot how to do it. I was quite nervous when I did this and I think that’s obvious when you look at it. The short preparation time was a bonus.

Score for the dive (difficulty 1.9): 5.0 5.5 4.5 = 28.5 points – This was higher than expected. Of course, I can do it a lot better, but not under these circumstances. More importantly, I could have failed entirely. I didn’t and thus I’m very happy. Next time, I will probably have advanced beyond this dive entirely, but only time will tell.

1m, 403c (inward one-and-a-half somersault, tuck) – This is probably the easiest dive for me and there was no conceivable way I could have failed it. I didn’t, and I think it’s obvious that I know what I’m doing here. It was nice to have this dive after the first, because I was still a bit shaky from all the adrenaline.

Score for the dive (difficulty 2.2): 6.0 6.5 6.5 = 42.9 points – This is in line with what I expected. I can’t do a much cleaner landing than this, but there are still some things that could have been improved. This is a nice dive and I’ll probably keep it, but I should be able to do it piked next time.

3m, 405c (inward two-and-a-half somersault, tuck) – This dive is the same as the one above, but with one extra somersault and two extra metres. It is a lot more difficult, so putting them one after another was a good idea, because then I would feel more prepared when attempting the harder of the two. I knew I would make it, but I was too nervous to perform it nicely.

Score for this dive (difficult 2.7): 4.0 5.0 3.5 = 32.4 points – To be honest, I think this dive is better than the 3.5, but perhaps not as good as 5. I jump off the springboard too early, which doesn’t give me enough height. My intention is to keep practising this dive and hopefully be able to perform it on the one-metre springboard as well, but that will be quite hard.

5m, 612b (handstand forward one somersault, pike) – The problem with handstands on a competition is that you get only one try. Or, to be honest, you get two attempts, but if you fail the first, you are heavily penalised. We practised the handstand specifically for this by doing ten attempts everyday. As soon as we had gained balance, we aborted. I succeed almost 100 times in a row, but I was still very nervous about this one.

Score for this dive (difficulty 1.7): 5.5, 6.5 6.0 = 30.6 points – As you can see, I did succeed on my first attempt. However, I was very, very close to fail. I pushed off too weakly, but I managed to save it anyway. Then I gain a good, solid handstand position. Sadly, the dive itself is pretty poorly executed, especially the landing, so I’m not very happy with the result. I don’t like platform diving very much, so I’m not going to develop this one.

5m, 103b (forward one-and-a-half somersault, pike) – Having finished the handstand, the two remaining dives were a walk in the park. I probably wouldn’t fail this dive even once in a thousand attempts. I put two easy dives at the end deliberately, and having reached this stage, I was more or less sure that I had already reached my goal for the competition, i.e. not to fail anything badly.

Score for this dive (difficulty 1.7): 6.0 7.0 6.5 = 33.15 points – This dive is actually tied with the 403c above, at least if we only look at the judges. I don’t see why this dive is as good as they thought it was, because in my mind, the 403c is a lot better. Still, I think this one is quite nice, although I could work more on my pikes.

3m, 105c (forward two-and-a-half somersault, tucked) – This is one of my favourite dives, not only because I’m better at it than most other dives of this difficulty, but also because it’s really fun to perform. I knew that I could do this well, the only question that remain was how well. Ending the competition with a dive I knew very well was nice, because at this time, the warm up was already quite a long time ago.

Scores for this dive (difficulty 2.2) 6.5 6.0 6.0 = 39.6 points – I’m satisfied with the points, but to be honest, this is far from good. I’ve done this dive better many, many times. I’m especially disappointed that I seem to just let the tuck go, rather than extending it with control and thus reducing the splash. I can do this a lot better, but it was still a nice dive to end the competition with.

Final score: 207.15 (see scoring protocol)

Some thoughts and reflections

First and foremost, I really enjoyed the competition. It was great to focus on a few dives for a while and see how well I could make them under stress. I was less nervous than I thought, but waiting for long periods between dives was still quite a strain. It is very likely that I will compete again, but next time, I’m going to make sure that I have no dives that I’m not sure if I will manage. Sure, it’s cool to do more difficult dives, but it’s also psychologically demanding not to know if I’m even going to receive a single point or not.

Second, it was inspiring to see other divers. I haven’t mentioned how the competition went in terms of rank, because it’s not very important. The winner had above 300 points, which is way beyond me. If I would have performed the best I’ve ever done for every single dive, I might have scored around 250, but that’s very unlikely, and even then, I would still only be halfway to the winner. Seeing these people dive was a treat though and I enjoyed it immensely.

Third, I feel that the competition has given me a sense of direction. Sure, I was quite motivated before and knew what I wanted to learn, but now I think the text competition will be in focus. It’s more than half a year away, but that doesn’t matter. I have lots to learn and I plan to have a nice series of dives ready, probably containing a lot more twisting.

Finally, I would like to thank all the people who were in some way involved or in some manner supported me!

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