THE COMPETITION

Diving is a sport in which competitors jump into water from a springboard (1m and 3m) or platform (5m, 7.5m and 10m). During a dive, athletes execute a series of acrobatic movements (somersaults, twists). Divers have to perform a set number of dives.

The order of diving shall be determined by a random draw prior to all preliminary competitions. In the final competition, divers shall compete in the reverse order of their ranking determined by the total scores at the end of the prelims.

At the European Championships – unlike at the Olympics and World Champs – there are no semi-finals in the individual competitions in 3m and 10m, the top 12 ranked divers qualify directly for the finals.

Female competitors are required to perform 5 dives, while the males need to dive 6 times in a session (before the start of any event, divers have to submit their diving sheets featuring the specific dives they chose to perform and the order of the dives – this must be followed strictly in the competition, there is no way to alter it). Each final is a fresh start, divers begin with a clean sheet, the points accumulated in the prelims do not count.

The synchronised diving event are also quite spectacular parts of the programme. At the Europeans the 3m and 10m synchro debuted in 1997. Then, in London 2016 the mixed synchro events also made their premieres – in the synchro events male competitors perform six dives, while in the women and the mixed events participants have five attempts.

The mixed team competition was showcased at the Europeans for the first time in Budapest in 2010. In 2019, at the stand-alone diving Europeans in Kiev a new format has been launched: a team is composed of three or four divers who have to perform an individual dive from 3 and 10m (men and women alike), and a synchro dive from both heights.

At the Europeans there are no prelims in the synchro and team events, only finals are held.

THE HISTORY

Long before diving was a competitive sport, people enjoyed jumping and leaping into water from bridges, rocks and cliffs. During the 1800s, “plunging” became popular. Competitions were held to see which diver could glide underwater the farthest after plunging head-first from various heights.

More than a hundred years later, diving has been developed to a unique sport that requires skill, grace, courage and strength. It is a combination of gymnastics and ballet performed over water.

Diving has become an Olympic sport quite early, in 1904 and also part of the programme from the very first edition of the European Championships in 1926.

THE BESTS IN EUROPE

Though the discipline is ruled by the Chinese, European divers usually cause some huge upsets from time to time. Perhaps the biggest one came at the Rio Olympics in 2016 when Britain’s Jack Laugher and Chris Mears won the 3m synchro event. Laugher is the biggest rival of the Chinese in the individual event as well, in the last World Champs in Gwangju he was in outstanding form and seemed to be a sure winner after five rounds but a failed final attempt cost him the title.

His compatriot Tom Daley is arguable the greatest star of the sport: the extravagant Brit made his first splash at the age of 14 by winning the platform title at the 2008 European Championships. A year later he added the world title to his treasury in Rome and ever since he hasn’t stopped thrilling the crowds – he has great memories from Budapest as he won another world title in 2017 here.

Besides the two Brits the Germans and the Russians are the biggest stars of the continental meets – like Patrick Hausding (GER) who holds all kind of amazing records at the Europeans (won 33 golds, and counting), while Ilya Zakharov (RUS) broke the Chinese hegemony in London 2012 in the 3m and five years later also upset the Asians in the 3m synchro in Budapest 2017 with his long-time partner Evgeniy Kuznetsov. Europe has also a new prodigy from Ukraine, 14 year-old Oleksii Sereda who, like Daley in 2008, clinched the European title at the summer diving showcase.

Europe’s female divers have been less successful at the recent majors though the sport’s great diva, Italy’s Tania Cagnotto plans a comeback which is great news for the sport.

THE DISCIPLINE IN HUNGARY

Diving has its century-old roots here as the first springboard championships were held in 1910 while platform divers had their inaugural meet in 1929. Hungarian divers got their best results at the Europeans where they medalled on numerous occasions. So far Laszlo Ujvari is the lone gold medallist in history, he won the 3m in 1958 in Budapest.

Lacking the necessary facilities for decades took its toll, still, in the new millennia Imre Lengyel, Nora Barta and recently Villo Kormos and Zsofia Reisinger managed to clinch silver and bronze medals at the various meets.

Currently, as the brand new Duna Arena features a state-of-the-art diving facility (including a world-class dryland area), the sport has a unique chance to rebuild itself in the years coming.

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Most successful nations at the LEN EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS in diving*

* Total medals won during the history of the LEN European Aquatics Championships (since the first edition held in 1926 in Budapest)

0
RUS
0
GER
0
UKR

* Total medals won during the history of the LEN European Aquatics Championships (since the first edition held in 1926 in Budapest)

0
RUS
0
GER
0
UKR