Why is water sprayed on Olympic swimming swimming pools? Clarification of the protection measures for diving occasions
Attentive observers of diving events at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics may have noticed a curious sight: water splashing on the surface of plunge pools.
It may seem harmless, but the water spray is a safety feature not only at Olympic diving events, but also at all international competitions, as prescribed by the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA). The organization that oversees competitions in six water sports – swimming, diving, high jumping, artificial swimming, water polo, and open water swimming – requires this for all diving events.
Why? Because it’s a surface agitator; It provides divers with a visual cue to help them visualize where the pool is in relation to their dive. Essentially, it helps them judge when to enter their rotation when diving into the water.
MORE: Olympic Swimming Results: Updated 2021 medalists for every event at the Tokyo Games
Below are the applicable (5.3.11) of the FINA facility rules:
“A mechanical surface movement must be installed under the diving systems in order to make it easier for divers to visually perceive the water surface. In pools that are equipped with an underwater whirlpool machine, the machine may only be used for this purpose if it generates sufficient water movement when working with very low pressure, otherwise only a horizontal water sprinkler system may be used.
When you consider that a horizontal sprinkler system is currently being used at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, it seems like an underground bubble machine is also being used in Tokyo to help prevent diver injuries.
Nor are these the only safety measures for divers. FINA has rules for everything from light sources and glare, depth of plunge pools, water temperature, and color of floor tiles (when a pool serves a dual purpose for swimming and diving, which Tokyo doesn’t).