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Dive Like a Swan

NYU diving coach Scott Donie, who won silver in the ten-meter platform dive at the ’92 Olympics, explains how to hit the water with flair and precision.

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1. Take a few steps and, as you approach the end of the board, lift one knee up and push off the other leg, then land on two feet at the end of the board. When you land, your body should be perfectly vertical. The big mistake most people make is keeping their head down as they jump—if you do that, you’ll tumble forward and hit the water with your back, making an embarrassing cracking sound.




2. As you bounce off the board, keep your head up, and put your arms over your head. Your body will follow in a serene, elegant arc.








3. For flair, wait until you’re at the top of the dive, then reach down and nonchalantly touch your toes, which should be pointing straight down. Well done—you’ve just transitioned into a jackknife. Immediately open up and get back to vertical before you hit the water.








4. Clasp your hands together in a fist, and punch a hole through the water. Not only does it feel macho, it helps you slide through the water.








5. Once you’re underwater, pull your head in and somersault, so you don’t go down too deep. Don’t lift your head—known as “scooping”—you’ll go into an arch and shoot back up, which is dangerous for your back.







Illustrations by Kagan McLeod.


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