Myths and Facts of Diving
Myth 1. Everyone knows that they can break their neck and
suffer spinal cord injury from diving into shallow water.
Fact 1. Very few people know that they can in fact break
their neck and/or suffer spinal cord injury from diving into water five feet or less. Many
people know they can hit the bottom and, in fact, have done so, but most of them have
never suffered injury and, in fact, many of them will not believe that they can suffer
such an injury.
Myth 2. Everyone knows what "shallow water" diving
Fact 2. Our nation's 100 million average recreational
swimmers do not know what "shallow" water is. Interviews with hundreds of these
average recreational swimmers by aquatic experts over the past five years indicate that
"shallow" water can mean anything from 18 inches to four feet. Very few
recreational swimmers consider a depth of five feet shallow water.
Myth 3. I know how to dive. I've been doing this since I was
eight years old and I've never been injured.
Fact 3. The more than 100 million average recreational
swimmers in our country are taught how to dive at an early ages, such as 7, 8 or 9. The
majority of them are taught in shallow water, 3 to 4 feet or less. Few, if any of them are
taught that once they become teenagers, it is unsafe to dive into such depths of water.
Young swimmers in our country should be taught to dive into the minimum depth of 5 feet
from the earliest age. The danger should be reinforced in their minds throughout their
Myth 4. I've seen dozens of my friends dive into three feet
of water and they don't get hurt, therefore, I can do it. I can dive by their
Fact 4. The fact is that fortunately the vast majority of
people that do dive into shallow water do not get injured, although many of them do hit
their head on the bottom. The myth is that because many of them are lucky, that it won't
happen to "me". Unfortunately, it does happen to over 1,000 people each year,
probably all of whom had previously seen people dive into shallow water .
Myth 5. Diving is simple. Everyone knows how to do it.
Fact 5. Diving is not simple. There are very complex laws of
physics which are totally unknown and not understood by the average recreational swimmer.
The fact is that once your body leaves the deck or diving area, your body is completely
out of control and that for an average recreational swimmer there's nothing you can do to
change your trajectory or entry speed at that point.
Myth 6. The ideal dive is a nice "clean" dive,
causing no splash or ripple.
Fact 6. This is not the "ideal" dive for the
untrained or unsupervised average recreational swimmer. Again, we have the myth of
"diving by example". In the Olympics and other competitive events, we see
"clean" dives, but these are done by trained, skilled and supervised divers, not
average recreational divers.
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