How Does Scoring Work In Diving?

​​How Does Scoring Work In Diving

Diving scores are based on how judges evaluate the dives. The aim is to score the highest number of points possible. Judges score each dive between zero to ten points and in half increments. 

Here is a points table for judging dives:

0 pointsCompletely Failed
0.5-2 pointsUnsatisfactory
2.5-4.5 pointsDeficient
5-6.5 pointsSatisfactory
7-8 pointsGood
8.5-9.5 pointsVery Good
10 pointsExcellent

Judging Dives

Usually, during individual diving events at the Olympics, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) appoints seven judges and one referee. Although the referee makes sure all rules and regulations are followed, they do not affect the score. The judges solely award scores based on the scale.

After the judges have compiled their scores for individual diving, the scoring will work as follows. Out of the seven judges, the highest two scores and the lowest two scores will be discarded. 

For example, if the scores are: 8, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, the scores of 8 and 7 will be discarded as they are the two highest. And the scores of 5 and 6 will be discarded as they are the two lowest. The sum of the remaining scores will be: 6 + 6 + 6 = 18. This total number will then be multiplied by the degree of difficulty. This number is already predetermined based on the specific diving act. The scale of the degree of difficulty ranges from 1.2 to 4.1. If the degree of difficulty was 2.0, the total score would be 18 x 2.0 = 36.0. This would be the final score for the dive performed.

Scoring Criteria

When scoring a dive, it is based on five different criteria. The different aspects of scoring criteria in diving are as follows:

  • Approach
  • Take-off
  • Elevation
  • Execution
  • Entry

Approach: The diver’s starting position, and they must be confident, relaxed, and standing straight up. The diver must have their arms straight forward, either over their head or to their side. The approach must be straight, smooth, and forceful before they get into the hurdle. 

Take-off: The diver’s lift from the board, and they must show balance and control. The landing of the dive must have a proper angle and leave a safety margin between the board and the diver. 

Elevation: The amount of lift or spring the diver gets from the take-off, as that impacts the impression of the dive. Typically, a higher dive showcases the smoothness of the movement and significant accuracy.

Execution: The actual dive itself. The judges will be watching for proper technique, form, performance, and grace. The dive should be a crisp performance with control and flair. 

Entry: The diver’s entry into the water. This is a crucial component as this is the last thing the judges will see. A successful diver will have minimal splashing of water and a graceful and vertical entry. Most entries are head-first, as feet-first is very uncommon.


What are the components of a dive?

The five components the judges use to evaluate a dive are based on approach, take-off, elevation, execution, and entry. The approach is the diver’s starting position, and they should be practicing good form. The take-off is the lift before the execution of the dive. The elevation is the amount of lift or spring the diver gets from their take-off. The execution is the dive itself and to see if the diver followed proper form, technique, performance, and grace. And lastly, the entry is an important part as it’s the last thing the judges will see and is the diver’s entry into the water.

What is the highest score in diving?

The highest score in diving will depend on the type of dive and the level of difficulty of the dive. There is no universally accepted “high score” for a dive. The level of difficulty is a predetermined number and must be multiplied by the total sum of the dive. When judges are evaluating the dive, they must judge without regard to the difficulty. The highest score ever received for a dive was awarded to Yang Jian at the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020, with the dive receiving 112.75 points. Yang’s score slightly edged out the previous record-holder, Matthew Mitcham of Australia, who scored a 112.10 at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. 

Why are some scores crossed out in diving?

The highest two scores and the lowest two scores are crossed out. These scores are discarded to help prevent any manipulation of scores from the judge’s side. This then allows a more objective point of view on the scores and can discard any outliers. For example, if the diving scores are as follows: 9, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 6. The two highest scores are 9 and 8, so they would be discarded, and 7 and 6 are the two lowest scores, so they would also be discarded. The sum of the remaining scores would be: 8 + 8 + 7 = 23.

What is a good score in diving?

In diving, a good score generally ranges between seven and eight points per judge. Generally, diving scores between five and 6.5 points are considered “satisfactory” dives, placing them about average in the rankings, but not high enough to be considered “good dives.” In professional diving, athletes will generally aim to score at least seven points on a typical dive, but they will often aim much higher than that if the dive is easier. For a simple dive, most athletes would prefer a very good score of 8.5-9.5 points, and many will look to achieve an excellent score of 10 points from each judge. For more difficult dives, an athlete may be satisfied by a solid score of seven to eight points per judge.