What Is A Bellyflop In Swimming?

What Is A Bellyflop In Swimming

All avid swimmers know of the bellyflop. It is a method of entering that water that inflicts a great deal of pain. It can be considered a type of dive, but it is so far from elegant that most swimmers choose to avoid calling it that. Read on to learn all about bellyflopping.

What Is a Bellyflop?

A bellyflop is a form of dive where the swimmer maneuvers their body parallel to the water’s surface, extends their arms and legs out parallel as well, and then lands on the water with the entire surface area of their body. Usually, this leaves a red mark on one’s face, arms, legs, and stomach.

Similar to the bellyflop, backflopping involves the same techniques but is done with the face pointed toward the sky rather than the water. Backflopping avoids direct water surface contact with the face and other sensitive areas. However, it is exceptionally good at knocking the air out of you. Additionally, many who choose to backflop do it with their arms and legs tucked in so that they hit the water like a board.

Is Bellyflopping Dangerous?

A bellyflop is not normally dangerous when done from a reasonably low height. Although it may still leave you with some stinging and bruising, it will not cause permanent or internal damage. However, if you do a bellyflop from the high dive, you run the risk of serious complications.

In professional diving competitions, the men’s high dive is 72-89 feet, and the women’s high dive is 59-75 feet. From just 33 feet, a diver can reach 40 miles per hour. Therefore, diving from such heights can cause severe damage. A bellyflop from above 60 feet can cause internal bleeding, severe bruising, and internal organ damage. In addition, bellyflopping can knock the air out of you and make it hard to breathe and swim, presenting a risk of drowning.

How to Avoid Bellyflopping

Bellyflopping is best avoided by undergoing diving training and practice. Professional divers work hard to maneuver themselves in the air and learn proper techniques for entering the water. By practicing much on lower dives, they avoid the risk of making serious errors on higher dives.

Additionally, many high divers practice aerial work on trampolines or gymnastic boards. This allows them to get the practice they need to perfect their diving routine without risking a major bellyflop. However, when high divers decide to practice on the diving board, they must not do so alone. It is important to have supervision or a lifeguard present if they hit the water incorrectly and get the air knocked out of them or go unconscious.