Why Do Swimmers Shower After Every Dive?

Why Do Swimmers Shower After Every Dive

Many people who watch Olympic diving often notice that as soon as a diver finishes a dive and gets out of the pool, they go to a special area and shower while still in their swimsuits. This makes many people wonder: why do they do this? Why would a diver need to shower when they’ve just gotten out of the pool? Aren’t they already wet? As it turns out, Olympic divers shower after every dive to relax their muscles and retain warmth, making injury, cramps, and poor performances less likely. Below, we will go into greater depth on why Olympic divers shower after each dive.

Why Do Olympic Divers Shower After Each Dive?

If you’ve ever wondered why divers shower after each dive, you’re not alone. This question was one of the most popular Google searches during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. It’s a great question, and the answer is fairly simple: showering after a dive keeps a diver’s body temperature warm and lessens their chance of injury. Olympic indoor pools are kept quite warm, at 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving the athlete feeling cold the moment they leave the warmth of the pool. More importantly, taking a hot shower or soaking in a hot tub after a dive keeps the competitors’ muscles loose and less prone to cramps and other injuries.

On top of the after-dive shower ritual, divers quickly dry themselves off with small towels. These extraordinarily absorbent towels have a special name, chamois (pronounced and sometimes written as “shammy”). This practice is also a matter of safety and an attempt to increase diving peak performance. Divers grip their legs after jumping off the board, requiring both their hands and their legs to be dry for the best and safest results.

What Can Happen If Divers Fail to Shower After Each Dive?

The primary risk associated with not showering after a dive is muscle cramping. Muscle cramps can make a diver vulnerable to injury, impede their diving performance, and are just plain painful. Taking showers between dives relaxes divers’ muscles and increases flexibility, two critical keys to a successful next dive.

Viewers of Olympic diving competitions may also notice tape on the athletes’ bodies. This is a flexible type of tape that divers, rugby players, and other athletes use to alleviate muscle soreness and pain. It was developed in the 1970s and is called Kinesio. Between showering, drying completely off between dives, and taping up any muscles giving them trouble, divers can make sure their performance is top-notch and greatly decrease the risk of injuries.

What Are Specific Injury Risks for Divers?

Though diving as a sport may seem fairly safe, the toll on Olympic athletes’ bodies is actually immense: so much so that some would even consider diving a contact sport, not physically unlike football or rugby. Olympic diving boards hover at over 32 feet above the pool (10 meters), leaving the margin for error quite small, as divers often reach speeds of 32 mph before coming in contact with the water.

Twisting parts of the body, such as ACLs, necks, and elbows, breaking bones, and even concussions, are not uncommon experiences for divers of Olympic caliber. In short, muscle cramps are often the least of a diver’s worries. However, all these opportunities for injury make being in the best physical shape and the most thermally comfortable you can be all the more critical for these athletes. Avoiding smaller issues like chills and muscle cramps is important in order that the likelihood of these bigger problems arising is smaller. No wonder Olympic divers want a hot shower after their performances.