TOKYO, Japan — Alison Gibson and Krysta Palmer made the U.S. Olympic Diving Team's 2020 Tokyo Olympic debut in the women’s 3-meter synchronized springboard event over the weekend.
Many fans noticed sprinklers watering the top of the pool during the diving competition. The action has left some people puzzled.
So why are there sprinklers spraying the top of the pool during Olympic diving events?
FINA is the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competitions in water sports. The organization says it's to help divers spot the surface of the pool.
According to a FINA facility rulebook for 2017 to 2021, organizations install "mechanical surface agitation" under diving facilities to aid divers in their visual perception of the water.
It's difficult for divers to see the surface of the pool when they're launching themselves from a distant height, so more water is sprinkled on to the pool's surface for competitors' depth perception.
Divers can better determine when to enter the water during rotations when sprinkles break the pool's water tension, and stops the surface from being still.
The rulebook states that this isn't the only way facilities can agitate the water for divers. The rule continues to state that some pools can use an underwater bubble machine instead if it creates "sufficient water agitation." If not, pools are required to use a "horizontal sprinkler system."
FINA says this safety feature is required for all international diving competitions, and it's not just reserved for Olympic events.