Yesterday I performed my 10 meter platform jump as part of my swim qualifications here at the Naval Academy.
It sucked. I never want to do one again. However, as part of my penance for all the vulgarities I said on the way down, I promised the chaplain I would pass on the lessons I learned.
- Postition counts. A lot. If you hit the water in any direction other than vertical, it's going to hurt. You want to hit the water straight up and down. The best way to do this is to fall straight down. You might think I'm kidding. I'm not. If you hesitate for even a split second on the edge, your feet will stay and your torso will fall. This means you're already 30 to 45 degrees from the vertical before you've even left the platform. Belly flop anyone? Prevent the belly flop by taking a small hop up from the platform and imagining you're a plank of wood. Stand straight up and down and you'll fall straight up and down.
- Forget everything else on your body or trying to slow down... Unless you're naked or extremely well endowed males, you don't need to worry about cupping your groin. In fact,let's consider a jump from 10 meters (32.5 feet). You're going to hit the water at about 40 to 46 miles per hour. Then you're going to stop in a distance of about 8 to 10 feet. If you're cupping your groin, it will feel like someone punched you there, with their fists travelling at 40 miles per hour because your hands will impart the entire deacceleration to your nether regions. Still worried about the family jewels? Put your feet straight together and keep 'em together. Meanwhile, cross and tuck your arms. You don't want them out and flailing when you hit. Ladies, that's very important, because unlike the guys with their legs, you don't have anything to protect your breasts. Your swimsuit or bra isn't going to cut it. Your crossed arms will prevent a very uncomfortable impact directly to your breasts and possible disrobing. Finally, don't look around. Don't move your head. Look straight forward. I made this mistake today and busted my lips and gums open. I'm lucky I didn't I didn't break my jaw. Bite down so you don't chomp your tongue off. You have now assumed crash position. You don't need to do anything else. In fact, anything else is just going to make it hurt even more. Trust me- you're going to find the pool. Once you hop, it's automatic.
- Now that you've hit the water... You're going to descend about 8 to 10 feet, no matter how much arm waving and kicking you do once you hit the water. The worst part is that the arm waving and kicking instinctively begins before you hit the water if you even think about it. The best thing to do is just go along for the ride. Close your eyes before you hit the water. Wait until the ride comes to a full and complete stop. Follow the bubbles upward. It is possible that you've become disoriented from the impact.
Congrats! You just survived your death defying jump! One last piece of advice: if you had to jump, chances are there is someone following you for the same reasons. You'd be prudent to clear the jump area by swimming out as fast as possible.
Remember kiddies: be safe. The number one rule of safe jumping is to not jump in the first place.
My extremely red and sore face.
My numb bum.
My passing mark in swimming course! Yay!