From Cannonballs to Three-Point Entries: The Way Swimmers Get in the Pool Says a Lot About Them

the girls jumping post-finals

From Cannonballs to Three-Point Entries: The Way Swimmers Get in the Pool Says a Lot About Them

By Annika Hobson, Swimming World College Intern

Hovering over the edge of the pool at 5 a.m., a swimmer faces one of his/her most difficult challenges: Mustering up enough courage to hop into the chilly water for morning practice. On the other hand, diving into a cool pool on a hot summer’s afternoon brings happiness prior to a hard workout. No matter the time of year, swimmers have many tactics for getting into the pool. From soaring through the air to hit the flags to the child-like cannonball to the mannerly three-point entry, how a swimmer enters the pool can reveal many things about them.

1. The Cannonball

SwimToday Cannonball

Photo Courtesy: USA Swimming

While a perfectly tight and secure cannonball certainly makes a big splash, it is not the most common form of entry into the pool for practice. Unless the swimmer is throwing it back to the many fun-filled summer afternoons by the pool as a kid, there will not be many cannonballs prior to starting warmup. When a swimmer does a cannonball, you know it’s because they thoroughly enjoy making a splash that looks like a volcanic eruption.

2. The Belly Flop

A painful, yet fun way to enter the pool, the belly flop is not for your average swimmer. Like the class clown, this swimmer likes attention and causing a commotion. Belly floppers choose this form of entry into the pool as a sign of their toughness, as slapping the water perfectly flat leaves defined red marks for at least the remainder of warmup. Overall, the belly flop gets a big reaction out of teammates which the belly flopper loves.


Photo Courtesy: Tyler Clary

3. The Pencil Jump

A classic form of entry, the pencil jump is not only an efficient way to get into the pool but also a fun way to do a bob off the bottom of the pool. The swimmer that opts for the pencil jump is very matter of fact and ready to hop right into practice.

4. The Dive

Subcategory 1: The swimmer that dives off the block from a starting position loves to race and will proceed to try to “win” warmup. This swimmer is determined to swim as fast as possible whenever the opportunity arises.

Subcategory 2: The swimmer that opts for the side of the pool deck is nonchalant in their entry, but serious about getting a good workout in. This swimmer loves to swim and is happy to get into the pool when their coach yells “on the top.”

Subcategory 3: The running dive is one of the fastest yet most dangerous ways to enter the pool. Therefore, only the most daring of swimmers complete this dive. This swimmer loves to go fast and wants to show off their agility.


Kyle Chalmers preparing for a relay takeoff at the 2019 FINA World Championships — Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

5. The “I’m Going to Touch the Flags”

Within the past few years, a newer method for pool entry has rampantly emerged… the “I bet I can touch the flags!” This form of entry has appendages flailing as the swimmer hurls himself/herself toward the flags to show off his/her jumping prowess. This entry can be a flop as the swimmer can dramatically or barely miss tapping the flags. When the swimmer does clip the flags, an uproar of excitement echoes off the pool, leaving the swimmer smiling ear to ear and ready for a speedy practice. This swimmer will then proceed to remind everyone of the day he/she touched the flags for the rest of the season.

6. The Penguin Dive

On my club team in the summer, when we were instructed to do a penguin dive into the deep end of the pool off the blocks, we knew practice would be fun. A penguin dive has the diver keeping his/her hands at the side or behind the back to practice launching up and off the blocks. A penguin dive leaves everyone giggling and excited for practice.

7. The Three-Point Entry

Across the world of swimming, swimmers are familiar with the three-point entry as it is used to regulate safe entries during outrageously crowded meet warmups. This entry involves sitting down and carefully sliding into the pool. The swimmer who uses this method of entry for practice is a rule follower who likes to practice like they are at a meet. This swimmer can remember the most complex of sets and never misses a send-off. The three-point entry swimmer is the person you should turn to if you have any questions about swimming regulations or technique.

From belly flops making the whole team laugh, to attempting to touch the infamous flags, entering the pool can be a time of bonding for a team through the creation of fond memories. Or the more simplistic techniques, such as the pencil jump or diving from the side of the deck, can just be an efficient way to get into the pool to start practice. What is your preferred method for getting into the pool?

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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