Frequently Asked Questions
Before you join
What is Cornerstone Diving Club (CDC)?
CDC provides world-class coaching in the sport of springboard diving and to a lesser degree in the fundamentals of platform diving. Our mission is to create athletes with the skills and passion necessary to advance to national-level Junior Olympic events and Division 1 college readiness on the one-meter and three-meter levels. We also provide lesson programs for beginners. Like a year-round gymnastics training facility, our advanced divers train throughout the year. Training consists of conditioning, dryland safety-belt spotting using a trampoline, and in-pool workouts on the one and three-meter boards.
We operate year-round at Cornerstone Aquatics Center and have different session schedules on a seasonal basis:
Spring Season: April 1 – June 19
Summer Season: June 20 – August 15
Winter Season: September 15 – March 31
Goals of Cornerstone Diving Club
Produce Olympic-caliber divers
World-class training equipment
Achieve College Scholarships for Members
Top CT USA Diving Club
Produce Junior Olympic Champions
Become an Affiliate 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
What are the best traits to have to be a good diver?
Diving competitors possess many of the same characteristics as gymnasts and dancers, including flexibilities, overall strength, height, vertical jump, and hyper-extension capabilities of shoulders, elbows, knees, toe point, and a kinaesthetic awareness (as in a cat always being able to land on its feet). Many world-class divers were originally gymnasts or dancers as both sports have similar characteristics to diving. Additionally, coachability is defined as the ability to listen carefully and have the fearlessness to be able to try new things and have fun experimenting with new dives.
What is a good age to start diving?
Age is not as important as readiness. Readiness includes confidence swimming in deep water, enjoyment in jumping off diving boards, and unafraid to try new things. Gymnastics or dance can be excellent prerequisites to diving. We’ve coached children as young as six years old and have had much success coaching ex-gymnasts as old as 15. Ages eight to ten are ideal. In USA Diving competitions, the youngest age group is the 11 and under category.
What are Cornerstone Diving Club’s Program Levels?
We cater to the diving skill sets of each diver and provide teaching at three levels: the beginner level, the novice level, and the advanced level. There is no specific qualification or age that demands one level over another. The coach will make an assessment but suffice it to say that divers typically know where they are in comparison to other levels.
Our advanced level is the JO Team: these are divers at any age ready to compete at the regional, zone, or national level. The novice level is called the Pre – JO Team. These divers may be ready to compete in high school or at invitational diving meets and are working hard to develop their skills to an advanced level. Beginners who are testing their interest in diving or simply enjoy diving understand they have a lot to learn and belong with other beginners.
Beginner Lesson Program
Depending on available pool time, we offer beginner lessons. These will typically be available in our Summer Season when pool time is at its greatest. (June – August)
The Pre – JO Team are divers with a more novice skill set. They are eligible to compete at local USA Diving and AAU meets if they have the required dives that can be performed safely.
The JO Team is comprised of divers who are ready to compete at the USA Diving Regional Championships with a chance to qualify to go to Zones and to the Junior National Championships. The JO Team requires an annual membership and a strong desire to maximize performance in the sport of diving. Most JO Team members are pursuing a college scholarship with a Division 1 school in a strong diving conference.
JO Team members can fall into any one of the following age-group categories:
11 and under
12 – 13
14 – 15
16 – 18
Cornerstone Diving Club Registration
I want to join Cornerstone Diving; how do I register?
To sign up, please complete and submit the following documents. These forms can be found on this website. Please bring the completed forms to the first practice you attend.
Release of Liability Form
Covid-19 Safety Plan Agreement
Travel Release Form (only when travel is involved)
All divers must be registered with United States Diving and the AAU and provide the registration and waiver form before being allowed on to the equipment or in the water.
Why do divers need to register at United States Diving and AAU?
Every participant must have a current United States Diving and AAU Membership number on file. This is the only way we can provide insurance coverage for the athletes. Both AAU and USD offer significant insurance to individual divers and diving clubs both during practice and meet situations throughout the country.
Please register your diver at United States Diving Membership page as an “Athlete Member” if your diver is not yet competing in USA Diving Regionals. Please register as a “Competition Athlete” if he/she is competing at Regionals and beyond. Please save your membership number and add it to the Cornerstone Diving Club’s Registration Form.
Please register your diver as an AAU member on the AAU Membership page. Our Club Code is W3YB5T. Please save your membership number and add it to the Cornerstone Diving Club’s Registration Form.
How are your monthly membership fees structured?
No one in the field of coaching diving is in it for the money. It is a passion. Fees are determined by the pool rental fees and a reasonable hourly rate for the head coach and any assistant coaches. This is then divided by an average number of divers that can achieve a minimum number of dives in each hour of practice. As we grow from our current two diving boards to four and ultimately six, the vision is to have more divers and more highly qualified coaches.
Current fees for each program are not posted here due to seasonal fluctuations. Please call Coach Scott to discuss the right program for your diver and the current pricing. Scott can be reached at 203-952-6442 or email@example.com.
There are two payment options available: online payments via Venmo (username ScottePie) or check. If paying by check, please make all checks payable to Cornerstone Diving Club. All payments are due on the first Monday of every month. A one-week grace period will be given to all families; however, a late fee will be assessed if necessary upon the following schedule:
1 - 10 Days $15
11 - 20 Days $30
21 - 30 Days $60
31+ Days $90 (Possible dismissal from the team)
Please note. If members ever find themselves in a special financial situation that requires some assistance, please reach out to Scott to discuss your situation and a possible temporary solution.
How do I get info on schedule changes, event announcements, program updates, and news?
Once you are registered, you will be invited, via email, to use our CDC Slack account. Our Slack account has many “Channels” of information and messaging to help parents and divers stay informed. Channels include #diver-education, #college-bound, #gallery, #inspiration, #meets, #slot-swap, #usadiving-news, and more. New to Slack? Here's a training video.
Practices & Scheduling
Can we make up missed classes?
Since all programs run on a frequency schedule, any missed classes during the month will not be carried over into the next month. If you miss a workout that you would like to make up, please post that desire using our Slack Channel #Slot-Swap to find an available time or swapping partner.
The weather outside is frightful... Is practice canceled?
If a practice is canceled or changed in any way, you will be notified via text, email, and/or Slack. If the facility is closed, we cannot hold practice; but if schools are closed, do not assume that practice is canceled. We make our decision by noon for each day.
It's a holiday. Is practice canceled?
We cancel practice for holidays observed by the public school system including New Year’s Eve & Day, Martin Luther King Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and the period between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Be sure to always check our Slack #practice calendar for cancelations and practice updates.
Can I join Cornerstone Diving Club in the middle of a month?
Yes. Please contact Coach Scott to receive a prorated first-month rate.
Does Cornerstone Diving offer a Trial Class?
Yes. New divers interested in membership may have one or two days to determine it is something they want to do, no charge. Please contact Coach Scott to schedule a date and time. Please call Scott at 203-952-6442.
What type of team outfitting is available?
Currently, we have logoed swimsuits available. Soon we will have additional outfitting such as backpacks, team sweats, t-shirts, winter jackets, and shorts. Divers attending meets are required to wear team outfitting on the pool deck and award stand. We will announce the availability of additional outfitting as it becomes available.
What should I bring to practice?
Bring a swimsuit, a dry towel or “Sammy”, and hair ties if you have long hair. A swimsuit for girls can be found at any local sporting goods store; please be sure to buy/use a one-piece swimsuit. For boys, a speedo brief is highly recommended. Goggles are not allowed during diving practice unless required by an ophthalmologist.
Coaching at Cornerstone Diving Club
What are your teaching techniques?
The best diving coaches of children follow something called progressions. Progressions are the many baby steps done in a proper order that lead to perfecting a skill and are at the heart of our curriculum. What we see at a diving meet is the result of many skills that are worked on separately such as the hurdle, the take-off, pointed toes in a tuck or pike position, etc. Each diver is always at a skill level of dozens of critical skills that a good coach must recognize.
What are the benefits of learning dives in the safety spotting belt?
Spotting belts can shorten the learning curve of all dives in a safe and pleasant manner when the ropes are in the hands of a well-trained and experienced coach. Individual parts of each dive can be simulated in the belt allowing the diver to specifically focus on that part without the knowledge that the water is quickly approaching. This is a critical aspect because “perfect practice” can be achieved much sooner in the belt than on the diving board. The belt also has quantitative benefits. Multiple repetitions of this “perfect practice” can be done in a very short period of time which adds to the reduction of the learning curve. Lastly, once the confidence in a particular dive or piece of a dive is acquired in the belt, performing it the very first time on the diving board has an extremely high chance of injury-free success. Throughout the world, there is a very high correlation between safe diving success and time in the belt with a qualified coach.
My child fears a dive and does not want to go to practice. What do I do?
Fear in diving can be real, but this is most likely a reflection on poor coaching than anything else. No diver should ever be requested to perform a new dive without adequate “progressions” in the belt, and on the board, that lead up to a high level of confidence in performing the dive for the first time. Accidents do happen but can be quickly remedied by more belt work and set-ups using the progression checklist. No Cornerstone diver is ever demanded to do a difficult new dive before performing it correctly many times in the comfort of the safety belt. As I have experienced, this process is not dissimilar from the novice pilot taking his/her first solo flight. Both the coach and the student know when it is time. Keeping the lines of communication open is a key to a healthy coach-diver relationship.
Will my child have to dive from the 3-meter?
Unless your child has a documented medical condition that prohibits diving from the 3-meter, selected team members are expected to learn competitive lists on 3-meter. We will, however, take each diver at his or her own pace. We will not allow divers to perform a skill if they do not consistently demonstrate safe set-ups and techniques on the one-meter or in the belt.
In the beginner program, my child is doing many front jumps, back jumps, and fall-in dives – Why is that?
These are all “progressions.” To safely enjoy the sport of diving, certain fundamental skills must be taught to beginning divers. Even as these divers improve and excel, they continue to revisit and refine these basic skills. Jumps and basic entries are critical to learning more complex skills and every diver must demonstrate competency in this area before they can move on to more advanced skills. These jumps, entries, and line-ups are foundational prerequisites to becoming a good diver.
Progress Reports – how does a diver know that progress is being made?
Divers should be familiar with Cornerstone Diving’s Skill Checklist as a guideline of the dives and skills that are taught at Cornerstone Diving Club. Appropriate goals should be discussed with Coach Scott to determine the importance and readiness for each dive or skill. Periodic Progress Reports will be submitted to parents on an annual basis or at the parent’s request.
Can parents be on the pool deck?
During normal, non-Covid times, parents are allowed on the pool deck during practice; however, it is especially important to observe only and leave the coaching of the athletes to the coaches. Interfering with your athlete’s practice session can result in being asked to leave by the coaching staff.
What can parents do if they would like to volunteer?
Once we have a three-meter board at Cornerstone, we may be hosting meets during any given non-Covid year. Hosting a meet is a large undertaking and requires the coordinated efforts of all Cornerstone Diving families. All Parents will be invited to donate a few hours each day of the meet. If you will not be in town, you can sign up for a job that can be done before the meet.
What are your Codes of Conduct?
Below you will find current best practices we expect from coaches, parents, & athletes.
Coaches Codes of Conduct
Maintain club membership in USA Diving and AAU Diving to ensure safety and insurance coverage.
Adhere to all Covid-19 requirements.
Adhere to all diving training certifications including United State’s Diving’s Dive Safety Training, Safe Sport Training, Concussion Training, Red Cross/CPR Training, and Mandated Reporter Training.
Design and implement a diving program for conditioning, correct diving techniques, and a perfect practice strategy via progressions and mental preparation for each athlete.
Maintain professional membership and certifications and stay informed of new developments and advances in the sport.
Assure compliance with all applicable rules, including USA Diving, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), NCAA, and relevant high school associations.
Head Coach will serve as primary contact for team parents.
Support athletes on all levels towards their individual goals and achievements.
Aid athletes who are interested in diving at the collegiate level; include mentorship, contacting collegiate coaches, and aiding athletes with recruiting materials.
Athletes Codes of Conduct
Manage your time to ensure all school assignments are completed. Academics are more important than diving!
Review performance level requirements and set goals on your personal skills checklist.
Maintain a regular schedule of attendance for practice.
Arrive promptly, and timely, for practices, meets, and away meet departures. Remember the adage – if you are early, you are on time, if you are on time, you are late, and if you are late, you are fired!
Treat every member of our team – coaches, athletes, parents, administrators – with kindness and respect.
At meets, athletes will treat officials, parents, coaches, and athletes of other teams with the same level of kindness and respect.
Always perform the required warm-up and conditioning exercises posted.
Work cooperatively and respectfully with coaches and teammates.
Live as the athlete you are. Refrain from all drug and alcohol use.
Help gather and return any equipment before leaving the pool deck at practices and meets.
Inform coaches about any pain, soreness, illness, or injuries you may have.
Practice good sportsmanship by reacting to teammate’s disappointments and keeping in mind disappointed athletes when celebrating your success.
Always try to be coachable. Try new things! Have fun experimenting! Overcorrect on the hard fixes. This will improve your diving.
Adhere to all Covid-19 requirements.
Parents Codes of Conduct (this may go without saying...)
At Cornerstone Diving, parents play a vital role: motivating their athlete(s), providing numerous volunteer services, and lending a helping hand whenever needed. The coaching staff appreciates all support from parent volunteers.
Practice teamwork with all parents, athletes, and coaches by supporting all athletes on the team.
Be real but err on the side of positive and enthusiastic with your diver. Try refraining from comments that show any doubt.
Honor the game. Demonstrate good sportsmanship by behaving in a manner that earns the respect of athletes, parents, officials, and coaches at meets and practices.
Direct questions or concerns regarding decisions made by meet officials to a member of the coaching staff.
Encourage athletes to participate by focusing on their accomplishments, no matter how small.
Ensure timely pickup and departure of your athlete(s).
What are the different types of diving meets?
There are two types of diving meets that are sanctioned by United States Diving, Inc. and the AAU - Invitational Meets and Qualifying Meets:
Invitational Meets are usually local meets hosted by other diving clubs at their pool. A Greenwich YMCA Marlins Diving Team meet would be an example. These meets are typically held anytime between December and August.
USA Diving Qualifying meets are Regional Championships, Zone Championships, and Junior National Championships.
Cornerstone Diving Club competes in Region #1 and Zone A.
When are the USA Diving Meets?
2021 Dates & Locations:
Region #1 Championship Meet – May 28 – 30, 2021, Rochester, NY
Zone #1 Championship Meet - July 1-3, 2021, Greensboro, NC
Junior National Championships - July 28 – August 3, 2021, Indianapolis, IN
How do divers qualify to go to Zone Championships?
At the Regional events, divers qualify for Zones in one of two ways. The top 10 divers in each springboard event who are not prequalified automatically qualify for Zones. Then, following the conclusion of all 12 region meets, a 2nd method is used to determine additional qualifiers.
How do divers advance to Junior Nationals at the Zone Meet?
In the junior events, divers who place in the top three at zones will qualify directly to the semifinals for that event at the national championships. Divers who place 4-8 on the platform and 4-10 on the springboard in the junior events at zones will qualify for the preliminaries in that event at nationals.
What are the Age-Groups for Competition?
Girls & Boys ages 11 and under
Girls & Boys ages 12-13
Girls & Boys ages 14-15
Girls & Boys ages 16-18
What are the events all Age-Groups may compete in?
One Meter Springboard
Platform (5-, 7.5-, or 10-Meter heights)
To see the required dives necessary for competition in each age group, please refer to USADiving101/Competing.
How much travel will we do?
No diver will be expected to perform in a meet unless she/he has a “list” of dives that can be performed with a positive outcome. Typically, travel meets occur in the months of December through August. While summers can be intense when you reach higher levels, the amount of meets we go to depends on how far athletes’ progress. We will go to as many meets as the team’s schedule and athletes allow.
Are divers required to go to every meet?
We encourage divers to get as much competitive experience as possible when invited to do so. These meets offer a great opportunity for athletes to practice their competitive mindset as well as enhance their reputation and make new friends.
What is DiveMeets? When should I register?
DiveMeets is the place to register for meets listed on the DiveMeets calendar. DiveMeets is also a website for divers and teams that records our diver’s progress and meet results that can be viewed by potential college coaches. Each diver’s meet history is kept chronologically from as young as a 10 and Under competitor. Once registered as a diver on DiveMeets.com, diver results are automatically added to the diver’s profile. Please register on DiveMeets once you begin to attend meets with Cornerstone Diving Club, even local invitational meets.
How do I register for Divemeets.com?
Go to www.divemeets.com. Hover over login on the top right corner and click “Get a DiveMeets ID.” Complete the registration questions and check USA Diving and AAU as your organizational memberships. Select Coach Scott Pierson. For USA Diving enter our USA Diving ID 31170. For AAU, Enter our Club Code W3YB5T and your Athlete Code. Review your information and click continue to end the registration. Please make a record of your DiveMeets Login ID and password and store it safely.
Your registration will allow you to see upcoming USA Diving and AAU meets, allow you to register for them, and will show meets in which you are currently signed up.
High School Teams
Should my child dive for his/her high school?
I would not recommend it for a pure non-athlete beginner. Unless the student has had many years of gymnastics or dance, diving can be a difficult sport to pull off in a 12- week high school season. Diving is on par with pole-vaulting. It is a sport that takes years, not weeks, to achieve a competitive level and pride of achievement. In the typical 12-week season of high school sports, diving as a beginner can be dangerous. For example, it takes years of diving to master the kinaesthetic awareness necessary to know how to maintain a safe distance from the diving board. There are much safer high school sports for beginning athletes to enjoy.
If my child dives for their high school team, can they still practice with Cornerstone Diving?
Yes. In normal times, high school diving can be a wonderful experience especially if your diver has been diving with CDC on an annual basis. It is not uncommon for many of our divers to hold high school/pool records and All-Star rankings. Coach Scott currently coaches diving for three high schools. He knows that diver’s practice sessions at the high school can interfere with our CDC practice times and offers a High School Absentee Credit for our members. Most high school divers manage to come to CDC once or twice on weekdays and once or twice on the weekends.
Other Facts About Diving
What are dives scored on?
The main parts of each dive that influence a judge’s score are the approach, the take-off, the height and execution of the dive, the distance from the board, the form* of the diver, and the entry into the water.
*Form is a combination of overall tidiness and beauty of the dive such as pointed toes, legs staying together, hyperextended knees and shoulders, the elimination of unnecessary angles such as bent knees, elbows, or fingers, and the elimination of unnecessary movement – some dives should include a pose, a perfect stillness for the eye to enjoy. Other things include straight lines like not having an arched back, the cadence or tempo of a dive, and the tightness and angle of the entry. The ultimate entry is called a rip entry and has a certain sound to it like a quick blast of air.
How does a diving meet work?
Divers compete against each other in diving “events.” An example of an event is the Boy’s 12-13 One Meter Event, a seven-dive event comprised of three voluntary dives and four optional dives. Points are earned by adding the three judges' scores on each dive (in some cases five or seven judges) and multiplying those scores by the Degree of Difficulty (DD) of the dive performed. A hypothetical example of one dive’s score: Let’s say Tom performed a 104C – a forward 2 somersaults in the tuck position with a degree of difficulty 2.0. He received 8, 7, 8.5 equaling 23.5 times 2.0 DD = 47 points for that dive. The points of each of Tom’s dives are tallied to create a final score. The diver with the highest final score wins that event.
Depending on the kind of meet, divers may be required to perform between six and eleven dives. The dives completed in a meet are referred to as each diver’s “List” on a particular board or platform. Beginner divers can dive in meets now. Jumps and Line-ups have been added to the diving Degree of Difficulty table. Information about upcoming meets will be provided well ahead of the starting date. If you have additional questions about how meets are managed, please talk with Coach Scott.
There are six groups of dives. The first four are classified by the direction the diver rotates.
Forward group: The diver faces the front of the board and rotates toward the water. Dives in this group vary from simple front dives to difficult forward, four- and one-half somersaults.
Backward group: Dives in the backward group begin with the diver on the end of the board, with his or her back to the water, so as to rotate away from the board.
Reverse group: Formerly called “gainers,” these dives begin with the diver facing the front of the board but then rotates back toward the board.
Inward group: The diver stands on the end of the board with his or her back to the water and rotates forward toward the board.
Twisting group: Any dive that uses a twist (excluding arm stands) is included in this group. There are four types of twists: forward, backward, reverse, and inward.
Armstand group: The diver assumes a handstand position (facing forward or backward) on the edge of the platform before the dive. Armstand positions are not used on the springboard in competition.
I have a question. Whom do I contact?
If you have not found the answer here, please contact Coach Scott at 203-952-6442.