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World record for diver who leapt 35 feet into 12 inches of water

Posted on 3:07 AM by Sameer Shah

He launches with the majesty of an eagle . . . and lands with an undignified splat.

But Darren Taylor isn't trying to dazzle the Olympic diving judges. His only priority is to stay alive.

His 'sport' is shallow diving, which involves leaping from ever-greater heights into a 10ft by 5ft paddling pool holding just 12 inches of water.

n the feat pictured here he broke his own world record by jumping from a breathtaking 35ft 4in.

A conventional dive, head first, would of course be lethal.











Watch the record-breaking dive here

The successful technique is a controlled bellyflop, with the body arched back and the chin lifted to maximise the surface area that smacks the water.


At this point physics takes over. The more water that is thrown out the pool, the more force is displaced and the more the body is cushioned.

There is also the added safeguard of a mattress under the pool to comply with Guinness World Records regulations.

Nevertheless, after a dive his legs and chest are black with bruises for a week.

Darren, 47, otherwise known as Professor Splash, from Denver, has been pushing back the limits of his nerve since 1983.

He describes the shallow dive as the 'mother of all bellyflops' and says his secret is 'never, ever look into the pool'. 'There's fear. But you mainly make sure you have a good flight plan,' he said.

He started diving aged four and by ten was entering serious competitions.

His first successful attempt to beat the world record with a 30ft jump in 2001 was disallowed by the Guinness records authorities because the pool was an inch deeper than permitted.

Two years later he beat the record set in 1979 by a Canadian doctor with a jump of 33ft and 10in. His aim is to achieve a 40ft dive.

He has never been injured in a shallow dive, but has broken his heels, ankles, teeth and jawbone in other high dives.

Professor Peter Main, of the Institute of Physics, said Mr Taylor would be hitting the water at speeds of around 30mph. 'The deceleration is going to be painful,' he said. 'But it is within the safe limits set by Nasa for astronauts.'

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