Saturday, June 12, 2004

Cannonballs make a big splash

By Dustin J. Seibert / The Cincinnati Enquirer

Sometimes the biggest person doesn't make the biggest splash.

The "cannonball," a time-honored technique first defined in Cummings Dictionary of Sport in 1949, is performed by crashing into a swimming pool while curled into a ball, and usually produces the most impact when executed by someone with some girth. But little Ricky Baskin, weighing no more than 70 pounds in soaking wet gray trunks, had the most impressive one at Dempsey Pool in Price Hill.
Tyrell Gill
Tyrell Gill 11, of Price Hill, does his best cannonball for The Cincinnati Enquirer at Dempsey Pool in Price Hill Monday June 7, 2004. Click here to view a photo gallery.
(Brandi Stafford/
The Cincinnati Enquirer)

Baskin, 10, of Price Hill, has splashed around in the pool for three years, which is why both his peers and the lifeguards are familiar with his aquatic talent.

"We come out here everyday because he's a big 'swimmerhead,' " says his cousin Tyrell Gill, 11, of Price Hill. Tyrell says the best cannonballs happen when "you jump as high as you can."

Cannonballs and other forward-jumping moves are legal at Dempsey and all other 41 pools in the Cincinnati Recreational Division, but they are most effective from the diving boards, which are only at the division's 27 deep-water pools.

A simple cannonball is nothing new, but follow these steps to be like Baskin and maximize the splash power:

• Swimmin' holes: Guide to pools, beaches, waterparks and more

Get a running start: A quick boost from the beginning of the diving board will make a bigger splash than a jump from a standstill. "You want as much momentum as possible," says Dr. Richard Gass, director of the Physics Learning Center at University of Cincinnati. Be careful though, most lifeguards will blow the whistle if you run in the pool area.

Hop to it: It's simple physics: The higher you are, the more gravity will take over coming down. Gass says that mass matters when trying to splash, but a high jump can compensate for lack of weight.

Lean forward when curling up: Hit the water using your legs and arms to break the water. "The more surface area, the bigger the splash," says Gass. Whatever you do though, avoid crashing stomach-first or your splash will come at the price of a sore belly.

If it gets boring, try new things: Baskin recommends the "can opener," a cannonball with one leg extended, which makes a splash and takes you deeper in the pool. Be mindful that moves like the "grinder," an often-prohibited back flip that Baskin also fancies, might get you ejected from the pool.

Cannonballs make a big splash
• Guide to pools, beaches, waterparks and more
• Photo gallery: Photo gallery: Kids doing cannonballs

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