The discovery of the "Tomba Del Tuffatore" (The Tomb of the Diver) shows that the excitement and grace of diving from high places into water has lured people from at least 480 BC - the date established for the construction of the tomb. In 1840 in contact with the German gymnastics movement the world's first diving association was formed. Most of its members were gymnasts starting their tumbling routines as a kind of water gymnastic. Thus diving became very popular in Germany. It grew up out of the gymnastics principles developed in those nations. The first known book on diving was published in Germany in 1843. Competitive diving began in Britain in the 1880s. The beginning of competitive diving corresponded to the rise of swimming clubs and associations.
In Germany, the oldest club called "Neptun" started international diving contests from a lower board and from a tower in 1882. In 1891 the first diving rules were adopted and the following year the first tables were published in Germany. In the late 19th century a group of Swedish divers visited Great Britain and gave numerous exhibitions, which stimulated the formation of the first diving organisation, the Amateur Diving Association, in 1901. The first diving stage in England was erected at Highgate Ponds in 1893. In 1895 the Royal Life Saving Society staged the first National Graceful Diving Championship at Highgate Ponds; it involved standing and running plain dives from firm boards at heights of 4.6 metres and 10 metres, and was for men only.