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Empty Swimming Pool Dive

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Maintenance worker, to diver: Are you going to dive into the pool?
Diver: No, I'm going to dive into my martini glass over there.
Maintenance worker: (putting up "Pool Closed for Repairs" sign while diver dives) Good. At least that's not empty.
MAD: Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions

You know the gag. A person makes a masterful dive into a swimming pool, discovering too late that the pool doesn't have water in it. Amusing Injury ensues. It's fairly popular in comedy, and typically Played for Laughs, although more dramatic examples do exist.


A common subtrope of High-Dive Hijinks.


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  • This anti-drug public service announcement is a rare serious take on the trope.
    Before you go and do something you've never done before, you'd just better know ... what you're jumping into.

    Comic Books 
  • A more serious example in the Franco Belgian Comic Les 4 As: In one book, a mafia gang used that as a method of execution. By the end of the book, they're using "empty the pool" as a Deadly Euphemism.
  • Hefty in The Smurfs comic book story "The Smurf Menace" makes a masterful dive into an empty river bed. A few Smurfs also make empty swimming pool dives in "The Smurf Garden" when Gargamel designs it to drain all the water from the pool and trap the Smurfs in it.
  • In a Not Brand Echh splash page featuring Marvel's self-parody characters working at a carnival, the Sub-Moron is diving into a teacup, when someone tells him it's empty. "Never mind that, who left in the spoon?"

  • In the backstory of the Hulk Hogan film Mr Nanny, this happened to the Big Bad. While fighting Hulk's character, the villain accidentally ran off the roof of a building and landed head-first in the empty pool of the nextdoor hotel. It would have killed him, but his Funny Afro cushioned the fall. Nonetheless, he needed to have a metal plate put on afterwards.
  • In Scanners III: The Takeover, this is faciliated by the villainess through Psychic-Assisted Suicide, as she eliminates one of her rivals by forcing him to dive headfirst into an empty pool at his mansion.
  • The main character of Massacre At Central High tricks one of the bullies to do this by turning off the lights at the school swimming pool. The guy doesn't even bother to check if there's any water, he just goes for it.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child: When Yvonne does her swimming pool dives at night, Freddy attacks her by turning the swimming platform into a giant hand to crush her. She jumps off the platform to escape, but the pool morphs into an empty one in mid-jump.

  • This trope was the punchline of one Shel Silverstein poem.
  • This fatal conclusion from a CYOA book.
  • Clue: Discussed in book #11 (Death By Candlelight), chapter 9 ("In the Swim").
    Professor Plum: "Water is such a nuisance sometimes. I think someone should invent a waterless swimming pool."
    Mrs. White: "Given the way that his mind works at times, I think Plum once dived into a waterless pool!"

    Live-Action TV 
  • Featured in a hilariously done safety message skit in one episode of The Electric Company (1971). Jim Boyd (who portrays a swimmer) is about to head in to a swimming pool watched over by Luis Avalos (playing a lifeguard) who tries to run through the pool's safety rules on Jim, who brushes off the former as he already "complied" with most of the rules. Before Luis talks about the last one, Jim dives in, and the typical "crash" sound is heard (the camera stays focused on Luis' location so what happens to Jim is off camera). Then Jim clamors back up, feeling dazed, before Luis points out the final rule meant to prevent the trope from happening.
  • In the Angel episode, "The Trial", the entrance into a mystical gauntlet involves jumping off a diving board into an empty swimming pool and take a literal Leap of Faith.
    Angel: Well, [The Host] said I had to take the plunge.
    Darla: Into an empty pool?
    Angel:' Sure. 'cause if you had water, you'd get all wet and miss out on all that skull crushing.
    Angel: I'm either coming back with a cure - or you're about to see something kinda funny.

    Music Videos 

    Urban Legend 

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • In the animated version of The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, one of the lines from the Cat's song speculating about why the Grinch is so grinchy is "Did you dive in an empty swimming pool?"
  • The 3rd episode of The Flintstones (actually the first one produced) was titled "The Swimming Pool", where Fred and Barney build a pool in their adjoining backyards. This gag appears at least once.
  • Turns up in many a Tom and Jerry cartoon, e.g. "Salt Water Tabby".
  • Happens in the Classic Disney Short "How To Swim", when Goofy is demonstrating the high dive. He leaves a Goofy-shaped hole in the floor.
    • In another cartoon, "African Diary", Goofy goes swimming in a watering hole, just as a hippo is getting out, displacing all the water. Goofy dives into a now dry waterbed, but fails to notice and ends up bathing in dirt.
  • There was a Pink Panther cartoon short that consisted of a series of unrelated gag clips. In one, the Pink Panther climbs a diving board ladder and dives into a pool (with irrelevant results). Then he ascends the ladder again but continues on past the first board to a (much) higher dive platform. Between the time he jumps off the board and reaches ground level, the filled pool suddenly and inexplicably drains completely. Elapsed time: about 2 seconds.
  • Whenever a Looney Tunes or Tex Avery short features a pool with a diving board, you can bet this trope will appear in one form or another:
    • In the short "High Diving Hare", Bugs Bunny tricks Yosemite Sam into jumping off a high dive into a barrel of water, except there's no water in the barrel. Bugs dumps a bucket of water after Sam, and Sam tries to get the water to fall faster than he so it'll be there for him to land in. The water lands on the barrel in time... Sam misses the barrel entirely.
    • At the very end of 'Terrier Stricken', Claude cat is thrown into an empty swimming pool after being dragged through various obsticles in a house.
    • In "Bear Feat", Pa Bear performs a high diving act for the Mingling Bros. Circus. As he prepares to dive into a pail of water, his son Junyer eats from a box of salted crackers and drinks all the water from the pail. Cue Pa landing in the empty pail and Junyer telling Ma to call for a doctor.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In the short, "Home Wrecker" from the episode, "Stuff That Goes Bump in the Night", when Buster tricks Montana Max into thinking he's a ghost after Monty drops his summer house on top of him, Monty screams and launches himself in the air, hoping to land in his pool. He does, but not before Buster drains it of its water.
    • The short "The Re-Return of the Toxic Revenger" from the episode "Looking Out for the Little Guy" involved Montana Max stealing water from Plucky's pond for his own pool. Plucky makes such a dive when it first happens, and in the end inflicts an epic one on Max (by catapulting him into the stratosphere before draining all the water back).
    • In the short "Lifeguard Lunacy" from the episode "Pledge Week", Calamity Coyote is the junior lifeguard and is assigned to keep little children off the high dive. He suddenly sees that Li'l Sneezer has climbed to the top of the high dive (which is revealed to be in space), and is allergic to heights, so naturally, Sneezer sneezes and falls off the board. To make matters worse, Elmyra presses the button that unplugs the drain plug and drains the pool of its water. Calamity saves Sneezer by using an inner tube as a trampoline, but since it is taken away from him, Sneezer lands in the drain.
    • In "Son of the Wacko World of Sports", after Roderick Rat sabotages his high dive, Buster retaliates by dressing like Moses and parting the water in the pool when Roderick is doing his dive, resulting in Roderick eating linoleum.
  • Brainy makes a dive into an empty river bed in The Smurfs episode "The Patchwork Bear".
  • Garfield Specials: In Garfield in Paradise, Jon and the pets go to the pool at their motel, only to find there's no water. Then the diving board breaks when Jon's laying on it, causing him to fall into the empty pool.
  • Garfield and Friends: Jon shows the World Records representative his vacation slides to make more time, in which he mentions he took a dive in the empty pool of the resort. Then he was drowning in the empty pool. And then a lifeguard went to save him from the empty pool. And then the lifeguard realized the pool was empty.
  • At the end of the SpongeBob SquarePants short "The Endless Summer", SpongeBob dives into a swimming pool that was full when he dived, but due to the really hot weather caused by global warming, all of the water evaporates before he lands.
  • This happened with The Inspector during one of his safety lectures in an early 1970s bumper on The Pink Panther Show.
    Inspector: Deux Deux, where is the water?
    Deux Deux: Holy frijoles! Didn't you know I was cleaning the pool?


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