|Olympians Troy Dumais and Kristian Ipsen visit the USA House
at the Royal College of Art on Aug. 3, 2012 in London, England.
Troy Dumais has made a choice, opting to bypass conventional assumptions about his diving life.
He’s 33, won bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the 3-meter synchro diving event with Kristian Ipsen and works hard as a tutor/instructor at the University of Texas.
The world says it would be logical for the four-time U.S. Olympian to retire from competitive diving and start the next phase of his life.
But Dumais is not ready. Even though his world-class competitive diving life is becoming more challenging because of his job, scheduling and personal life, his desire to be the best still burns brightly.
He’s hoping to reach the FINA World Championships July 19-Aug. 4 in Barcelona, needing a top-two placement in this weekend’s USA Diving World Team Trials in Tallahassee, Fla.
“Every athlete will tell you that you always have to have goals, and the goals push you to do what you need to do,” Dumais said. “I will know when it is time to be done and move on with life. If I left diving now, I’d have regrets. And you can’t live with regrets. I won’t do it. I want to be in worlds again.”
Dumais, a three-time USA Diving Athlete of the Year, is still among the world’s best in the 3-meter event. He recently took silver at the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., by executing his two best dives of the day in the final rounds.
His ability to still compete at diving’s highest levels is not a surprise, given Dumais’ stellar résumé. He’s been a champion since his youngest days, winning junior world championships and still holding the record for most U.S. junior titles (19).
He moved on to lead the University of Texas, taking multiple NCAA titles on the 1- and 3-meter events and silvers on platform. Dumais transitioned into international competition, again finding success at 3-meter and synchro.
Balancing training time, competing, teaching and having a personal life has been a challenge this year, thanks to his heavy travel schedule the past three months. He’s crisscrossed the planet, competing in Beijing, Dubai, Edinburgh and now Florida.
Dumais admits he’s tired, but still feels mentally and physically strong enough to show well in Tallahassee. He’s never won a gold medal at the World Championships, taking four silvers and one bronze.
Taking his diving to a higher level remains his dream, even as it becomes more challenging with the passage of time. He’s competing against top divers who were in grade school when he was making his first Olympic appearance in 2000 in Sydney.
His 26-year-old brother and fellow Longhorn alum, Dwight, is also competing against him, but Troy sees that as an asset to have family around. The two share the experience and help each other when possible.
But as Troy Dumais is quick to remind, age is only a classification, not the definition on how he dives.
|Troy Dumais competes in the men's 3m springboard semifinal during
the 2013 FINA Diving World Series 2013 at the Royal Commonwealth
Pool on April 20, 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“I can always sit behind a desk, coach, there will be time for that later — why would I rush into that now when I still am competing well?” Dumais asked. “I need to finish this with what I have, while I’m still in shape and want it. I’m still pushing myself, even though I am older.
“But I admit, with getting older, responsibilities of life start pushing back. Work, bills, they all take time away from training. Your mind starts playing tricks on you: you have to make a plan for every day on how you’re going to dive and train. You just can’t go out there and wing it like, maybe, you used to. Everything you do has to be with purpose and for making yourself better within where your body is.”
Dumais works at the University of Texas when he’s not traveling or training, serving as a tutor for the football team and teaching math and computer science classes. His teaching career is enjoyable, giving him another outlet besides diving. He said the university and football team have been supportive of his diving, allowing him to take the time away without issue.
Dumais proctored a test a few days before he left for Tallahassee, all the while his mind was racing to figure out when he was going to get a few hours of training in before the day slipped by. He admitted he’s not getting in ideal amounts of training or rest, but still believes in his ability to dive well.
“I’m just going to go and do what the years of training have ingrained in me — just dive and do my best,” Dumais said. “The goal is to be comfortable, confident, trust myself, and let my diving do the talking — good, bad or indifferent. I’m not going to let frustration, being tired, anything, show or get into my diving. I’m going to just do what I am capable of and that will be my best.
“It all comes back to the same things: I’m still dreaming, and I refuse to have regrets. Those are the things I can control.”