Trevor Labuda ’22 led the men’s swimming and diving team to victory against Columbia this weekend with a record-breaking 3-meter dive. Labuda’s 354.00 points broke the program best of 351.05 that was set in 1989.
Before coming to Brown from Los Altos, California, Labuda dove for the Stanford JOA Diving Club and Los Altos High School. Last season, he placed eighth in the 3M dive at the Ivy League Championships and also competed in the 1-meter dive. This season, the sophomore helped his team defeat the University of Connecticut and led Bruno in the 3M dive at the Big Al Open. For his historic efforts against Columbia, Labuda has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.
Herald: How did you first become involved in diving?
Labuda: When my brother and I were younger, we’d go to a community pool with diving boards. But my mom wouldn’t let us jump off of them unless we took diving lessons, because she didn’t want us to get hurt. We both enjoyed the lessons so much that we participated in a “learn to dive” program at Stanford, and I joined their diving club. We started competing when we were around ten years old, and the rest is history.
What are you thinking about just before you jump off the board?
Honestly, nothing. I go into autopilot, because we do these dives so much. Diving is all about consistency. It takes a lot of effort, but so little, all at the same time. You go on autopilot, but you do that because you’re thinking of a million small things you’ll need to do at once. However, you’re not really thinking about it. You’re just going through the motions of it because it’s something you’ve done a thousand times before.
Had you been expecting to break the 3M record, or was it a surprise?
One of my biggest goals was to get up on the record board. I didn’t expect it to come at this dive — I had no idea how long it would take, but it’s great that it happened now. It’s an awesome feeling that will allow me to focus on continuing to get even better.
Do you have any other major goals for your college diving career?
I would love to compete against my brother at the NCAA Championships. He dives at Northwestern University, which puts us in different zones, so we’d both have to reach the National Championships to compete against one another. Other than that, (I want) to always bring it for the team. I’d like to see us move up a few spots in the Ivy League.
What can fans look forward to at a diving event?
The energy — the atmosphere is electric. There is no better way to get close to the action and feel a part of things.
Which is your favorite place to compete on the road?
Princeton’s pool has a full tower and really nice boards, so going there was super fun. But I also know a decent number of Harvard’s divers from my club team, so it’s always nice to go up there and hang out with people I’ve known for a long time.
How have you been adapting to the cold weather since moving here from California?
Luckily we dive indoors, (so) we’re not cutting holes out of ice or anything … But pools changing has never been a huge deal. It’s the team and the coach that really matters.
What do you like to do outside of practice?
I’m pretty involved with Camp Kesem at Brown. Kesem National is a non-profit organization, (and) their mission is to “support children through and beyond their parent’s cancer.” I was a counselor last year and I’m on the coordinating board this year, so I’m helping put together the camp and fundraise. They have chapters all around the country, and we provide support to families whose parents are battling, in remission or unfortunately sometimes have passed away from cancer. It culminates in a free summer camp for the children of those families. It’s a real blast to be involved with their chapter here on campus.
The Bears will take on Cornell on the road this weekend in their final meet before the Ivy League Championships.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.