Even at 93 years old, Tom Hairabedian is diving head-first into competition. Quite literally.
The oldest masters level diver in the world, known as “Dr. Dive,” began competing at 17 years old, and though he’s slowed down a bit, he’s still performing dives most people decades younger wouldn’t even dream of attempting.
Here’s his one-and-half from the 3-meter springboard six months ago.
“I can do some flips, but not the big ones. The two-and-a-half is gone, and the double twisting one-and-a-half,” he told KMBC when he was 91. “My last back two-and-half twisting one-and-a-half, I was 77.”
Here’s a look at more of his dives, thanks to KOMU8 in Missouri.
According to the International Swimming Hall of Fame, where Hairabedian has been a member since 2007, he developed his “can do it” mentality from his mother and father, who survived the Armenian Genocide and served as a Captain in the Russian Army, respectively.
He competed on USC’s diving team and then went on to become the head swimming and diving coach at Central Missouri State University.
At the Masters level, he has more than 140 national titles and 16 world titles.
He even takes his dives all the way up to the 10-meter platform (that’s 32 feet). Check out his backflip from that height when he was 90 years old.
Born in 1924, Hairbedian is capable of putting on a show off the diving boards, too. In July, he played the national anthem on his harmonica at the USA Masters Games in Carlsbad, Calif.
He has a doctorate degree in physical education and follows a raw foods diet (maybe Tom Brady took a page from Dr. Dive’s book?), and it’s paid off. He doesn’t have any metal holding his body together, like many of his friends who are former divers, and he reports no major health issues.
Will he be performing dives at 94, and beyond? Who knows, but Hairbedian is living proof that aging can look like poetry in motion rather than a big belly flop.