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Ventura Native Troy Dumais Seeks Elusive Olympic Medal

The 32-year-old diver has yet to reach the podium after three previous attempts

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    FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - MAY 11: Troy Dumais of the USA dives during the Mens 3m springboard preliminaries at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center on Day 2 of the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix on May 11, 2012 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    After 24 years of competitive diving, Troy Dumais' impressive resume is missing one thing: an Olympic medal.

    The Ventura native, who is a 35-time U.S. national champion at the junior and senior level and a six-time Pan American Games medalist, can now add four-time Olympian to his curriculum vitae after qualifying in the 3-meter springboard and the synchro 3-meter springboard two weeks ago.

    Dumais joins diving great Greg Louganis as the only American men to qualify for four Olympic diving teams.

    "It's a tremendous achievement," Dumais said while training for the upcoming games in Austin, Texas. "It's amazing to be mentioned in the same sentence as him, but I haven't finished what I've wanted. The goal is to get those medals."

    The Olympics have been a trying event for Dumais. In his three previous attempts, the 32-year-old has failed to medal. He has finished no higher than sixth in individual competition and fourth in synchro.
     
    "The emotions and the desire to win a medal are still there," Dumais said. "If I do what I know I can do something good is bound to happen."

    As the elder statesman of this year's diving team, Dumais knows that London might be his final chance at reaching the podium.

    "I am taking this one as my last," said Dumais, who is still weighing his options on what he plans to do once his diving career is over.

    Of the two events that he will be competing in, Dumais likes his odds in the synchro event best. Dumais and 19-year-old Kristian Ipsen have experienced success together in the past, finishing fourth at the FINA World Championships in 2011 and first at this year's Olympic Trials.

    "We're good together," Dumais said. "And we are already in the synchro final because there are only eight teams competing, so that definitely works in our favor."

    The individual competition may prove to be more of a challenge for Dumais. He will be up against 33 competitors, including Chinese divers He Chong and Qin Kai, who took home gold and bronze medals respectively in 2008. Kai also took gold in the synchro event with partner Wang Feng.

    An American diver has not won an Olympic medal since 2000 when Laura Wilkinson won a gold medal in the 10-meter platform, with a broken foot no less.

    The lack of American success in recent years has largely been attributed to Chinese, Russian and Australian dominance.

    "If our team does what it is capable of doing then the end result will take care of itself and we will win some medals," Dumais said. "The key is for everyone to know their abilities and not let nerves take over."

    Dumais has learned this lesson first hand. At the Beijing Games, he put too much pressure on himself and did not perform to his ability, he said.

    "Now I feel better going into these Olympics and I keep my emotions within," Dumais said. "I have learned a lot more about diving and it's really been a great procedure."

    While Dumais used to spend hours practicing dives repetitiously, he is now taking a new approach to keep his body fresh.

    "I used to hurt myself by training all the time," Dumais said. "Instead of doing thousands of dives, I am focusing on quality and I'm listening to my body more."

    A four-time high school All-American at Buena High School in Ventura, Dumais got his start diving when he was 4.

    "My mom worked for a doctor who had a pool that he heated to 90 degrees and I hated cold water," Dumais said. "My dad showed me how to dive in that pool and pretty soon I started doing flips."

    All four of his siblings are divers and his brother Justin was his synchro partner at the 2004 Olympics. They finished sixth.

    A graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, where he still trains and tutors student athletes, Dumais is coming to the precipice of a career that has seen him accomplish and sacrifice what few others athletes have.

    "I still really enjoy diving," Dumais said. "Sometimes it's hard to get out of bed in the morning, but the fire is still there."

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