Passages: Masters Hall of Fame Diver Tom Hairabidean Dies at Age 96

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Photo Courtesy: International Swimming Hall of Fame

Masters hall of fame diver Tom Hairabidean passed away on Sunday at the age of 96. He was inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame in 2007 with five World Championships gold medals to his name.

Tom Hairabidean – Hall of Fame Diver

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Tom Hairabidean. Photo Courtesy: International Swimming Hall of Fame

His mother survived the Armenian Genocide. His father served as a Captain in the Russian Army just prior to WWII. Both were instrumental in developing his “can do it” attitude. A world-class gymnast, he became entranced with diving while attending USC. Since then, Tom Hairabedian just couldn’t get enough — as a participator, coach and organizer.

He competed at the collegiate level. Upon graduation, he became the head swimming and diving coach of Central Missouri State University. Anxiously, he returned to competition in the first Masters diving competition and has been at most every one since. Competing in seven different age groups, he has accumulated over 140 national titles and 16world titles. He competed equally well on the 1m or 3m springboard and 10m platform. Tom Hairabedian is proudly listed in the Who’s Who of Armenian Athletes.

At one point he dove for the medals, then he dove for the challenge and the fun. Tom Hairabedian was committed to providing a competitive outlet for athletes, passed what is normally considered their prime. He was U.S. Masters National Diving Chairman from 1980-82 and U.S. Grand Masters Champion on six occasions.

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Tom Hairabidean. Photo Courtesy: International Swimming Hall of Fame

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