Tazman Abramowicz set a school record at the Western Athletic Conference en route to a 3-meter diving title in the conference. No Rebel men’s diver had competed in the NCAA swimming and diving championships since the 1980s. The Canadian-born Abramowicz change that, competing March 25-28 in Indianapolis, and he did it as a freshman.
Why did you come from Calgary to Las Vegas?
One of my friends told me about Coach Landon [Marzullo] here. I came here on a recruitment trip for a couple days. I just fell in love with the team, the community, and the coach, of course.
Did you expect to qualify for the NCAA championships as a freshman?
I wouldn't say I expected it but it was definitely a goal I had at the start of the year. It was more like, “I'm going to go there, do what I can do, and if I make it, that would be awesome.”
What would you rather have the Vegas summers or the Calgary winters?
I'm going to say Calgary winter. I love to ski and the snow and all that. It gets pretty cold, but we have jackets and stuff for it. It gets so hot here. I’m dying just walking to the pool.
At what point do you know you really nailed a dive?
We have something called a hurdle. When you're in the hurdle, you can see where the board is and if it's going to be good. But you can't just think of that. If you get the perfect takeoff, it's not like “OK, well this dive is going to be good.” You still have to think about and wait for your spots. You have to look at the water, you have to kick tight. There's no real knowing if the dive is good until after it's done.
What’s the most you’ve ever disagreed with a judge’s score?
There have been times I've done a dive really well and I got lower scores than my coach would have thought. But I never think too much about the scores. If I did the dive as best as I can do it and they give it a seven instead of an eight, then that's what I get.
What’s a bigger thrill: representing Alberta at the Canada Games, or representing UNLV at the NCAAs?
Representing Alberta at the Canada Games was really cool because it was all athletes from all sports there. But the NCAA for me will be awesome. I'll be more excited to represent UNLV at the NCAAs because I'm one of the first male divers [in years] to make it there.
What do people usually misunderstand about diving?
I know lots of people see diving and think that's so cool, he does flips and stuff. I think what people don't understand in a competition there are five [pre-set routines] You have to do one of each. Some people might not understand that. Another big thing is how hard we train. It's super mentally challenging. It's one thing people don't take into consideration into not just doing a dive but competing.
As a psychology major, how have you brought that into competition?
I'm only a freshman so I haven't learned a lot, but I think it will be cool to learn how the brain works in tense situations and techniques to calm myself down. For me, I had thee mental blocks. I took a year and a half off, and I came back with a completely different mindset of ‘Just do it.’ Ever since then, I've learned so much.
What have you learned so far from the upperclassmen?
A lot. Most upperclassmen are swimmers. They talk a lot about their swimming and what they do to prepare. I've translated some of their analogies for diving. Also for swimmers, their eating is very important. I've learned a lot about that.
Is there a rivalry in the locker room between the swimmers and the divers?
Not at all. This team is awesome. We all get along. My roommate is a swimmer. I know at other schools there might be some rivalry there, but here not at all. They respect us, we respect them.
If someone gave you a million dollars but said you had to travel, where would you go first?
I think I would to Japan and just experience the culture there. There are so many things there I want to see. Everything from skiing to hiking to cliff jumping to street food.
Cliff jumping? Is that something you’ve done before?
Me and my friends did a two-week cliff jumping adventure by ourselves on a road trip to British Columbia, before I came down to Vegas, as a final goodbye. It was super fun. It's still some flips are involved, but it's different heights, different ledges. Sometimes you have to jump further out, you have to calculate it differently whereas a three-meter springboard is always three meters high.