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Campus Life + Sports

Rookie diver smashes records

Brian Lawler came to BU with a dream. Three months later, it was a reality.

Brian Lawler (SMG'09) somersaults during a dive at a recent practice. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Diver Brian Lawler had a dream:  he would shatter the University record on the three-meter springboard. During his rookie season? Dream on.

On November 5, at the University’s new competition pool, Lawler’s fantasy became a reality. The 18-year-old freshman earned 382.05 points for his six dives, surpassing the previous record of 352.35 set 25 years ago by Mark Graham. “It was a goal of mine to break the record,” says Lawler (SMG’09), “but I didn’t think that it would happen during the second meet of my freshman year.”

What did he do for an encore? On his next series, Lawler earned 337.80 points, breaking the six-year-old one-meter school record of 324.60.

To see Lawler in action at a recent practice, click here to watch a 30-second video.

Diving coach Agnes Miller believes there is much more to come.  “He trains year-round,” says Miller. “Many college athletes have a hard time training over the summer because they have jobs and other responsibilities, but Brian is extremely dedicated to diving.” Lawler has already earned America East Diver of the Week honors three times.

Lawler’s decision to attend BU was, in part, a matter of being at the right place at the right time. The native of San Luis Obispo, Calif., looked at such national swimming powers as UC-Berkeley, Michigan, and Northwestern, but it was a phone conversation with Harvard coach coach Keith Miller — Agnes Miller’s husband — that ultimately led to his becoming a Terrier. The Ivy League Conference doesn’t offer athletic scholarships, but BU gives one scholarship every four years to a deserving diver. It turned out that Victor Paguia (CFA’05), a four-time America East Outstanding Diver, had just graduated, leaving big shoes for the team to fill, along with an open scholarship.

“I took a look at Brian’s [high school] film footage, and it was incredible,” says Agnes Miller.

Lawler began diving competitively at age 12. “My mom signed me up for diving camp at a local community college, and I loved it,” he says. “I had been a gymnast for three or four years, and the sports are very similar. I never stopped diving after that camp, and my parents have been incredibly supportive all the way.”

Two years ago, while qualifying for the Junior Nationals in Wisconsin, Lawler earned a perfect score of 10 with an inward, one-and-a-half pike off a 10-meter platform. America East colleges, however, don’t compete in platform diving. “I had to give up tower diving because BU doesn’t have towers,” he says, “but the platform was very stressful and hard on my body, so there is some good in training towerless.”

Does Miller, a two-time Olympic diver for her native Hungary (1988 and 1992), see the Olympics in Lawler’s future? “It’s hard to say,” she says. “It’s possible. If he keeps up the summer training, I believe that he could. He has the potential because he has the will.”