Making a splash

For freshman diver, training, community have paid off

Caroline Owen, co-sports editor, co-people editor, co-photo editor

Freshman Iris Burns-Trahanovsky poses with her medal from the 2022 AAU national diving meet, where she placed fifth. (Mary Trahanovsky)

Over eight years ago, a simple tip from a stranger changed the course of Iris Burns-Trahanovsky’s life. Her mother was talking to a man during a swim, and mentioned that her 6-year-old loved both gymnastics and swimming, and the man suggested that Iris try diving as a way to combine the two activites. Now, the 14-year-old dives for Junior Team USA and has committed her childhood to the very sport.

I started diving when I was 6, so it’s almost always been a part of my life.”

— Iris Burns-Trahanovsky

“I started diving when I was 6, so it’s almost always been a part of my life,” Burns-Trahanovsky said. “I’m not really able to have much of a social life at all outside of school and practice, because I’ve been diving 17 hours a week.”

While Burns-Trahanovsky may not have much of a social life outside of diving, her social life within the sport certainly makes up for it.

“My favorite thing about diving is probably the people, the community,” Burns- Trahanovsky said. “I’ve had wonderful teammates through the years, some of whom I still dive with today. They’re people that I’ve known for most of my life, and it’s really fun to train with them.”

Her friendships aren’t the only thing that keeps her coming back to the diving board. The guidance, passion and success she has found during her diving journey have encouraged her to stick with the sport. Whether she’s diving from the platform or bouncing off the springboard, Burns-Trahanovsky has been at the top of her age group throughout her athletic career.

“I’ve always trained in the junior program at UT, and it has an amazing facility and so many amazing coaches who’ve shaped me into the diver I am,” Burns-Trahanovsky said. “I ranked seventh nationally on platform when I was 11, 15th on 3-meter springboard at 13, then this past year I ranked 18th on platform and 23rd on 3-meter springboard.”

My favorite thing about diving is probably the people.”

— Iris Burns-Trahanovsky

Burns-Trahanovsky’s success at meets hasn’t gone unnoticed. After placing in the top five in the Amateur Athletic Union National Meet over the summer, she was invited to dive for Junior Team USA. In late October, she traveled with the team to Stockholm, Sweden, to compete in her first international diving event. Even without the team she grew up with by her side, Burns-Trahanovsky feels like she has all the support in the world from her new teammates, coaches and family as she enters into the big leagues.

“There’s a lot of people I haven’t gotten to know yet, but I’ve already made friends so far and the coaches seem nice,” Burns- Trahanovsky said. “My family has always been really supportive, and they’re always so happy for me.”

She hopes to continue her diving career after high school as well.

“I’m probably going to dive in college because I could get a pretty good scholarship if I keep going where I’m going,” Burns- Trahanovsky said, “Plus, I really enjoy it.”

I’d say my whole experience has shaped me as a person, not just as a diver.”

— Iris Burns-Trahanovsky

From diving as a member of the Longhorn Aquatics Junior Program, to now breaking international waters with Team USA, one thing is certain for Burns- Trahanovsky: the sport is a part of her identity. She says the long hours spent leaping from board to water and then emerging from the pool to do it all over again has made her more than just a competitive diver but also a resilient, determined, and focused individual.

“I’d say my whole experience has shaped me as a person, not just as a diver.”