Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

From gymnast to diver: freshman Tanner Braunton reflects on successful switch

Skyler Sharp
Freshman Tanner Braunton flips as he dives off the platform on Nov. 3, 2023, at Texas’ meet against TCU.

Freshman diver Tanner Braunton has recently enjoyed a season of success that culminated at the Big 12 Championship meet. A bronze medalist in the three-meter and a gold medalist in the platform and team diving events, he also carries the title of the 2024 Big 12 Diving Newcomer of the Meet.

“I’ve had great success this season,” Braunton said. “It’s been really successful and exceeded my expectations on how well I could do on a collegiate stage.”

He credits his success in diving to the encouragement from his coaches, both from his high school club back in Colorado and from diving coach Matt Scoggin at the University of Texas. 

“A big thing that Matt and my club team coaches instilled in me was just trusting the process,” he said. “Because that’s just the nature of the sport. Progress comes in really slow intervals and slow pieces.”

A lesser-known source of strength, however, involves his past athletic career. Braunton’s origins are not in diving or even swimming. Instead, he was a gymnast.

Competing in gymnastics from the age of nine, Braunton participated in every event at each meet, which led to mental and physical stress.

“It’s just a constant pounding on your body. You’re overworking yourself every day,” Braunton said.

After six years of competing, Braunton decided to take his abilities to a different sport at age 15. His parents suggested diving.

Although he already had athletic experience, the transition was difficult. The similarities between diving and gymnastics were almost outweighed by their differences.

“There’s just a lot of stuff you need to retrain in your mind and in your body to be successful as a diver and be competitive at a high level,” Braunton said. “It definitely took a lot of work and a lot of practice and a bunch of hours in the pool working with my coach. But I think I’m happier than I ever have been when I was a gymnast.”

Despite the difficulty, Braunton carried over valuable qualities from his time as a gymnast to being a platform diver. One of those is the ability to put away his fear and just dive in.

“It’s 30 feet up there and you’re doing a lot of flips, a lot of twists. It’s definitely scary,” Braunton said. “It took me forever to get over the hump of being scared going up there. And gymnastics played a role in that for sure.”

Now, in the midst of his diving career, Braunton values all the experience he gets. For him, the victory he experienced at his first conference championship means more than just awards, titles and a chance to prove himself on a big stage. It’s proof that he is capable of excelling in this sport and provides encouragement that his goals are within reach.

“It’s just a good way for me to know what I’m capable of for next season,” Braunton said. “Maybe I can play higher, maybe I can do even better than I did this season.”

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