Kazan 2015: Ibone (85): “Before the dives I’m still nervous”


If you have household names in Masters diving, Ibone Belausteguigoitia is definitely one of them: she earned more than 30 gold medals at Masters Worlds and more than 130 titles in the US Masters circuit.

Though always being a ‘threat’ for announcers of any given competitions – just try to pronounce her name, clearly showing her Basque origins as she was born in Bilbao, Spain –, she is one of the most popular participants of the events. She’s just entered the 85-89 age group – here she is the oldest member of the women’s diving field. But she is still in great shape, or rather: she is in amazing shape!

“I love diving as it keeps you in shape, in good physical condition. It makes you healthy and strong as long as you keep on working on your body!” Ibone says. “I have daily excersises from Monday to Friday each week. I have workouts, little gymnastics included, then diving from 1m, 3m and from the platform. Of course, only from 5m.

She took on diving soon after she had moved to Mexico with her family in 1947. Soon Ibone found herself in the national team. In 1948 she travelled to London as one of the first six women from Mexico to compete in the Olympic Games. On her very first dive into the 2m deep practice pool, she broke her wrist but went on to compete and finished 17th. In 1950 she gave up the sport and didn’t practice it in the next 34 years. However, when her life has changed and moved to a house with a pool, she returned to the boards, since “the love for diving was always there”.

The return wasn’t too easy. “Everything has changed. I used to dive from wooden boards, we had coco-mats for practice, the walking, the movements of the arms were different, so I had to learn everything from the basics.

But it worked pretty well after a short period of time. “I entered the Masters diving programme in the USA, we have two competitions every year so I’m keep practicing” she says. As for the trainings, sometimes the weather conditions push her towards the 1m board. “We have an open pool in Mexico and when we have cooler weather I only do the 1m because it’s too cold upstairs on the 3m boards…”

In fact her 1m dives were really great here in Kazan. 6.5s, 7.0s even 8.5s appeared on the scoreboard. She is doing a professional approach, just like the Chinese for instance, she never looks the others’ attempts.

Before the dives I’m still nervous, but once I got into the water it feels great, it’s much better there. I don’t look the other divers. Only thinking on my own dives. Previously when I saw a dive pulled over I made my own one short. I learnt this during the competitions so today I don’t look at the others.

Still, there is further room for improvement. “I had some dives not very good but next time I try to do better”, she promises.