PETALING JAYA: Two years ago, three-time Olympic diver Bryan Nickson Lomas walked away from the sport while he was still at the peak of his career.
He wasn’t sure if he had made the right decision.
He needn’t have worried.
For now, the 25-year-old Sarawakian is the proud holder of a Bachelor in Sports Science (Sports Management) Degree from Universiti Malaya.
He graduated on Wednesday with distinction honours after scoring a CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 3.8.
And he has his late father – Lomas Pawi – to thank for his achievement.
“My father passed away in 2013 ... and it affected me a lot. He supported me in my diving career, but he also always advised me to get an education,” said Bryan, who became the country’s first world junior diving champion after winning the 3m springboard event in Belem, Brazil, in 2004.
“I always had to defer my varsity studies ... and I knew I would not be able to handle my studies if I continued diving. I’m glad I made the right decision to study full-time.”
Also present to share his joy at the convocation ceremony was his mother Nancy Guei, who flew in from Kuching.
“I’m the second of four children. I’m the first degree holder in my family and I think my father will be proud if he was still with us,” said Bryan.
Bryan was only 14 when he competed in the Athens Olympics in 2004 in the men’s 10m platform individual. He finished 19th – just one spot off the top-18 semi-finalists.
He then went on to win multiple medals at the SEA Games, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
He is also the first Malaysian diver to have reached a World Aquatics Championships final – in Melbourne in 2007.
Bryan also partnered Huang Qiang to win the first-ever Diving World Cup medal – a bronze – in London in 2012. The 3m springboard synchro pairing also triumphed in the Diving Grand Prix legs in Canada and the United States that year.
But Bryan, who was described by head coach Yang Zhuliang as one of the most naturally talented diver he has seen, has ruled out any chance of making a comeback.
“Unlikely to happen ... I’m happy with what I am doing. I’m coaching part-time with the Selangor team and my short-term goal is to open a diving academy ... either in Sarawak or Kuala Lumpur, where I’m staying now,” said Bryan, who also harbours hopes of becoming an entrepreneur.