CEO Passions: Competitive Diving
Reported by April Joyner
Co-founder of GIS Planning and competitive diver Anatalio Ubalde gets a rush free falling without a net or parachute.
Few athletes would pass up a chance to compete in the Olympics. Anatalio Ubalde, a former diver at the University of California, Berkeley, did just that when he decided to pursue a master's degree in city planning from his alma mater instead of taking part in trials for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. Worried about seeming like a has-been, Ubalde, co-founder of GIS Planning, a San Francisco company that helps businesses find ideal operating locations, did not return to diving until 2001, when a friend encouraged him to give it another try. Since then, he has placed first in events at 16 U.S. Masters Diving Championships and won a bronze medal at the 2006 World Masters Championships. Once a fierce competitor, Ubalde insists that topping the leaderboard is no longer his primary motivation. "I've gotten back to that place where diving is fun," he says. "I'm not diving for scholarships, fame, or medals."
Late starter Ubalde didn't learn how to swim until he was 10 years old, when his parents moved from the city of San Francisco to the suburbs. "As soon as I learned how to swim, I was on the diving board," he says.