It's 3:15 p.m., less than two hours before he will begin competing, and Greg Louganis is sitting in the bleachers beside the pool. Across the pool, two teen-age girls say to each other at the same moment, "There he is."

Two photographers train their high-powered lenses on Louganis. It's nearly 110 degrees, but Louganis, clad in red shorts, white running shoes and red-framed sunglasses, looks about as cool as they come.

The preliminary phase of men's three-meter springboard diving was held today, and if there are any prohibitive favorites in the Olympic Festival, Louganis is certainly one of them. He finished the preliminary phase in first place with 724.53 points; Mark Bradshaw was in second with 697.32.

Unlike with many of the festival sports, which use the festival to help develop younger athletes, the best divers in the country are here because the top two finishers in each event will represent the United States in the World Aquatic Championships Aug. 15-24 in Madrid.

Louganis said he is taking it year by year. The 1988 Olympics in Seoul are outside his current schedule.

"That's a big commitment," Louganis said when asked if would still be diving competitively then. "I think about it. I'll be 28. I don't think age is a factor, though. It's the motivation. I have to feel that I can still improve. If I don't fell like I can improve, then there's no reason for me to dive because I've achieved enough."

Louganis' diving goals are formidable.

"I don't feel like I've reached my peak," Louganis said. "I still have some records that I'm shooting toward. I'd like to break 800 points on three-meter, which is averaging about 9.4 on a scale of 10 on every dive with the list I have. I've broken 700 on the 10-meter platform, but I'd like to do it with the Russians and the East Germans there."

Asked if his body would tell him when to retire, Louganis said no.

"I think it's the motivation," he said. "You'll know instinctively. You'll find yourself going to the pool and saying to yourself -- and I do this occasionally, but very rarely -- 'What the hell am I doing? I've done so much. Aren't I wasting my time? Get on with life.'

"Then I realize there are some things I haven't achieved that I would like to achieve and I do feel like I'm improving."

With his greatest athletic accomplishments securely around his neck, Louganis was going to retire shortly after the 1984 Olympics.

"I was all ready to retire right after the '84 nationals, which were after the Olympic Games," Louganis said. "I had to make a living for myself. There comes a point in time where you can no longer call mommy and daddy -- when you're 24."

Louganis works as a spokesperson for a number of organizations, including some that deal with diving safety in schools.

Whenever his diving career ends, Louganis wants to go into show business.

"I've been studying acting for seven years, and this year has been very difficult because I've had some really tremendous offers in film, TV and on Broadway, and I had to turn them down because of my diving schedule. I'm committed to my diving through the world championships and I had to turn down a lot of scripts.

"It's an area I want to go into, most definitely. But the scripts are going to be there. There are going to be more TV shows. There are going to be more films, more plays on Broadway. I won't always be able to get up on a 10-meter platform and do a reverse 3 1/2 the most difficult dive ."

His 26 years have taught Louganis that there is more to life than falling into a pool gracefully.

"Diving isn't everything," he said. "I used to be the type of person that, if I had a bad workout, I had a bad day. Diving was everything. It was even my self-image. Now, I'm not that way. If have a bad workout, I have other things to feel good about. I'll go to the children's hospital and see the kids and try to cheer them up instead of thinking about myself, or maybe going to acting class and feeling good about a breakthrough in a scene I've been working on."

Louganis stuck with diving after the '84 games because the future was uncertain.

"People were talking possible exhibitions, possible commercials. So I wanted to stay in shape. I got myself to the pool three days a week and I found myself enjoying it. I found myself having fun.

"Diving became my sanctuary, where I didn't have to worry about business, didn't have to worry about this appearance or that appearance. I really could enjoy what i was doing.

"I think that too often young athletes work so hard to a goal -- like the Olympic Games or be a national champion -- that they forget to have fun on the way. But then I was guilty of that myself, as well. I started to learn that it was important to have a sense of humor, that diving isn't everything."

Asked if it was possible to achieve what he has achieved without such dedication, Louganis said it was. Sort of.

"If you're fortunate enough to have some success at an early age and continue with it, I think it's possible. But it takes a lot of years to learn that."