Beau knows diving

Matt Phelps
On the Sideline

There were very few surprises at the state swim meet this season. Most people who know anything about high school boys swimming in this state know that it would take an act of God to stop the Islanders from winning the meet and their third trophy in as many years. I leaned over to Jeff Lowell after he accepted the coach-of-the-year award and asked as sarcastically as I could, “Now is that really fair? You have all the best swimmers.”

But with how definitive the victory was, a record for the meet, no one but Lowell could have been considered.

And as Lowell will be the first to tell anyone, the meet is about the kids.

One of those athletes was the state’s dive champion, Beau Riebe. But the junior’s road to the title was not normal. It was a testament to hard work and patients — Beau knows adversity.

Riebe’s first two years at the state meet resulted in a silver. Battling several illnesses that would cause the diver to miss practices and meets, Riebe was always at a disadvantage.

I remember talking to Riebe prior to the season as he took time away from going four-wheeling — Beau knows how to have fun.

It was different from years past, when he would take time away from resting. He wasn’t talking about how he had been in bed during the past weekend or what doctor he had seen. He was focused on the season and finally winning the title that had eluded him.

Riebe entered the high school level of competition with high expectations. He had competed at some of the highest levels of club competition for his age. Challenging for a state title was nothing less than expected.

Riebe is always gracious in defeat, despite rarely experiencing it. Talking with him after the 2006 and 2007 meets, he never used his health as an excuse and always gave the champion, Olaf Olson of Bainbridge Island, his due — Beau knows humility.

Riebe’s score of 397 was the best he has tallied. The scary thing is that he gave the impression he could have done better — Beau knows improvement.

Anyone who knows Riebe knows that he likes to have fun and rarely dwells on the bad things. He always has a smile on his face and knows how to bring one to others. But the smile on his face and that first-place medal draped around his neck two weeks ago proved, once and for all, that Beau knows diving.

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