‘Heave and believe’: Sophomore breaks 31-year-old school record in a six-dive meet, boys take two

Islanders Murray Longbotham pushes for the finish in the 100-yard Butterfly event versus Issaquah at Mary Wayte Pool on Mercer Islandl ast Tuesday. -
Islanders Murray Longbotham pushes for the finish in the 100-yard Butterfly event versus Issaquah at Mary Wayte Pool on Mercer Islandl ast Tuesday.
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Nearly half of Mercer Island was still without power last week when the Islander boys swim team took on the swimmers from O’Dea High School at Mary Wayte Pool. But one sophomore, Beau Riebe, electrified swim and dive fans Thursday as he broke the 31-year-old school record for a six-dive meet.

“I can’t even believe I did that,” said Riebe, just after the competition. “I am still in shock.”

The old record of 269.55 points was set in 1975 by Tom Gemmel. Riebe blew past the mark to win the diving competition against the Irish with a score of 279.8.

“Last year I would look at that record and I just couldn’t get there,” said Riebe. “That was one of my goals for this season.”

One of the reasons for Riebe’s increased score is the fact that he has put on 30 pounds since last season’s second-place finish at state.

“I thought that he has looked really good this year,” said Mercer Island head coach Jeff Lowell. “He is really pushing himself. But 279 is pretty lofty at this point.”

Another reason for the high score was his final dive of the competition: a reverse flip two and a half twist. Riebe said that the he had just learned the highly difficult dive two days earlier.

“It is like I always say, ‘Heave and believe, heave and believe,’” said Riebe.

Riebe’s performance was part of an overall great week for the Islanders as they defeated O’Dea, 122-63, who finished sixth at state last year. Mercer Island started the week December 19 with a 114-63 victory over in-league opponent Issaquah.

One of the biggest battles that the swimmers had to endure was fatigue.

“I don’t know which is better,” said Islander Murray Longbotham, whose home was still without power during the meet. “At home it’s cold and here I am tired.”

Despite the adversity, Longbotham led Mercer Island in the pool against Issaquah winning the 100 butterfly (55.50) and then taking first in the 200 (1:46.29) and the 500 (4:48.82) freestyle events with state times against O’Dea. Longbotham had to wait for his competition to touch the wall during the 200, as he finished 20 seconds ahead of the next closest swimmer.

The meets were a bit of an escape for some of the Mercer Island swimmers.

“It is always a challenge during winter break,” said Islander senior co-captain Jay Voit. “But now everyone is a little tired and it wears on them. We just have to take of ourselves.”

Against Issaquah, freshman Ian Fisk won the 200 individual medley and followed it up with a state qualifying time against O’Dea in the 100 freestyle (50.14). Islander sophomore, Christopher Picardo, won the 100 freestyle (53.26) Tuesday. Alex Hoff won the 500-yard freestyle in a time of 4:51.72 against the Eagles and qualified for state with a time of 54.63 in the 100 butterfly. Blake vanHartesvelt swam to a state time (22.69) in the 50 freestyle against the Irish. Eric Stadius rounded out the individual victories against O’Dea with a time of 59.24 in the 100 backstroke.

Islanders Tyler Benster (100 backstroke - 59.62) and Mike Camp (dive - 172.25) rounded out the individual victories against their in-league opponent, while Mercer Island swept the relay events against the Eagles.

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