FIU diver Sabrina Beaupre takes leap of faith

Sabrina Beaupre has overcome the pain of injury to become the best diver in the Sun Belt Conference.

02/26/2013 12:00 AM

09/23/2013 7:13 PM

FIU junior diver Sabrina Beaupre insists she’s a princess, tiara-style. She has dived against a princess in competition. She’s about as well-traveled as a princess. She almost certainly will be once again crowned queen of the Sun Belt divers at this week’s conference meet, in the 1-meter and 3-meter events.

Even if Beaupre bangs her head on the board, further injures the left ankle she has been limping on for a year that’ll require surgery after the season or knees herself in the schnozz as she did during the photo shoot for this article.

Beaupre, the two-time defending Sun Belt Diver of the Year, might color coordinate her outfit with her walking boot.

But like any diver, gymnast or figure skater you know, she’s about as princess soft as the Pittsburgh Steelers defense. There’s tremendous pain behind the pretty.

“The physical [injuries] you can get over them. The mental ones, it takes longer. Smacking off 10 meter is a hard one to get through,” Beaupre said. “I’ve hit the board with my head; I’ve hit the board with pretty much every part of my body. That’s a hard one because you have to get back up there and go no matter what. That’s the worst, more than all the physical injuries I’ve had.”

And how many of those injuries kept her from diving?

“If I could, I went back up. I fractured my wrist off 10 meter,” she replied. “I kept on diving through Senior Nationals. After that, I had to take a couple of months off.”

That covers 16 years, including a few years on the Canadian National Team, diving at the Pan-Am Games and the Junior World Championships. Beaupre did gymnastics at 3 years old, did other sports for fun, but diving held her from age 5. Or, maybe it was two years later when the Montreal-area native went to the Olympic diving center.

“When I went up to 10 meter for the first time,” Beaupre said. “I was 7. I went up just to jump. You’re scared, but it’s adrenaline. That’s when I really noticed I liked this.

“I was tiny. I went up to the end and I was looking down and I was like, ‘Wow, in a couple of years, I’ll be diving off of here,’ ” she continued. “I remember telling my coach, that I just wanted to jump. I just jumped. I loved it. I don’t know why, but I loved it.”

FIU diving coach Rio Ramirez’s kids his lone charge that being a princess is inconsistent with being a great diver.

“She’s very graceful, very talented diver,” Ramirez said. “She has amazing form in her dives. That puts her apart from many divers. She comes from Canada and they develop great divers. She needs to continue to believe more in her capacity of improving every time. Not based on the scores. But pressing more in every moment, practices and meets. She’s working on it. Getting that will be her next level.

“It’s more like a confidence, believing in herself and her ability,” he said. “That’s a common thing in diving.”

So it’s not surprising that Beaupre tattooed “Believe” on one of her feet to remind herself to have self-confidence. It’s not something she needs with her favorite dives, a reverse two-and-a-half-tuck off the 3-meter board and either back one-half-pike or inward one-and-a-half-pike off the 1-meter board.

Beaupre’s other love, aside from the NHL’s Canadiens (hockey royalty), is globetrotting. Greece, where she went with the Canadian Junior National team in 2004 before the Summer Olympics, tops the list of places she wants to hit.

“I’m a hospitality major,” Beaupre said. “So, I want to travel. I want to keep on traveling. That’s one thing I miss from competing back home is that I traveled a lot. So, I want to get back into that before I settle down.”

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