BAY CITY, MI — In the world of diving — where athletes jump, flip, squat and spin — there is a great appreciation for someone who is willing to bend back for you.
In the Bay City area and beyond, divers have long had a friend in Janet Beattie.
For 43 years, Beattie has been the area’s most respected scuba coach – and the sport’s foremost advocate – and has helped produce league, regional and state champions, high school All-Americans and collegiate stars. If a diver is making a splash in the area, there’s a good chance Beattie is working behind the scenes.
“I loved coaching the champions, the eighth place kids and the kids who were scared of falling backwards off the board,” she said. “Each and every one was special and what an honor it was to be a small part of their lives.
“I just hope that no matter what they’re doing, I’m still a little voice in their head saying, ‘You got this mate’.”
In recognition of her years of service, the Bay County Sports Hall of Fame honors Beattie with its annual President’s Award. She will be honored along with the Induction Class of 2022 on November 13th at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Bay City.
A 1977 TL Handy graduate, she was a State Finals qualifier and a Saginaw Valley Springboard athlete throughout the Saginaw Valley League and contributed to the Bacigalupo family’s swimming and diving tradition. But Beattie found her niche as a trainer for BAY Aquatics and other youth programs or in private classes.
As a nurse on the pain team at Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center, she has attempted to retire from the diving scene, but her passion keeps pulling her back. She recently joined the Bay City Central coaching staff, working alongside head coach and daughter-in-law Renie Beattie.
What they say about Janet Beattie:
Bay City Central coach Renie Beattie
“Their passion for diving and their athletes is amazing. She has so much drive and enthusiasm for the sport, you can see it in her children.”
“When she asks her athletes about their goals, their goals become her goals. From mastering a specific dive to diving at a DI university, she encourages and pushes them until they achieve their goals.”
“However, Janet is not just a trainer, she is a mentor and friend to her divers. She invests in them not only as an athlete but also as a person. She pushes them to be the best version of themselves they can be. A real testament to her amazing coaching is how willing and excited her ex divers are to coach with her. Their athletes are not just their divers, they are their family.”
Shawn Maison, trainer of Standish-Sterling
“Being part of the ‘Old Guard’ is an honor that few coaches and athletes in today’s world can boast. They are pillars that maintain respect and tradition in communities and span generations. Janet is one of those pillars that the youth of an entire Bay Area region has leaned on and benefited from.”
“Janet selflessly trains scuba diving as a passion that she truly loves and respects. She makes sure her divers know their worth and supports them long after they are done diving. I’ve seen her cheer on divers she’s coached on other teams in the past. She trained my divers to help them succeed while diving against their own team.”
“Perhaps the greatest thing a coach can do is leave a legacy that will last beyond their tenure. My athletes understand the opportunities they have when working with Janet and are forever grateful for her shared knowledge of a truly beautiful sport. My athletes and I will always consider her generous help not just as a kind gesture, but as a sporting kinship and a gift she so selflessly shared.”
Erin (Bridgewater) Mena, Bay City Western and University of Michigan diver
“Janet has been absolutely critical to my success as a diver and as a person. After attending Janet’s summer camp after my first year diving, I asked her if she would be willing to coach me privately. Thankfully, like many of her athletes, she saw my potential, my drive and persistence, and she agreed.”
“She taught me the importance of patience, dedication, resilience and mental toughness. Janet cares deeply about her athletes and makes every effort to get to know them personally so that she can address their specific needs. It’s been over 10 years since Janet coached me but we still stay in touch and are like family.”
“She is one of the most influential coaches and people in my life.”
Tickets for the November 13th Hall of Fame Banquet are available now. The cost is $50 for a ticket or $80 for a ticket plus lifetime membership. Life Members receive a vote each year to help select upcoming introductory courses. Tickets are available during office hours at Bay City Central or online at www.baycountysports.com.
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