Vincent Riendeau is too young to understand just how impressive his
accomplishments are, or he's wise enough to know this is only the beginning of what looks to be a promising diving career.
The 10-year-old Pointe Claire native will enter next week's national junior diving championships at Parc Jean
Drapeau as a defending champion on the tower and one-metre springboard, and will be looking to improve on last year's bronze medal on the 3-metre springboard.
What's most impressive about last year's results is that Riendeau was so dominant despite being one of the youngest competitors in the 9 to 11 age category, and also that he was at his first national championship meet.
But to Riendeau, his performance actually left something to be desired because he feels he didn't dive his best, something he will be looking to correct next week on Ile Ste. Helene.
"I don't see it as a huge deal, but it wasn't a little step, either," Riendeau said. "It was just something I had to do."
That kind of level-headed approach is what allows Riendeau to excel in a sport as mentally taxing as diving, says his coach at the Pointe Claire Diving Club, Dave Bedard. One of Riendeau's best qualities, Bedard says, is his ability to forget his failures and use those setbacks to correct his mistakes.
"He really makes a coach feel like a coach. When he hears something, he immediately makes the correction," Bedard said. "That's very rare at that age."
Bedard says the only other athlete he's been around that was so focused at that age was two-time Olympic medallist Anne Montminy, and Riendeau looks to be on a path to similar greatness.
Riendeau came to the Pointe Claire Diving Club when he was 5 years old largely because he enjoyed doing flips on the trampoline, something he was too young to be allowed to do in his gymnastics class.
"Within a few weeks, we could see he was just picking it up," Bedard said. "He was like a sponge."
Now, Riendeau is so far ahead of the curve, Bedard has a hard time finding him challenges.
"I put him in competitions an age group above him, so he can get beat," Bedard said. "But he still wins."
Riendeau can already do some very impressive things on a diving board, including a back two-and-a-half and an inward two-and-a-half off the 3-metre, two extremely difficult dives for a 10-year-old.
Though it's easy to get carried away when someone so young shows so much potential, Riendeau appears to have his feet firmly planted on the ground.
"I don't think about my future too much," he said. "I'm thinking more about my present."
That present is looking pretty bright.
The Amateur Athlete of the Week is featured on television on Global News, Wednesdays at 6 p.m., and online at
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