A deep dive into Jane Riehs’ experience in and out of the pool


Jason Verdin

Jane Riehs smiles while signing her National Letter of Intent to commit to the University of San Diego on Nov. 11, 2020.

Home is where the heart is, and for Neuqua Valley senior Jane Riehs, home has always been California. That’s why she couldn’t be more excited to dive into her freshman year at the University of San Diego this fall. 

Riehs was first introduced to Swim and Dive during her freshman year of high school, and when she told her mom about it, her mom’s primary concern was Riehs slipping on the pool deck. Fast forward to sophomore year, Riehs joined the high school swim and dive team, with the support of her friends and family, and never looked back (or slipped, really). 

Throughout her diving career, Riehs has been named an Illinois State Champion diver, a DuPage Valley Conference (DVC) Diving Champion and was awarded the Heisman High School Scholarship for Illinois, while simultaneously achieving academic success. Riehs continues to challenge herself outside of the pool by taking Advanced Placement (AP) and honors classes, seeing success she prides herself in. One such course is AP World History, a class with a curriculum that she originally struggled to comprehend. 

“I would go in a lot, just to try and understand the course… [My score] really showed how hard I worked, so I was just really proud of the time and effort that I put into that.”

Riehs’ motivation to excel, like the one she portrayed for her AP World History class, plays a large role in her efficacy. Diving is a sport that Riehs describes as 90% mental and 10% physical, and she has had to learn how to manage mental blocks and find enthusiasm in a sport that can easily become exhausting. 

“Because it’s so new, my heart’s still in it, and that’s why I’m able to progress so much. Because deep down, I still love it, instead of it being a job.”

Despite her rapid progress, Riehs believes that she still has room for improvement. 

“I mean, the sport’s still new to me, and I have a lot to learn. I can always improve on my dives.”

Her time at the University of San Diego will provide her with the perfect opportunity to do just that. Riehs has always loved California, so when she began to talk to the university, she was ecstatic to hear about their interest. 

“If I go to San Diego, I know I’ll be competing every meet, there’s a spot for me, and their academics are really good.” 

“I told my mom, I’m like, ‘I’m counting down the days!’ Just because, obviously, everyone’s struggling online, and I think this is just making me want to go to San Diego more.”

Riehs doesn’t have any regrets about joining Swim and Dive during her sophomore year and encourages current students to try out new things because “you’ll never know if you don’t try.” The only thing she’s sad about is how she’ll miss her current Swim and Dive team, but she’s thankful nonetheless to have grown with them throughout her time at Neuqua.

“We all just create such a positive atmosphere, and I’m going to miss that the most. We’ve accomplished so much together, over the past two years, even, and I’m just sad we couldn’t do it one last time this year.”