By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
NEWS REPORTER: Erin Beu recently on the news set at WFMJ-Ch. 12 in Rhineland, Wisconsin.
Not long ago, Erin Beu was making history as an Owasso swimmer. Today, she has branched out as a television newswoman.
Beu, a 2012 Owasso High School graduate, won state championships her senior season, winning the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly events, having beaten the defending champions from the previous year, when she finished third in each event. Beu also set 15 school records, some in yardage, some in meters.
After her successful career at Owasso, Beu spent two years at Henderson State, a Division II program in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, then moved on to the University of Arkansas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing and minors in communications and Spanish.
Today, she is working her first job out of college as a reporter for -Channel 12, an affiliate in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. She has been there since January 2017, one month after graduating from Arkansas. Before her full-time job, she did internships at channel 6 in Tulsa and channel 51 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“That’s when I realized I actually like this,” Beu says.
What drove Beu in high school was often being in the role of underdog. Part of that was due to Owasso not having a pool. Ram swimmers often had to go to pools in Claremore or Oologah for practice.
“No one took us seriously. A lot of people put down my dreams of bringing home a state title, and I enjoyed that,” she says. “I enjoyed people putting me down because it grew that fire I had inside me.”
As expected, her favorite memory was winning two gold medals at state.
She acknowledges the swim potential at her alma mater and was thrilled to see another state champion crowned when then-senior Sam Jones won the 100-yard freestyle on the boys’ side in February.
With the Razorbacks, Beu was on a team that had 30 swimmers. She also had the privilege of giving a speech at the athletic senior commencement in her last week on campus.
“It was great! I’d never been surrounded by that many supportive women in my life,” she says. “So, my favorite memory at Arkansas was just being part of a team that was bigger than myself. I did have to sacrifice my passions, occasionally, of swimming the 50 free and 100 butterfly. I ended up swimming a lot of backstroke (events) my senior year.”
Beu credits her swim career as she thrives in her career in television journalism,
“I think it got me used to talking with people,” Beu says. “I think just like in any sport, any club or organization, you’re going to be forced to talk with people and it also gave me confidence. This job I have now, you have to have confidence to get up in front of thousands of people who are watching you at home and be able to carry yourself in a confident way.
“Swimming also taught me to be fearless. Just like in any race, you get those butterflies in your stomach. All these emotions are going through your head. Doing that every swim meet made me feel fearless. You get that same feeling the first time you go live at a news station.”
The news feature Beu considers the most fun doing was on a young man who just qualified to swim for the U.S. world championship for Dtown syndrome.
“He qualified and he’s actually really close to breaking world records,” she says. “I got to go to his practice and interview him and I could see his excitement. So, that was one of my favorite stories. It’s just great to see the swimming passion spread throughout other people, especially in this young man with Down syndrome.”
Beu hopes her television career can bring her back south and is even eyeing Oklahoma City, she says. But. for now, she is enjoying the culture in a northern state.
She is also excited about Owasso’s success in athletics this past year, in which the football and girls’ basketball teams won state championships, and a wrestler took home an individual title as well. Beu also liked that the Rams broke the Jenks-Union stronghold on the gridiron.