Richard Dunn

Looking back on his Olympic experience more than 14 years ago,

Greg Boyer realizes that earning any medal is winning, especially

since water polo in the United States doesn't carry the same

heavyweight tag as it does in other lands.

While the silver medal isn't as glamorous as the gold, members of

the 1988 U.S. Olympic water polo team -- coached by Newport Harbor

High's Bill Barnett -- were thrilled with their finish at the Seoul


"That gold-medal game (against Yugoslavia) would probably be the

highlight, or the semifinal game when we beat Russia," Boyer said.

"We were a little disappointed to lose that final game (9-7 in

overtime), but that disappointment wore off after 24 hours and we

were happy to have won the silver."

For Boyer, a U.S. national team member from 1981 through '88, it

was his swan song. He was the second-oldest player on the Olympic

team in '88 at age 30, but one of the team's most powerful two-meter


"He had the greatest legs of any player I've ever seen," Barnett

said of Boyer. "He had fantastic balance in the water."

Boyer, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder during his heyday in the 1980s,

starred in the hole on UC Santa Barbara's 1979 NCAA championship

team, which defeated UCLA, 11-3, in the NCAA title match at Belmont


After making the U.S. national team, Boyer played in four FINA

Cups and two world championships, but missed the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He came back the next year, however, and persevered in the

U.S. program until the Seoul Games.

Boyer, who scored a goal in the semifinals against Russia and in

the gold-medal game, remembers that time well. The gold-medal game

was played on the final day of competition in the Olympics, and,

while walking around the Olympic Village, fellow Americans were

wishing them luck.

"It's the journey, not the end result," Boyer said.

These days, Boyer continues to be a familiar face in the

Newport-Mesa landscape -- or at least poolside -- as a referee and

age-group coach.

An attorney for the past 14 years whose office is by John Wayne

Airport, Boyer was a referee at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and has

coached fourth-through-eighth graders in the Newport Harbor junior

water polo club program for the past six years. There are about 100

kids in the program, Boyer said, and it's split evenly among boys and


Boyer, who graduated from Aviation High in 1975, and his wife,

Reenie, live in Laguna Beach. Reenie Boyer has been the head of

Newport Beach's junior lifeguard program for the past 20 years and is

consistently listed in the Daily Pilot's Top 103 Most Influential

People in the Newport-Mesa Community.

"Everybody knows her. She's a lot more famous in the area," said

Boyer, the latest honoree in the Daily Pilot Sports Hall of Fame.

Boyer, who grew up sailing and playing baseball and basketball,

docks his Cal 40 in Newport Harbor and is entertaining the idea of

competing in the Transpac. "It's all talk at this point," Boyer said.

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