The Maple Grove girls’ swimming and diving team started the fall season not with a bang, but with the rip that comes from entering the water during a perfectly executed dive.
Top diving scores helped propel Maple Grove to an undefeated conference season thus far with an overall record of 4-1 this fall, with strong performances from the 67-person team that includes 11 seniors and 11 juniors. The goal for the Crimson women, led by captains Orly and Lexi Tenenbaum, Emily Schwen and Kelly Gu, is to take the Northwest Suburban conference title for the ninth consecutive year.
The team lost a dozen swimmers and divers to graduation and swimming coach Matt Schoen is pushing the girls to reach their physical peak in time to take home another title.
“I’m still trying to figure out the makeup of the championship team,” Schoen said. “Everybody has a shot, and everyone has to earn their spot every year.”
Senior Lexi Tenenbaum, who started focusing exclusively on diving only last year, has already broken four records going back to 2004 this season and has the top spot on the record boards at Centennial, Minnetonka and Maple Grove. She broke the Northwest Suburban conference record Sept. 20, making her the most accomplished diver in history among the 11 member schools.
“Tenenbaum has been on a quite roll with breaking records,” said diving coach Stacey Benjamin. “I think she probably just started since we have many more meets left.”
Benjamin is also looking ahead, with a young and “incredibly talented” group of divers led by juniors Lauren Biorn and Sam Peterson.
The Crimson swim team started strong against Armstrong Sept. 20, with a win in the 200 medley relay by Rosie Garvey, Gu, Kirsten Adank and Kristina Rudin with a time of 2:00.94. Sophomore Erin Buck took the top spot in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:56.66, while Rudin, a junior, led Maple Grove in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:18.80 and the 100 butterfly in 1:03.96.
Junior Molly Hebzynski took second in the butterfly with a time of 1:05.22. Adank, a senior, took the lead for Maple Grove in the 50 free with a time of 26.91, and the 100 free with a time of 1:00.42.
Orly Tenenbaum led the Crimson women in the 500 free with a time of 4:43.67, followed by Emily Sjolander, a sophomore, at 5:44.39.
Buck, Adank, Rudin and Hebzynski finished the 200 freestyle relay first in 1:44.98, followed by Schwen, Anne Rouleau, Piper Tenenbaum and Vivian Nguyen in third in 1:54.47. Rouleau, an 8th grader, led Maple Grove in the 100 backstroke with a 1:11.36, followed by sophomore Garvey in 1:11.87. Lauren Brosseau, a sophomore, finished in first place in the 100 breaststroke in 1:19.40.
Maple Grove took second in the final race of the night, the 400 free relay, in 4:02.78 with a team of Brooke Soller, Nguyen, Gu and Elizabeth Cortez.
Maple Grove will host the Crimson Invite Saturday, Sept. 29 at 9 a.m., welcoming about 180 swimmers from Wayzata, Cretin-Derham Hall, Armstrong and Wisconsin’s Wausau East to Maple Grove Junior High. All are invited to attend.