By Bob San
Maple Grove senior diver Lexi Tenenbaum has a very clear goal as she enters this weekend’s state meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
“I was fourth in the state meet last year. This year my goal is to get first,” said Tenenbaum.
Who could argue with Tenenbaum’s bold goal-setting after the fabulous regular season she has enjoyed. Tenenbaum had split time between gymnastics and diving for many years, but five months ago decided to drop gymnastics and concentrate on diving. That decision, plus the hard work she put in during the off season, has turned Tenenbaum into the best diver in the state.
“I started thinking about doing diving full time after the diving season last year because I like this sport so much more after last year,” Tenenbaum said. “Last year really helped me decide because I did so well and I like it a lot. Since I was in gymnastics pretty much my whole life, it was tough to stop doing it. But once I stopped and started doing diving full-time I knew that was the right decision.”
Crimson diving coach Stacy Benjamin said concentrating on diving has allowed Tenenbaum to blossom into the dominant diver she is.
“In previous years, she was training both gymnastics and diving. She wasn’t sure which way she wanted to go because she was very accomplished in both sports,” Benjamin said. “She trained in gymnastics almost her entire life and diving was a relatively new sport for her. But she made the very difficult decision last summer to focus strictly on diving. This training shift really made vast improvements in her diving. Since the time she made the decision to focus only on diving she has been 100 percent committed.”
The results have been phenomenal. Tenenbaum has won every meet this season and her superb performances also have enticed famed University of Minnesota diving coach Wenbo Chen to offer her a diving scholarship. Tenenbaum committed to the Gophers three weeks ago.
“I always have high expectations for myself but I did not expect to be doing this well,” Tenenbaum said. “This season started off really well. I feel like I have been having really good meets and breaking school records and getting personal bests. But I still have not peaked to my full potential yet.”
Hopefully, Tenenbaum will reach her full potential at this weekend’s state meet and become the program’s first state diving champion.