Athlete of the Week: Alexis Bedford, senior, Newark diving
THE WEEK: Won her fourth consecutive state title in girls 1-meter diving at the DIAA Swimming and Diving Championships, scoring 378.40 points to edge Charter of Wilmington’s Katherine Langseder (373.60) on Feb. 25 at the University of Delaware.
THE DIVES: There are five categories of dives in 1-meter diving – front, back, inward, reverse and twist. At the state meet, competitors perform two dives in each category, plus one more of their choice. Bedford said back dives are her best.
THE MENTAL GAME: “It’s really a mental sport,” Bedford said. “You have to really envision that your dive is going to be perfect. You can do it over and over again, your body knows how it’s supposed to be. But sometimes, you mess up a little bit and you just have to keep going.”
THE SETBACK: Bedford clipped her heels on the board on a back 1½ somersault, the second of eight preliminary dives at this year’s state meet. “It was really frustrating because it was a dive that I always nail,” she said. “I didn’t expect it to happen… I just came out a little bit early, hit my feet on the board.”
THE COMEBACK: The mistake cost Bedford about 30 points, but she still rallied to win her fourth title. “I always tell them it’s 90 percent mental, 10 percent physical,” said Christina School District diving coach Kristin Jeanne, who won a state 1-meter title at St. Mark’s in 2000. “She physically can do every single dive, but when you’re standing on a diving board with all eyes on you and it’s very quiet, it can be very, very stressful. She always handles that pressure extremely well.”
THE FUN: “I like the challenges of it,” said Bedford, a gymnast for seven years before starting to dive in the eighth grade. “You can always learn a new dive, perfect your old dives. You can’t really get worse. You always are improving.”
THE CLASSROOM: Bedford’s favorite subject is Math. “I’ve never really been into English, but I’ve always liked numbers,” she said.
THE FUTURE: Bedford plans to attend the University of Delaware and major in exercise science. She is undecided on whether she will continue diving for the Blue Hens.
Send Athlete of the Week nominations to Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ