The large Crimson record board in Blodgett Pool is filling up with the name Jenny Greene. She is simply Harvard's top diver, ever.
"Her most outstanding characteristic is talent; her ability to do the dives exceeds all others in the league," says Diving Coach Jeff Mule. "On the Eastern Seaboard, she and two others are in a class by themselves."
Over the next three days, those three divers, Greene, Princeton's Andi Suess and Penn State's Elizabeth O'Keefe, will be competing at Blodgett in the Eastern Championships.
Greene, a junior in Leverett House, is the tow-time defending champion on the 3-meter board and finished second last year on the 1-meter. She has twice captured the Outstanding Diver Award, which goes to the diver with the highest combined points in the meet.
Greene has been diving since she was a child: "I started when I was eight years old. I was really fascinated by [diving] and so I played around on the boards. The coach needed eight-and-under divers and so she asked me if I could do four dives. I couldn't so she taught me. I learned the dives to compete and was on my way."
But the road was long and difficult: "At 15 I started to take diving seriously. I tried out for the Morningside Muggers, a team at Columbia University."
For Greene, who is from Darien, Conn., the commitment became a family one. "It was a five hour trip each time I went to New York. My dad would usually drive, sit in the stands and do work when I dove, and then take me home. It involved a lot of dedication on his part," Greene says.
It also involved a lot of dedication on her part. "I basically quit everything and just did diving," Greene says.
Junior year in high school, Greene's New York coach left to take a coaching position at SMU. Greene also decided to leave the Muggers and enroll at Phillips Academy. "The diving program there was horrible so I came in here to Harvard to dive with the age-group team," says Greene.
After 10 years of diving, she needed a change. "Senior year I lost interest and wanted to try something new," she says. "I was just burnt out. I really enjoy diving but I was getting down on myself, and like any other athlete I needed a break."
But diving is not just something Greene does, it is a part of her: "After a while [of not diving]. I felt like some part of my life was missing."
As a freshman here at Harvard, Greene was diving again. And she was doing it well, very well in fact. She broke the Harvard records, then rebroke them again and again. This pattern continued thoughout here first two years here.
This season, fewer records have fallen. "I was very slow getting going," says Greene. "My first meets weren't as good as I would have hoped. [But] my most recent dual meets have been much better. I feel like I am improving every week so that keeps me going."
Greene is very much looking forward to these Easterns and the strong competition. "There isn't a lot of good competition in our dual meet season. I need to motivate myself because I could dive poorly and still win most meets but I wouldn't feel good about it," Greene says.
One of her toughest competitors, Suess, is a long-time rival of Greene's. The two have competed against each other since they were 13, but this time the battle may be a little fiercer, Earlier this year, Suess handed Greene her only defeat of the dual meet season, something that Greene has not forgotten. But she feels that "it is fun to compete with her. Andi always pushes me."
Ther is a good chance that Suess will push Greene enough to break the only two pool records she does not own. Those records are for 11-dive totals, only performed in championship meets like Easterns. "I finally get a chance at the pool records, because we have never had a championship meet here," Greene says.
She also has a very good chance at winning on both borads and taking her third Outstanding Diver Award--winning it all, so to speak.
But as Mule is quick to point out, "If she were to miss a dive, she could be beaten by a mediocre diver. When the nerves are raging, you have to come through. But Jenny has proven that she can do that over the last two years."
Greene is fired up for the meet and the 22 different dives she will do. However, she has no definite predictions.
"You never know what will happen on a given day," Greene says. "But I'm going to go for it."