Lenzi dives, but not likely headed first U.S. gold medalist to compete in HTH

June 11, 1993|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Staff Writer

ROCKVILLE -- Finishing first in the HTH Classic just isn't a priority for Olympic gold medalist Mark Lenzi.

"I don't expect to win any time this year," Lenzi said. "The year after the Olympics is the least important year. I've paid my dues, it's time to take a break and get caught up on my sleep."

The 24-year-old springboard diver is competing in the HTH Classic after two weeks of competitions in China and Germany.

Lenzi plans to enter three more competitions this summer and take off from diving for a month.

"It's been extremely tiring since the Olympics with all the events," Lenzi said. "I have had no time or energy to get back to my normal practice routine."

Lenzi, a native of Fredricksburg, Va., started his career in his senior year of high school with a travel burden. Because his high school did not have a diving team, he commuted an hour to train in Washington.

Three years later, Lenzi won the World Cup 1-meter springboard title in Indianapolis in his first international competition.

"Ever since I won my first time, I knew I could win the [Olympic] gold medal," said Lenzi, a six-time U.S. springboard champion. "I don't train to come in second."

Lenzi, 5 feet 5 and 145 pounds, took 3-meter titles at the National Indoor Diving Championships, the World Cup, the Pan Am Games andthe National Outdoor Diving Championships in 1991.

The following year, Lenzi's sixth in diving, he won four national and international titles along with the Olympic gold.

Since the Olympics, Lenzi placed second at the National Diving Championships in April and was a semifinalist at the World Cup in early June.

Lenzi trains in Ann Arbor, Mich., and will be competing in the area for only the second time. He finished 10th in the 3-meter springboard in the 1988 HTH Classic in Annapolis.

Scott Donnie, who won a silver on the platform at the Olympics, and Mary Ellen Clark, who won a bronze on the platform, join Lenzi in the two-day event. NCAA champions Eileen Richetelli of Stanford, Dean Panaro of Miami and P. J. Bogart of Minnesota also will compete.

The seventh annual HTH Classic features the men's and women's 3-meter springboard competition tonight at 7 and the men's and women's platform competitions tomorrow at 3 p.m. First-place finishers receive $2,000.

The HTH Classic returns to the area for the first time in five years. Last year, it was held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

HTH CLASSIC

What: Annual event in which members of the U.S. National Diving Team compete against each other.

Where: Montgomery Aquatic Center, Rockville

When: Today -- Springboard (men and women), 7 p.m.; Tomorrow -- platform (men and women), 3 p.m.

TV: TNT, 5 p.m. tomorrow

Prizes: $2,000 for first, $1,000 for second, $500 for third, $250 for fourth

Tickets: $5 per person per day, $7.50 per person both days, or $15 for a family of five or less.

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