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Chris Murphy, Published November 17 2013

Spuds pair set for state swimming and diving meet


Moorhead senior diver Maren Seljevold decided to take a break from year-round gymnastics as a sophomore when she tore her meniscus.

Seljevold still did high school gymnastics, but she wanted to go a little easier on herself. For her, that apparently meant jumping off a diving board, flipping in the air and trying to land as straight as possible in the water.

Seljevold knows she’s crazy. She just tries not to think about it.

“I try not to think too much about it because overthinking it scares me a little bit,” Seljevold said. “I’ve been doing it since I was little and it’s stuck with me and I love every minute of it. I kind of think I’m crazy myself, but it’s just what I love to do.”

What Seljevold has been doing for over 13 years is jumping off things and twisting and turning her body in ways most can’t imagine. She has the battle wounds of a gymnast to prove it, with a torn meniscus, broken pinky toe to go along with many aches and sprains.

What she also has to go with the scars is a trip to the state gymnastics meet last year on the balance beam, vault and in the all-around. Now, she can add a trip to the Class 2A state swimming and diving meet to the list.

It was an easy transition from gymnastics to diving. Seljevold just had to make sure not to forget one important thing.

“The only difference was landing on my head instead of my feet,” Seljevold said. “It was kind of easy. My body knows how to flip. The landing was the scary thing for me. Not really so much the water.”

Seljevold will head to the University of Minnesota aquatics center today through Wednesday for the state meet with teammate and sophomore Kenya Arends, who qualified in the 100-yard freestyle.

Unlike Seljevold, who has to lick her fingers, then her thumbs and rub them together before each dive, Arends doesn’t really have a routine. She just does.

“I don’t really think. I just do,” Arends said. “When it comes to the end of the race, all I think about is that I have to give it everything I got because pain is temporary. Success is forever.”

Last season, Arends finished 24th in the 200 freestyle and was part of the Moorhead 200 freestyle relay team that finished sixth in the state. She’s listed six times on the record board for pool records and school records at the Moorhead High School pool.

Arends has seen success. For someone who swims 20 hours a week, Arends wants more.

“I want to make the finals this year,” Arends said. “It’s cool knowing that I can continue and get a lot better. Hopefully when I’m a senior I can make top eight or win state.”

For Arends, she’s seen the bright lights of state. It no longer overwhelms her.

“It’s still really exciting, but last season it felt like I was traveling to a different world,” Arends said. “This year, it feels like I’m just going to another meet that’s big.”

Seljevold may be making her first trip to state swimming and diving, but it’s going to take a lot more than some bright state lights to scare someone who jumps off things for fun.

“I’m really excited about it,” Seljevold said. “I was really bummed about not making it last year, so I just worked my butt off and I’m so happy about it.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548