Lehman chooses JMU
Everything has worked out well for the Lehman family. Former Parkland diver Chris Lehman is now attending Shippensburg University and playing in the marching band, while twin sisters Lexi and Sydney are off to college in the fall, with Lexi continuing her diving career at James Madison University and Sydney likely doing club wrestling at Bloomsburg University.
Plus, dad Cary Lehman resigned from his longtime job as the coach of Parkland’s diving program and plans on traveling to see all three of his children enjoy their college lives.
“It really has worked out well,” said Lexi, who finished sixth at this year’s PIAA Diving Championships at Bucknell University. “I’m the furthest away – about four hours – but on my way home, Shippensburg is close so I can pick up Chris and Sydney is pretty close at Bloomsburg. I can see my parents spending a lot of time traveling from school to school.”
For Lexi Lehman, attending James Madison, where she will major in biology, gives her what she wanted in both a school and a diving program.
“For some reason, I just wanted to get out of Pennsylvania and James Madison has a great academic reputation,” said Lehman. “Their diving program is incredible and always competitive, and I loved the divers that I met there and the coaches. The campus is beautiful, and it just all felt right.”
James Madison University is in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The Dukes were Colonial Athletic Association champions this past season, but the NCAA Championship was canceled.
This year’s PIAA Diving Championships will forever be known as the one that was interrupted by the coronavirus. When Lehman went into the diving portion of the championships, she and the other divers were aware that the 3A finals scheduled for that night and all of the 2A competition had been canceled.
“It was difficult because we had a lot of swimmers who were looking forward to competing that night and that got canceled,” said Lehman. “Before the diving we were all crying, and it was really sad, but all of my teammates were on the deck cheering us on and that meant a lot. It was disappointing, and the bus ride home was really sad.”
The effects of the coronavirus have also impacted Lehman’s off-season training regimen. Normally, she would take a couple of weeks off before heading right back to the diving board for training. Now, she hasn’t been on a diving board in two months and is using a trampoline to help her maintain some routine in her training.
“I would normally be at a pool, but I do use the trampoline as part of my training routine,” Lehman said. “This year though I’ve been limited to the trampoline.”
Some colleges have committed to having classes on campus in the fall and others haven’t. James Madison University hasn’t said anything official, but Lehman sees signs of hope that she will be able to start her freshman year at JMU in a normal way.
“I know they’re selling football tickets, so that’s a good sign,” said Lehman with a slight laugh. “I am really ready to get back to normal and put all of this uncertainty behind and just get on with life and school and diving.”