Photos By Keith Durflinger, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Twice as many students tried out for Diamond Bar’s swim team, thanks to the new $4 million Denis R. Paul Aquatic Center.
“We had more than 130 kids try out for the team on Jan. 8-11,” said Brahmas’ Athletics Director Kurt Davies.
Davies was on hand to watch new swim coach Darlys Ankeny put the student athletes through their paces. Ankeny coached the Trident Swim Club in Rowland Heights.
“I’m excited to coach the Brahma team in this brand-new facility,” Ankeny said. “My first task will be to select 80 swimmers for the new team.”
Young swimmers filled the pool over the three-day tryout, hoping to snag one of the coveted spots.
“I was very shocked when this many students tried out; it was hard to believe,” said 17-year-old team captain Matt Sia.
“Every one wants to be on the new team, including my 14-year-old sister Tritia,” agreed co-captain Theresa Luk.
The 17-year-old senior noted that girls’ varsity won the league championship last year.
Now, the Brahmas have a sparkling new swim complex to defend their title in. The season begins Feb. 18 with a pentathlon competition.
“I’m looking for swimmers with a good work ethic, as well as style and endurance,” Ankeny said.
Each candidate was asked to list three individual goals plus three team goals. They were even asked to write down something personal that they wanted the coach to know.
“One of swimmers said they were also hula dancers,” Ankeny said.
The new pool will allow the Brahmas to begin practice much earlier.
“Now, we can start practice in sixth period, instead of having to wait until 6 p.m. to drive over to Walnut High and use their swimming pool,” said Luk.
For many years, Diamond Bar has used the Walnut High pool after the Mustangs were done with their practices.
The Brahmas now also have a new home for their swim meets. Family and friends will be able to root their swimmers on in Diamond Bar.
“The aquatic center is going to be a real game changer in our swim program, we’re already benefiting from a huge increase in interest and talent,” said Athletic Director Davies.