With dominating wins at the Norco and Rowland High School swim meets, the Diamond Bar swim team launches into the season equipped with a myriad of new swimmers, recently instated leadership, and a determined mindset.
Senior swim captains, Vanessa Cheng and Isabelle Cheng, and seniors Aaron Schubel, Greg Lee, and junior Ryan Tse are leading a squad composed mostly of freshman and sophomores.
The abundance of inexperienced, newcomer swimmers poses a challenge for the team. However, under the guidance of the captains and coach Daryls Ankeny, the underclassmen swimmers have strengthened the team with their fast times and character.
Currently, the team has prevailed in relays and have had two individual records fall early in the season. At the Mt. Sac Winterfest Meet on March 13, freshman Michael Lee set the meet record with a time of 4:34 and junior Jenna Lloyd set the 100 breaststroke record at 1:05. Well-rounded swimmers such as seniors Kevin Wang, Greg Lee, and freshman William Wang are strong assets for the team.
“We have started out the season really strong and we plan to use this momentum to propel us through the rest of the season. We are in a new league this year and are looking forward to rising to the challenge,” coach Ankeny said via email.
Alongside new swimmers, the addition of new expectations from Ankeny creates a different atmosphere for the team compared to years prior. Stricter regulations are set in stone to encourage the swimmers to work harder.
The swim team practices with numerous sets to hone various areas of specialization such as distance and speed.
This year, the team hopes to improve on its camaraderie and communication skills in order to facilitate the team’s chemistry.
“[Swim] is almost like track-and-field in that everyone has his/her own events, but it just comes together in such a way for the team to win or lose. Each person has to work hard – it really comes down to that,” senior captain Schubel said.
At its latest swim meet against Walnut on March 17, the swim team won all six levels and triumphed for the first time in 16 years. The competition was tied down to the last relay. Senior Greg Lee, freshman Michael Lee and David Wang won first place in relays at the last round by 88-82, securing the overall win against Walnut. With these victories in tow, the team expects to improve its times and future meets.
“I am looking forward to a lot of ‘belief barriers’ being broken this year. Whether it be not thinking they could break the 5 min. mark for the 500 free or whether they do not believe they can make it to CIF. You have to get past the belief barrier and believe it is possible,” Ankeny said.