Performing in testing waters

No longer new to the waters of the Mt. Baldy League, the varsity swim team has proved themselves a force to be reckoned with after dominating the league last year. The Brahmas entered the season continuing last year’s success at the Riverside Poly Pentathlon and in a meet against Chino Hills.

The pentathlon, held at Riverside Poly High School on Feb. 22, is an annual swim event at the beginning of the season in which  15 schools compete in five events to get to know one another’s strengths and weaknesses. 

This year, Diamond Bar swimmers placed second, losing  to Murrieta Mesa High School 254-200, but placing far above third place Crean Lutheran.

“I was really pleased with how the kids did because we had only been in the water for about a week,” head coach Darlys Ankeny said.

Varsity girls did especially well at the pentathlon, making up the team’s top three scorers. Sophomore Kaimin Tsuei placed first in three events: the 50 yard backstroke, 50 yard freestyle and 100 yard individual medley. In the 50 yard backstroke she swept the competition, taking first place by more than two seconds at 26.67 seconds. Freshman Elleanna Ramos also did well, placing second in the 25 and 50 yard freestyle and third in 75, 100 and 200 yard freestyle.

On the boys side, sophomore Brady Xie took second place in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:51.12, and also finished third in two events: the 50 and 100 freestyle, while junior Stephen Lee took home fourth in the 100-yard individual medley with a time of 59.47.

The team’s first official meet against Chino Hills on March 10 went just as well, if not better, as Diamond Bar beat the team—an accomplishment they narrowly missed last year. Despite the rainy and cold weather conditions, the Brahmas crushed Chino Hills, 364-209, with both the boys and girls team leading by at least 70 points. 

This season, Ankeny has implemented more cross-fit and dryland training into the team’s practices. For example, the team utilizes medicine balls to work on their core and abdominal muscles.

“We did really good…and I think that’s partly due to Coach Darlys and her sets; they were really engaging and fun. They really helped me work on my technique, my flip turns and whatnot, so I could be the best I could be,” sophomore Brian Hsu said.

Ankeny attributes some of the success to the team being more well-rounded in depth and talent. Last year, the team lacked female swimmers, but this year the numbers are more balanced. Additionally, many athletes were absent from the Chino Hills meet last year.

“We were missing a lot of our good swimmers last year because they were going to sectionals, so this year we [scheduled] our meet for after sectionals,” Ankeny said.

To improve times, swimmers are working on their flip turns, which Ankeny says can make or break an athlete’s time. 

In the middle and longer distance events such as the 100 yard freestyle and 200 yard freestyle,  flip turning well can lead to dropping seconds off of a swimmer’s race time, which can be the difference between winning first or second place and also qualifying for CIF.

Due to the coronavirus, the team will not compete at the annual Mt. SAC Winterfest this weekend. Hsu mentioned how the meet was highly anticipated for many of the swimmers, and how the cancellation was disheartening.

“It’s one of the best meets of the season cause it’s something that a lot of people look forward to. We all suit up, get our best goggles, suits and whatnot to do our best,” Hsu said.

The next meet for the Brahmas will be tomorrow at Montclair.