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De Anza College head coach seeks to improve records of women’s, men’s swim teams

February 6, 2018

The 2018 De Anza swim team foresees hurdles as they seek to improve from an average 2017 season finish with just one coach taking on both men’s and women’s teams. De Anza men’s swim and dive finished second at the Coast Conference finals last season, while women’s swim and dive finished fifth.

With fewer athletes this season and the absence of a long-time assistant coach, questions have arisen whether or not the Dons’ programs can improve on the necessary skills needed to improve their conference records or sink into a shell of their former selves.

“For me personally, I didn’t train too much (last season). I feel very bad about it” noted Bryan Ngo, 19, kinesiology major.

Ngo placed fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke last season. Ngo stated that while he personally could have improved, the team overall did very well. Ngo wishes to compete again in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke this season and qualify for the state meet in at least one of those events. While Ngo vows to train harder, he hopes that the men’s team can maintain or improve on the previous records.

For the past two seasons, men’s swim and dive has placed second in conference overall. Last season exhibited much depth with both an elite “A” relay and a competitive “B” relay. On the women’s side, the numbers game seems to stay in the mind of swimmer Christina Egami, 20, biomedical engineering major, who has been swimming for the past 11 years.

“Last year, I was scared about the jump from high school swimming (to) collegiate swimming,” Egami said. “Now, I know how it works, and it’s time to get busy and stay focused.”

Last season, Egami placed fifth overall in the women’s 400 individual medley. Egami expressed determination to refine the women’s subpar fifth place in conference during the 2017 season. While the numbers for the women are yet again low, Egami notes that the individual talent is that much greater than before, lending hope to improvement.

The Dons swimmers are led by head coach Danielle Altman, now working double time to fill the shadow left by the departure of assistant coach Jerry Koch. Koch left after coaching the Dons for 15 seasons. Altman has been coaching men’s and women’s swim and dive for seven seasons.

“At the end of the day, we need to make sure we have every swimmer swimming their best events and scoring the most points,” Altman said. “Winning conference has much ado about swimming whatever gains the most points.”

Altman also expressed how discipline will be paramount this upcoming season, as she is taking over all the training left behind by Koch’s absence. Not only will coaching both team be strenuous, Altman said, but hosting the CCCAA State Championship swim meet will add that much more on her plate. Altman stated that while the numbers this year are smaller, more individual swimmers have a chance to compete at the state meet.

Throughout the 2018 swim and dive season, only one meet matters. That is the Coast Conference championship meet on April 20 at a location to be determined. This is where the swimmers will find out if they can represent De Anza College at the home state meet.

The Dons first meet is Friday, Feb. 9th, at Foothill College, 2:30 p.m.

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