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Swim gets a boost for NCAA

The Eagles hope to start Division II competition with a big splash.   |   Jacob Knopf/THE CHIMES [file]

 

For the second time in as many seasons, Biola’s swim team will undergo a major change starting in fall 2017. With several key veterans returning, this transition could prove even more successful than the last. At least, head coach Emily Mosbacher hopes so.

stepping it up

“I hope to step it up as far as commitment level goes,” Mosbacher said. “We will be needing a higher level of commitment from those who are on the team.”

Mosbacher, an alumna of the Eagles’ swim team herself, was hired nearly one year ago to replace her former coach Eddie Shepherd after Shepherd was promoted to associate athletic director for Internal Operations. In his 12 years as head swim coach, Shepherd elevated the program’s profile to previously unreached heights.

Mosbacher kept that momentum going in her first season at the helm, leading the team to a strong finish in their final National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championships. With Biola making the jump to NCAA Division II, however, she acknowledges there is more work to be done.

“It’s gonna take more of, like, a perspective or culture shift a little bit with putting swimming at maybe a higher priority than it has been in the past,” Mosbacher said. “I know that [with] swimmers it has to be a priority. You’re putting in so much time already. But just kind of putting that above other commitments. There’s so many things to be involved in at Biola and in college in general, so it might have to be starting to say ‘no’ to some things to really put more of an emphasis and priority on swimming and training.”

Superstar Lisa Tixier will be back for her senior season after an incredible junior campaign. The NAIA named her Female Swimmer of the year and she won two individual national titles. Mosbacher has also tabbed her to take a leadership role on the team going forward. Tixier will join fellow seniors Daniel Vale, Tom Franicevich and Samantha Dammann as the first four swim captains in Eagles history, tasked with leading Mosbacher’s hoped-for culture improvement.

experience with upheaval

Logistically, the Eagles’ practice and meet schedule will not look much different. They will still retain membership in the Pacific Collegiate Swim and Dive Conference and face off against many of their old NAIA and NCAA foes. Mosbacher also said practices will not be heavily affected by the move.

However, the swim program will be getting a facelift as part of Biola’s new apparel contract with Adidas and money from the school’s recent five-year fundraising campaign.

“We’re getting new gear [from Adidas] so that’s a big upgrade,” said current freshman Raymond Kam. “We’re getting a new timing system up at our pool. We have really expensive touchpads and a scoreboard that will be coming in June.”

Kam has experience with upheaval, as his swim team at Gabrelino High School in San Gabriel, Calif. went through major changes while he was there. He not only plans to refocus on improving himself as a swimmer, he also hopes to be a resource for Mosbacher and her coaching staff as they head into this new era of Biola swim together.

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