Biola hires new swim coach
Eagles get interim replacement after previous coach’s stunning departure. | Photo Courtesy of Nathan Cook
Biola Athletics has finalized plans to hire a new interim coach for its swim and dive team with an official announcement coming later this week, according to athletic director Bethany Miller. The name of the coach has not been revealed because he had not formally agreed to a deal as of Monday afternoon.
Athletics administration initially announced their their search for an interim coach on August 14.
The news ends a month of uncertainty after the University of Denver hired previous swim coach Emily Mosbacher as an associate head coach on their swim team earlier in August. Mosbacher spent just one year at the helm of Biola’s swim program, leading it to previously unreached heights, including the first-ever national top-three finish for the women’s team in their final season as part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. After news of Mosbacher’s departure spread, the swim team faced a major crisis just days before they planned to return to campus and start fall practices.
The unusual circumstances surrounding the swim team’s first week of practice provided a trial by fire for the first four swim captains in Eagles history. However, they proved up to the challenge. Seniors Daniel Vale, Tom Franicevich, Lisa Tixier and Samantha Dammann essentially ran the team for the first week of training before assistant coach Andrew Nelson stepped in to oversee practices. Unsurprisingly, the uncertainty of the coaching situation made life harder for the team’s leadership.
“It’s hard to focus your efforts because you don’t have a real leader,” Franicevich said. “It has been challenging to take things as seriously as we need to.”
However, other members of the team praised how the four senior leaders handled their difficult circumstances.
Seniors stepping up
“Our team captains have stepped up and done an amazing job of leading us and [running] our practices and team-building,” said sophomore Baylee Lenzkes. “They just did a really good job of encouraging us through it and giving us really good perspective on the situation.”
Both Franicevich and Lenzkes also cited how the men’s and women’s swim groups each used their faith to grow stronger and closer during the transition period.
“[The men’s team has] really had to band together and that brotherhood is something we really kind of rely on,” Franicevich said. “We do a weekly Bible study together and we stay pretty tight.”
Lenzkes relayed a similar story from the other half of the team.
“It was a big bonding thing for our team,” Lenzkes said. “The girls have prayer meetings and so we got to pray over the whole situation… we didn’t know what was going to happen, but we knew that the Lord was in charge of it and that we were going through it together.”