NEW ORLEANS, La., June 19. THE Tulane University women's swimming and diving program added another coach as Lena Darnell was named top assistant, head coach Daniella Irle announced on Friday.
Darnell, who spent the previous two seasons at TCU and swam collegiately for Irle at Fresno State from 1997-2001, will be responsible for coordinating recruiting, on-deck swimming duties, dryland design and administrative support for the swimming and diving programs, as well as all home meet management. She replaces Frannie
DeBord who left Tulane at the end of the 2003-04 season.
“Lena is one of the best young coaches in the country right now,” Irle said. “She was part of winning programs both as a student-athlete and as a coach. She is very blue collar in her work ethic and she truly loves the sport. Those two things combine to make her a great fit for Tulane’s swimming and diving philosophies.
“She not only brings good technical knowledge to our program, but a great enthusiasm as well. She is incredibly excited to be joining the new, up-and-coming program. Her high energy and determination will be critical for this young team, and I feel that the team will benefit greatly from her presence at workouts.”
Darnell comes to Tulane after two seasons as a graduate assistant at Conference USA rival TCU. She helped the men’s squad win its third consecutive C-USA Championship and was instrumental in leading the women’s team to its first league title. She assisted in training four NCAA provisional qualifiers.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this program,” Darnell said. “I’ve had the chance to see this team compete, and they’re a very talented group of young ladies. I think it’s going to be a great season and I have no doubt that it’ll be a successful year for both the swimming and diving programs.”
Prior to coaching at TCU, Darnell was the head women’s swimming and water polo coach at Clovis East High School in Clovis, Calif. In addition to her background as a swim coach, Darnell also worked as an intern in the Fresno State strength and conditioning center in Spring 2001 where she primarily worked with the football team. A native of Spring Valley, Calif., Darnell completed her degree in kinesiology from Fresno State in 2001 and is currently working toward completing a master’s degree in kinesiology from TCU.