It’s rare when Lynn’s three public high schools can bask in the glow of a singular athletic achievement, but Classical coach Denise Silva, Tech coach Brad Tilley, and English coach Lisa Trahant are smiling about the success of the divers in the Lynn swimming programs this season.
Six student-athletes – Matt DeMirs and Brandie Holland of Lynn English, Doug Sermeno, Rob Miele, and Diyan Gonzalez of Tech, and Rachael Thomas of Classical -have qualified for the Sectional Meet at MIT in February. It is believed to be the highest number of qualifiers in the city’s swimming history.
Silva said all three schools can take pride in the success of the divers.
“What a wonderful tribute that is to the city of Lynn, the youth of the city, the city-wide diving coach Donald McKenney, and to the dedication all of the coaches,” said Silva. “It’s very nice that you can have three programs working so cohesively, taking 100 student-athletes and putting out that type of athletic talent. We have great kids academically as well as athletically.”
McKenney, who serves as the diving coach for all three teams, said that divers must score over 160 points in a meet to earn an invitation to the Sectionals. Demers, Thomas, Holland and Gonzalez have also exceeded the 178-point plateau needed to qualify for the State Meet.
McKenney was asked about the surge in qualifiers for the Sectional Meet.
“I think we have a very dedicated group that really puts their hearts into it and loves the sport,” said McKenney, a 1992 graduate of Tech where he served as swimming captain and won the diving championship at the City Meet. “They’re making tremendous efforts at practice. I wish I could take all the credit but I can’t because these kids love the sport.”
McKenney said the City Meet on February 4 should be one of the most competitive ever in the diving event.
“I can’t predict who’s going to be the city champion because it’s going to be a very tight competition,” said McKenney.
“This is going to be one of the best competitions for diving at the City Meet in a long, long time,” said assistant coach Charlie Rowe. “All three schools have outstanding divers and younger divers who are doing very well.”
Silva said the entire City Meet should be an exciting one. “The Tech pool will be rocking like a DJ out of control with all with all the enthusiasm for the sport when the three teams show off against each other,” said Silva.
As a freshman, Gonzalez has been an impressive newcomer to long-time coach Brad Tilley’s program. English’s Holland, who is competing in first-year coach Lisa Trahant’s program, joins her brother Eddie, a former Bulldogs’ swimmer, as a qualifier for the Sectional Meet.
“Diving seems to run in that family pretty well,” said McKenney.
Tilley credits McKenney for motivating the divers to reach a high level of excellence.
“Don is bringing these kids along really strong,” said Tilley. “My assistant coach John Hogan recruited Diyan from gym class and he’s already broken the Lynn Tech record that was set by Marcos Castellano who’s swimming for Gordon College. And Don is a just a great coach.”