Lena Darnell begins her first season with the Tulane swimming and diving program as the top assistant coach. Darnell, who swam for current Tulane head coach Daniella Irle from 1997-2001 at Fresno State, 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.
Darnell comes to Tulane after two seasons as a graduate assistant at Conference USA rival TCU, where she coached both the men's and women's teams on the pool deck as well as in the weight room. She helped the men's squad win its third consecutive C-USA Championship, was instrumental in leading the women's team to its first league title, and also assisted in the training of four NCAA provisional qualifiers.
Prior to her stint at TCU, Darnell was the head women's swimming and water polo coach at Clovis East High School in Clovis, Calif., during the 2001-02 academic year. While at Clovis East, she helped the varsity swim team attain 91 percent lifetime best times at the Tri-River Athletic Conference and Valley Championship swim meets. In addition, every team record was broken several times throughout the season.
A standout student-athlete at Fresno State, Darnell helped set a school record in the 400-yard freestyle relay in 2000, as well as breaking team weightlifting standards in the bench press and the squat. She was also named Western Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete and WAC All-Academic Team all four years, and received the Bulldogs' "Flex Award" for leadership in the weight room.
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 certified U.S. Swim Coach and 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.