Daniella Irle enters her second season as the head coach of the Tulane women's swimming & diving team, intent on continuing the program's rise towards national prominence.
From all indications, year one of the plan was a rousing success. In its first season of competition after a 13-year hiatus, Irle led the swimming team to an impressive 13-3 (.817) dual meet record. And if the overall record weren't impressive enough, the Green Wave also finished fifth at the Conference USA Championship meet despite not fielding a diving team.
During the course of the 2003-04 season, Irle's swimmers set 19 school records, recorded three NCAA Championship qualifying times, eight U.S. Open qualifying marks and turned in an amazing 286 Top Three event finishes. Six different swimmers were selected to the All-Conference USA team, led by freshman Linda McEachrane, who was chosen as the league's Freshman Swimmer of the Year. McEachrane's honors didn't end there, however, as the Trinidad & Tobago native was selected to represent her country at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Under Irle's guidance, McEachrane was also an NCAA Championships participant. Irle also coached Leslie Christian to a C-USA Swimmer of the Week award.
Irle's charges also fared well in the classroom, with the squad posting an impressive 3.194 team GPA during the 2004 spring semester, with 11 individuals earning at least a 3.0.
Born in New Orleans, Irle officially joined the Green Wave family on Nov. 1, 2002 after a 10-year stint as the head coach at Fresno State where she led the Bulldogs to a 93-33 (.738) composite dual meet record and had winning seasons in nine of her 10 campaigns. In six of her seasons, the Bulldogs won at least 10 meets, including an impressive 11-1 showing during the 1997-98 season.
Her Fresno State teams broke 79 school records during her tenure, and her swimmers account for nearly 90 percent of the school's all-time top five performances in each event. Irle had NCAA qualifiers in nine events and NCAA provisional-cut qualifiers in 11 events.
The Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1995, Irle coached 17 All-WAC performers and helped swimmers qualify for the USA Olympic Selection Meet in 1996 and 2000. In 1996, Holly Ganatt garnered the first All-American awards in school history and she would have All-American and honorable mention All-American honors in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Irle also saw the revival of Fresno State's Diving program in 1997.
Irle also led her charges to success in the classroom as well, guiding student-athletes to Academic All-American honors in 1995 and 1998, respectively. During her stay at Fresno State, the Bulldogs had a 100 percent graduation rate for athletes who completed all four years of eligibility, and her teams were recognized as Academic All-American squads by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) for 15 consecutive semesters.
More recently, Fresno State's team had a 3.35 grade point average during the fall of 2001, which was the highest GPA in the program's history and ranked 11th nationally. The team's 3.28 GPA in the fall of 1997 ranked sixth nationally.
Irle places an emphasis on a "team first" attitude which leads to both team and individual successes. During the 2001-02 season, the team set 144 personal bests, seven school records and had seven US Open Qualifiers. Her swimmers also produced three National Cuts and 18 Bonus National Cuts. Four of her swimmers and divers qualified for the NCAA Championships while her athletes produced top five performances in their respective events on six different occasions.
In addition to directing the Bulldog swimming and diving programs, Irle was heavily involved in other areas of collegiate athletics during her stay at Fresno State. In 1998, she was a member of the Subcommittee on Equity for NCAA Certification and was asked to serve on the 1999-00 Athletic Department Compliance Committee. During her decade at FSU, Irle was a committee member for the hiring of 25 athletic department and University positions, including the major committees for the athletic director and head football coach positions in 1997.
Irle had been heavily involved in the development and implementation of a progressive and "swimming specific" conditioning program.
Prior to her arrival at Fresno State, Irle spent the 1991-92 season as an assistant coach at Texas, where she helped lead the Longhorns' women's team to a second-place finish at the NCAA Championship meet. She helped coach athletes to 47 different All-American performances, three individual national titles, one relay national title and an American record in the 200 backstroke. She also helped Texas gain one of the best recruiting classes in school history, signing six athletes with national or international level experience.
Irle also spent two seasons as an assistant coach at LSU, helping the Tigers to a pair of Top 20 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
During her years as a swimming coach, Irle has joined forces with the strength and conditioning coaches she has worked with to develop what many consider to be an extremely progressive and "swimming specific" conditioning program.
Irle also had significant experience coaching at the club swimming level. From 1984-89, she served as the head coach of the Spindletop Swimming Club, a USS team based in Nederland, Texas. During her tenure there, Irle placed an athlete in the World and Unites States rankings and had Senior and Junior National qualifiers. In 1988, she helped the former Christina Stinson qualify for the U.S. Olympic Selection meet, and in 1989, she helped place Stinson on the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival team.
Irle, a 1987 honors graduate of Lamar Univeristy, is a member of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), the World Swimming Coaches Association and the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. She was the recipient of the ASCA Certificate of Excellence in 1989, 1996 and 1998.