By By Amy Padilla//Contributor | Thursday, March 26, 2020
Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics (AGUA) coach Diana Pimer has developed an impressive ability to analyze swimming from a journalistic approach, as well as from an athlete’s perspective.
Studying various viewpoints of the sport has allowed her to focus on intellectual, physical and occupational wellness, which has benefitted not only the team’s swimmers, but also her personal wellbeing.
Pimer, a Connecticut native, set five school records for West Haven High School, along with four team records for the Hopkins Mariner Swim Team as a young competitive swimmer. At Keene State College, she was a four-time school record holder and achieved College Female Athlete of the Year and Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year awards.
Pimer obtained her bachelor’s in Exercise Science and a specialization in coaching, remaining at Keene State College as an assistant coach. While at Keene, she cultivated one U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier and 10 All-American performances.
She moved on to coach for Greenwood Swimming, leading one athlete to a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. In addition, Pimer coached USA Swimming national Top 10 athletes, National Zone Select Camp qualifiers, and New England age group champions and record holders.
The young coach brought her wealth of experience to AGUA in 2017, where she still coaches today. Pimer coaches the senior level swimmers and has aided in developing three Olympic Trials qualifiers, a 2019 Junior Nationals champion, two World Junior Championship swimmers, a two-time National Junior team member and 2019 World Junior Championship medalist, eight JO gold medalists, and one Eastern Zone gold winner.
Pimer’s swimming achievements and coaching honors have promoted her own wellness by encouraging her to further her education, join a master’s swim program, and connect with others in her field.
“Intellectual wellness is definitely one of my top priorities,” she said. “I recently graduated from Quinnipiac University with my Masters in Sports Journalism. I owe a lot to my former (Chris Woolridge - Keene State College) and current (David Rodriguez - AGUA) bosses for supporting me getting my degree and helping me balance full time work, school and recovery time.
“I am often asked how journalism relates to coaching. My studies at Quinnipiac serve me every day on deck by allowing me to identify multiple sides of an issue and put events into perspective. This is knowledge I try to share with my athletes – both 10-and-under and senior level – on a daily basis. Doing so allows me to put energy into the right places. I pride myself on my attention to detail in and out of the pool. This alone sparks my confidence and supports my wellbeing.”
“Asphalt Green is dedicated to achieving health through a lifetime of sports and fitness,” Pimer continued. “I earned my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, and the field has always been important to me. So finding Asphalt Green as a place of employment has been a dream come true.
“I have the opportunity to participate in our Masters program every day. I usually swim at noon four to five times a week. The best part of swimming with the team is the accountability. As coaches, we are the ones who hold our athletes accountable, day in and day out. It is nice to be on the other side of this. The structure makes it easy to stay in the routine of working out and interact with a unique variety of different people. It’s the best outlet to differentiate each day and stay fresh.” (Editor’s Note: This was before the Coronavirus restrictions that many states and cities – including New York – put into place).
“I like to break occupational wellness into two parts. I think finding a profession that fully aligns with your values is rare. I come from a big swimming family, so every time I am on deck, I feel very connected. I know my father, uncle or cousin are likely also on a pool deck somewhere and that my younger cousins are probably at swim practice as well.
“Day to day, the balance between work and leisure is crucial. It is so easy to become overwhelmed, especially in March and July. I have a very communicative rapport with my co-10-and-under coach, Hailey Hewitt, and my boss, David Rodriguez. I have the ability to speak and act honestly at AGUA, which benefits me physically and mentally. In return, it helps the athletes as well. The more capable we are of coaching full out, the better our team becomes. As a staff at AGUA, we are very open to supporting each other’s needs throughout the season to maintain this balance.”