Areal Tolsma appointed head diving coach at the University of Davenport



Areal Tolsma has been active in diving in Western Michigan for the past decade.

She dived at Holland Christian and Hope College before assisting her alma mater as a dive trainer and also as a trainer with Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics.

Tolsma will continue these coaching roles this school year, but will add another. She was named the Head Coach of Diving at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, an NCAA Division II program.

The opportunity is worth the workload for Tolsma.

“It’s an incredible opportunity. When I started coaching at Holland Christian 4.5 years ago, I had no idea what it was going to become. I went from knowing nothing about being a dive coach to wanting to spend all my free time on the pool deck, ”Tolsma said. “In high school and college, everyone tells students to ‘find what you love and do it’, and for me it’s coaching. This year I’m coaching Davenport, Holland Christian and MLA Dive, which is about 40 hours per week at the pool. It might sound like a lot, and it is, but I truly consider 40 hours a week to allow me to do what I love. It brings me so much joy when I work with athletes through the good and bad sides that life brings to them – celebrating their successes, working with them through tough times and pushing them to do more than they realize. possible.

It was an opportunity that presented itself at the end of the year for Tolsma, who will work with head swimming coach Justin Vasquez.

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“I am delighted to be coaching Davenport divers this year. Justin contacted me a few weeks before the start of the season to see if I was interested in joining the DU coaching staff and I knew right away that I wanted to talk to him about the opportunity. Justin has built a successful team that is intentional in their relationships and from my first day on deck I was greeted with open arms, ”she said. “Just as Justin has built the swimming side over the past five years, I hope to keep and develop the diving side over the next five years. I obviously don’t know what the future holds for me, but I can easily see myself in Davenport for the next few years at a minimum. I am honored to be a part of this team and this coaching team.

The team are thrilled to have her, especially former Holland diver Christian Emily Bolt, who is team captain this season.

“Areal is a great addition to the Davenport coaching staff,” said Bolt. “When I found out she had been hired, I was so excited. Areal and I were teammates when I was in first year and she was in the last year of high school. Since then she has been a supporter and friend of mine. She’s a young coach who helps her identify with us and she remembers just as clearly what it was like to dive at a college level because that was her not too long ago. She understands that some days we are exhausted from the demands of school and life.

Following:Emily Bolt named captain of Davenport swim and diving team

It will also be essential outside the pool for Davenport divers, Bolt said.

“Areal has a deep love and passion for the sport and it shows in the way she coaches. She tries to help kids understand how diving works, ”Bolt said. “She is a coach to whom I can ask questions and she will be happy to explain what she means by the corrections she has made or what the purpose of the exercises is. Areal is the type of coach who cares about you as much if not more as a person than he cares about an athlete. She knows that after college is over you’re likely to be done diving, so she delves into your character, goals, and dreams outside of the pool.

– Contact sports editor Dan D’Addona at Dan.D’[email protected] Follow him on twitter @DanDAddona and Facebook @Holland Sentinel Sports.


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