Reclusado brings Division I experience to ULV

by Tom Galaraga
Staff Writer

With little margin for error, they stand on their toes at the edge the platform, ignoring the distance below them as they prepare to poetically fall from dangerous heights.

Paying no attention to the cold sting of the water, they enter gracefully into an Olympic sized pool, surfacing almost immediately to the sound of cheers from fellow team members and schoolmates.

Making a big splash at the University of La Verne is Toby Reclusado, the University’s new head diving coach.

Reclusado replaces Justin Borba, who after a single season, resigned last year.

While attending the University of California, Santa Barbara and earning his bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology, Reclusado competed on the collegiate level and also participated as part of the United States Senior Team where he was a two-time semi-finalist in 1996 and ’97. He is the current Big West Conference record holder and is also a four-time Big West Champion.

“He is a very accomplished diver in himself,” said John Hallman, head aquatics coach.

Having attended UCSB from 92-93, Reclusado transferred to UCLA where he remained from 93-94. He transferred to Louisiana State to pursue diving after the NCAA passed the Title IV ruling that required gender equality amongst athletic programs. As a result, the UCLA men’s swimming and diving team was cut.

Reclusado returned to UCSB in 1995 where he earned his bachelor’s degree.

Upon graduating from UCSB, Reclusado began his coaching career at the Division I level, coaching the UCSB Gauchos. While coaching at UCSB, he earned two consecutive conference championships. He also produced four individual first place finishes.

After coaching for UCSB, Reclusado began coaching for M. San Antonio College, where he produced its first conference victory.

Reclusado continues to use the Mt. SAC swimming facilities to coach the Buzzard’s Beak club diving team, where he coaches divers ranging in age 5 five to 20.

Coming to ULV as head diving coach, Reclusado carries nine years of coaching experience with him.

“Bottom line is he knows how to win,” Hallman said. “He knows what it takes to win.”

Hallman, recognizing the importance of a strong diving team, said Reclusado’s presence has made an instant impact with the team and will affect the entire swim team’s ability to compete at higher levels.

“It is a big priority to have a strong diving program because diving in the sense of trying to have a winning program is a key element,” Hallman said.

With the resignation of Borba and the loss of several athletes, Reclusado comes into the position as a means of “grounding the team and starting over, moving in the right direction,” said Hallman.

“It’s a little bit shaky for me,” said Reclusado. “I know that once someone has done something to tarnish the position; it’s how stereotypes happen. I know I will be watched and people will expect negative things to happen, but people will be pleasantly surprised with the performances I offer, I hope.”

Due to the reduced size of the dive team, Reclusado will have the responsibility of rebuilding and recruiting. According to Hallman, Reclusado is “definitely the right guy.”

“Athletes need to be exposed to what they can do. Athletes at the Division III level don’t expect that much out of themselves at times and it is important to open their eyes and expose them to a higher level of expectation for themselves,” Reclusado said.

After meeting with the aquatics program, Reclusado immediately received positive remarks in anticipation for the upcoming season.

As an accomplished diver, Reclusado believes that his experience will provide the University with a stronger aquatics program, capable of higher levels of competition.

While training for the Olympic Trials, Reclusado suffered an injury to the shoulder that inhibited his ability to take part in the trials. He has been coaching since his injury and still enjoys diving on a recreational level.

“I think I’ll be coaching for a while, I plan to go into business later on,” said Reclusado. “I love to coach, it’s what I like right now.”

Reclusado is currently completing his MBA at La Verne.

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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