After 35 years and numerous Foothill League and CIF titles, Hart High School swim has a new head coach leading the pack.
Taking over as the Indians swim coach is current Paseo Aquatics Swim Club Head Age Group Coach Daiki Sato.
“I love the energy that the Santa Clarita Valley brings in terms of swimming,” Sato said. “I love how big the sport of swimming is here and the crowds and the spectacle that there is. That naturally drew me to want to be a part of this energy, this environment, so I would say that was the big draw. I know going into a pretty prestigious program like Hart High School with coach Neale, who held the reins for so many years and is well-known across SoCal, is a huge honor to take that position.”
Starting to swim competitively at the age of eight, Sato’s love for the sport only grew throughout the years, leading him on a journey to become a passionate coach.
Sato’s first coaching opportunity came in 2009 coaching the novice league for the City of Los Angeles, winning numerous LA84 titles over the course of six years.
“In every coaching rank we go through the process of starting with the younger kids so I’ve been involved with the city of LA, running their LA84 novice team, year-after-year since 2009 to about 2014,” Sato said. “That got me going working with inner-city kids and is pretty much the foundation to where I am today.”
Sato then had two-year stints, over the next six years, at East Valley High School, Patrick Henry High School in San Diego and Burbank High School before deciding to make the dive into coaching club.
Staying in Burbank, Sato became an assistant coach under Mike Lucero for the Golden Rebels Swim Team and was named the entire age group coach for his role in the 11-12 Junior Olympic Group.
“That was my first stint as a club coach and I’m super grateful for Mike Lucero, who gave me that opportunity, we built a showcase and I want to say that was my first major role,” Sato said. “It was a lot of work, a team built from the ground up that needed a lot of help. I have to say that probably also put me in this position today as far as being able to handle the stress that comes with the job and kind of overall just a learning experience.”
Gaining the knowledge and experience needed, Sato was named the Head Age Group Coach at Paseo Aquatics in 2017 and now adds Hart High Swim Coach to his resume with a couple of goals in mind.
“I want to say my eventual goal is to bring back a CIF title to this amazing program, not just winning Foothill League, but winning CIF would be my ultimate goal. I think a successful first year for us would be placing top two in league.”