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Daria Schneider

Board Spotlight: Daria Schneider

Position: Athlete Director

What does your role as the Athlete Director entail?

As a board member my role is learning the structure and operational functions of USA fencing and all it's branches and helping shape the direction of our organization. As an athlete representative my job is to have an eye and ear out for policies and changes that effect the athletes, express the athlete perspective and advocate appropriate sports performance initiatives.

What interested you about being on the board?

I served as an athlete representative on the athlete advisory committee for a long time and Soren Thompson and Cody Mattern were both mentors to me. They recruited me to run for the board position when it came open.

You're a Division I saber National Champion and have represented Team USA internationally. What do you love most about the sport?

I love the complexity of fencing. It is one of the most multifaceted and complex sports. I love that amidst that complexity success requires, as an athlete or a coach, constant focus on the details and breaking the sport down into it's simplest components.

How did you start fencing?

I played many sports growing up, however fencing was the only individual sport I played. I was an incredibly competitive kid and I loved seeing the correlation between the amount of work I put in and my achievements in the sport. I also had the best coach in fencing of any of my sports, Ariana Klinkov, and she gave me the tools I needed to excel as a young athlete. 

You're the Head Coach at Cornell University. Have you always wanted to coach?

It wasn't something I thought I would do, but the complexity of college coaching is incredible. There are different challenges everyday. It's like running a company and overseeing multiple business units; you are constantly creating training programs, tracking performance, fundraising, communicating with your alumni, parents, athletes and administrators, recruiting, there is a lot of writing, and creating the culture you want. The beauty is the program becomes as strong as the quantity, quality and efficiency of the work that you do. 

When I graduated from Columbia I had no idea what college coaching was; I accepted the assistant coaching position because it was convenient. The role allowed me to train and compete full time - I was on the national team at the time - and I had a lot of coaching experience. Working at Columbia I was blown away by what a complex job head coaching was and the kind of opportunities available for a hard working and ambitious head coach.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to workout and learn how to play new sports. I also like to read.

Date Created: May 2017