Swim team siblings

A closer look at three pairs of siblings on Biola’s swim team.



Three pairs of siblings, Christian and Lisa Tixier, Samantha Sophia Dammann, and Bretton and Darrin Smith are part of the Biola swim team.

Jenna Kubiak, Writer

Biola’s swim team features three pairs of siblings this year, each different in their own way. Sisters Christine and Lisa Tixier carry on the swimming tradition in their family, twins Samantha and Sophia Dammann stick together and share their love of swimming and brothers Bretton and Darrin Smith enjoy each other’s company as a competitive duo on the team.


Senior Christine Tixier and freshman Lisa Tixier’s parents put the siblings in swim, a unisex sport, alongside their older brother and sister. Even though Christine is the older sister, Lisa started first.

Lisa looks up to Christine as source of inspiration and enjoys swimming together despite being compared to her. They maintain a healthy competition between them to help push each other in individual medley and relay events they compete in.

“It took me a few days to get used to Lisa being on my tail, but now if we both have a good race, then we both have a good race,” Christine said. “If she wins, that’s fine, as long as we both sweat hard.”

The sisters enjoy spending time together outside of practice.  They share the tradition of looking through old pictures and reflecting on memories related to swimming.

“Since we have been swimming so long, it’s always fun to look back at pictures from when we were really little and see how tiny we were,” Lisa said.


Swimming strengthened the bond between freshmen Samantha and Sophia Dammann. Anytime Samantha became discouraged and wanted to stop swimming, Sophia was there to encourage her and talk her out of it. Their high school coach put them in the same events, giving them the chance to compete against each other.

“Swimming has brought us closer. It strengthened our relationship definitely,” Samantha said. “We compete against each other in swimming, but it has taught us not to compete against each other in life.”

Swimming factored into their decision to attend Biola. Sophie originally felt torn between Biola and another school, but the twins thought it was important to stick together.

People often compare Sophia and Samantha because they are twins. Sophia said she struggled with being compared to her sister, but her experiences with this comparison allowed her to see the individuality in others.

“It’s definitely been something that I’ve struggled with in the past, not feeling like people take me as my own individual person,” Sophia said. “Being able to see people on a different level is something I’ve learned from that, and celebrating the nuances in peoples’ individual personalities.”


The Smith brothers got involved in the sport for different reasons. Both brothers began swimming later than many swimmers on the team. Bretton started his freshman year of high school, and Darrin joined his high school swim team when he was 17.

“The reason why I love swimming and continually come back to it each year is simply because of the team aspect of it,” Bretton said. “Never again in life are you going to come together and work hard for a common goal and purpose.”

The brothers did not originally swim, both Bretton and Darrin played the same position in football for four years in high school.

Bretton and Darrin swam many of the same events, a trend that continues at Biola. Their coaches in high school often put them in the same events and in lanes next to each other. The competition can be seen even outside the pool as they race to practice on their bikes.

Spending a lot of time practicing together and competing in many of the same events has also brought them closer together.

“I think we’ve definitely grown closer by doing swimming together. We spend about twenty hours a week together and go through workouts together,” Darrin said.

Bretton said he appreciates the intensity Darrin displays while swimming and how he always encourages his teammates.

“He’s a very good sport — he’s probably the most encouraging guy on the team. That’s another unique thing about Darrin,” Bretton said.

Darrin mentioned that Bretton works hard and gives him an example of a strong work ethic.

The brothers also have entertaining experiences related to the sport, including a swim meet where they both rolled off a starting block.

The siblings all possess a passion for swimming. Although they possess similarities, each individual has their own unique aspects that they contribute to the team.


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