Five days removed from the biggest tryout of his life and 16-year-old Dashiell Enos is as cool as the other side of the pillow – better yet, the water below the diving board.
Enos, a former student at St. Francis de Sales in Sherman Oaks and a product of Studio City, will attend the London Olympic Trials in Federal Way, WA from June 16 through June 24, hoping to land a spot on the USA Olympic diving team.
And despite being only 16, in a field littered with veterans, Enos has little interest in focusing on the 2016 Olympics.
He believes he is ready now.
“I feel really confident going in this year,” Enos said. “I just have to give it my best shot and anything can happen. I think I have a shot at this Olympics and definitely at the 2016 Olympics.”
Enos’ journey to the Olympic trials has not been void of sacrifice, especially for the young diver’s family.
Dash and his mother, Mona, moved to Indianapolis in 2008, in order for Dash to train full-time at the National Training Center for the upcoming trials.
Dash’s father, Larry, a volunteer swim coach at St. Francis de Sales, remained in southern California to manage the family business and provide financial support for Dash’s training, which the Enos family is required to pay for in full.
“Other countries around the world, they pay for their athletes’ training, but we have to pay for it all,” Mona said. “And you have to train this much. So it’s tough. It’s really expensive.”
However, Larry said that once Dash requested to move to Indiana to focus on his craft, saying no was not an option.
“He had this drive and desire from a very young age,” Larry said. “It’s hard to explain. So as parents, we just have to give them whatever opportunity they’re asking for.”
“He does push himself,” Mona said. “He’s kind of programmed to do that. He’s really self-motivated in every aspect of his life, and I think that it maybe started with diving, which caused him to focus early on.”
Larry involved Dash in swimming at age six, giving him swimming lessons at SFDS, where Larry has been coaching ever since.
Ironically, Dash’s parents also nurtured his involvement in gymnastics, a sport somewhat distant from swimming on the sports spectrum.
However, Larry quickly learned that Dash had an affinity for high-flying, much to the chagrin of other local parents.
“Parents would always ask why I’m letting him do this, saying that he’s going to hurt himself,” Larry said, recalling Dash’s dangerous antics off of monkey bars at local parks. “But I never listened to them because Dash always had a great sense of balance from when he was a little kid. And he enjoyed it.”
Dash continued to swim, and began taking gymnastics classes at Valley College at age seven, where one of his coaches recommended that Dash try diving.
Dash soon found his way onto a youth swim team at USC and began training daily after school.
“I started out as a swimmer and I just really loved the water,” Dash said. “When I started diving, I started learning new things and going to meets. And I loved the challenge of diving.”
“What I know for sure is that with any sport, a parent can only take their child to the water and let them drink and see if they like it,” Larry said. “If they like it, everything else that they do from there is on them. We can’t make them do it. You have to let them develop the desire inside of them.”
As Dash continued to perfect the art of diving, he became a member of the first USA team invited to China to practice with the Chinese National Team.
He was nine.
“At the end of the week, one of the Chinese coaches asked for permission to have his picture taken with Dash because he knew he’d see Dash at the Olympics one day,” Larry recalled. “He wanted people to know he saw Dash’s talent.”
“That just gave us goosebumps because they saw something in Dash in an early age that you can’t put your finger on,” he added.
The talent and desire exhibited to that Chinese coach by Dash certainly has not subsided in the seven years since his trip to China, which is evidenced by Dash’s daily routine.
Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dash is training extensively. A normal day could include hours of conditioning, trampoline work, weight training, and of course, ballet class.
“Ballet is a lot with balance and good form and making your body look nice,” said Dash, who commented that his ballet coach is not one for leniency.
Regardless of a demanding daily routine and nasty Indianapolis weather, Dash is well aware that he is on the brink of seeing a life’s worth of work pay off.
“It’s the most special thing in my life right now,” Dash said. “I’ve always dreamed about it since I was little and now it’s happening. I’m enjoying every moment of it.”
You can follow Enos' progress on his blog GoDash.weebly.com.