DARIEN, Conn. Longtime friends Zack Lahmar and Kosta Zinchanka have traveled thousands of miles across the globe to bring their passion for tennis to Darien.
Lahmar, a native of Stockholm, Sweden, is the new director of tennis and Zinchanka, who hails from Minsk, Belarus, has been named the new tennis pro at Kings Highway Tennis Club.
It is not a coincidence they ended up in Darien. The two have been linked through tennis since attending the University of Southern Alabama, playing together in the U.S. collegiate championships.
A Swede and a Belarusian playing tennis in Southern Alabama might sound like the start of a bad joke, but the two bonded over their love of the game in college while dealing with culture shock.
Never have I seen so many things that can be fried, Zinchanka said. The language was tough and the weather was tough too, because it was much less humid where I came from.
For a short time, Lahmar wasnt sure he had made the right choice to move to the United States. Im not going to lie, the first year I hated it. I missed my family and friends, he said. It was a slow transition adapting to the culture, but the people there are unbelievably nice. But I adapted, and I loved it after my first year.
Lahmar played professionally for two years before an injury ended his career, but he found a new love in coaching. A job in Florida led to an instructor position in Norwalk, along with Zinchanka. The chance to work with his old friend was too good to pass up.
We kind of have the same philosophy as far as tennis and fitness, Lahmar said. Were best friends so its almost a no-brainer that we wanted to continue to work together.
Zinchanka agreed. Ive been following this guy around a while, he said. When the opportunity arrived to work at Kings Highway, I jumped at the chance.
Lahmar, who has bachelors and masters degrees in exercise physiology, said he is eager to implement his philosophies of the game to the young students at Kings Highway.
Im just looking to bring a little bit of a different structure and making sure everyone is on the same page, as far as the coaches go, he said. We hope we can make this club unique and offer services that will keep clients here for whatever goals theyre trying to reach.
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