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Our Coaching Staff

We are here to support your needs. If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact one of the coaches. For all questions related to administrative, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please contact David Tait, our Club Director.

Coaching Staff

David Tait

Club Director

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RIO Salado Swim Club is owned and operated by David Tait. David was an accomplished athlete in the sport of swimming. In his career he was a 3-time state champion and former state record holder, a Junior National Champion, a Senior National qualifier, and a competitor at the 2000 US Olympic Trials. David coached a number of high school athletes to the State, Junior National, and National levels and took one athlete to the 2008 Olympic Trials. He has over 2 decades of experience teaching children, teenagers, and adults how to swim. His real passion is helping kids learn how to swim and enjoy a sport that has brought him a lifetime of rewarding experiences. David's expertise has benefited children and adults of all ages and all levels of aquatic participation.

Together with David’s professionally trained staff, the RIO Salado Swim Club prides itself on developing the "total athlete."  They believe each swimmer has an opportunity to use the sport to learn the skills necessary for a successful life, while having fun and swimming fast at the same time.  Physical, mental, emotional, and social traits are all aspects of their philosophy that help to develop each athlete at every level in swimming to their greatest potential.  They strive to ensure that swimming maintains a bright and respectable future in the world of sports through the development of new training techniques in order to achieve greater and greater levels of human potential.

Bob Chen

Head Coach (AG II & SEN II)

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Bob Chen has been with Rio Salado Swim Club since 2010 and has been Head Coach since August 2015. In his time leading RIO, Bob has guided RIO swimmers to success at Junior Nationals, Sectionals, AIA HS State Championships, Arizona Age Group, and Arizona Senior Championships and set over 30 new team records. Bob has also continued RIO's legacy of producing college bound swimmers who excel in the classroom as well as the pool. 

In addition to taking over the Senior program, Bob still is the lead coach for Age Group 2. RIO's Age Group program has consistently placed in the top 5 at Age Group State Championships every year and produced multiple Sectional and National Top 100 qualifiers. Prior to coaching on the club side, Bob was the former Development Team Head Site Coach at Hamilton HS where he helped grow the program to over 500 swimmers across 4 sites.

Bob began swimming competitively at the age of 11 and continued competing until his senior year of high school; throughout his brief career he achieved NRT’s in multiple age groups and events, while qualifying for Sectionals and Junior Nationals. He is a former national record holder as a member of Pacific Swimming's 11-12 boys 400 yd medley relay, and is still the meet record holder in the 200 IM at RIO’s own Lost Dutchman Invitational.

Melissa Ripley

Head Age Group Coach (CJ, AG I & SEN I)

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Melissa Belote was born on October 16, 1956 in Washington D.C. and grew up in Springfield, Virginia. She has been called one of America's greatest swimmers. Melissa is the middle child of Florence and Buddy Belote. She has two sisters, Barbara and Jenny.
 
Melissa first appeared on the national swimming scene at the age of 12 when she qualified for her first United States National Championship.
 
In 1972, Melissa won both the 100 and 200 meter Backstroke at the United States Olympic Trials and set a world record in the 200 meter Backstroke.
 
Later that year at the Summer Games in Munich, Germany, Melissa led the women's American Swim Team as she won three Gold Medals. She placed first in the 100 meter Backstroke, setting an Olympic and American record. She finished first in the 200 meter Backstroke setting a World, Olympic, and American record. She also swam the lead off leg on the World, Olympic, and American record setting 400 Medley Relay team.
 
In 1973, Melissa continued her dominance when she won the 200 meter Backstroke at the World Championships.
 
In 1976, Melissa made her second Olympic team, which competed in Montreal, Canada. Melissa finished fifth in the 200 meter Backstroke, setting a new American record.
 
From 1970 to 1979, Melissa won 8 AAU Individual National Championships and was a 16 time AAU All-American. She also won 6 individual National Collegiate Swimming Championships and led her college team, Arizona State University to two National Championships. Melissa was a four-year All-American at Arizona State University.
 
In 1972 and 1973, Melissa was the runner-up for the Sullivan Award, the highest amateur award recognized in the United States. In 1977, she won the Broderick Award as the Outstanding Women's Collegiate Swimmer in America.
 
Melissa is in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the Washington Hall of Stars, the Arizona State University Athletic Hall of Fame, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame. In 1999 Melissa was selected to the United States Swimming “Team of the Century,” as well as, Sports Illustrated top 50 athletes from the state of Virginia, and the Arizona Republic Newspapers top 100 Athletes of Arizona.
 
Melissa has been involved with swimming, either as a swimmer or coach, since 1965 when she started competing as an 8 year old at her community swim club, Springfield Swim & Racquet Club. In addition to her coaching responsibilities at RIO, Melissa is the Head Swim Coach at McClintock High School.
 
Melissa is married to Richard A. Ripley and they have two children, Rachel Alexandra (27) and Erik Alexander (25). Rachel graduated from the University of Missouri where she competed all 4 years and is now working in the fashion industry in New York. Erik recently graduated after swimming 4 years at Towson Univeristy in Maryland and is currently RIO's Senior 2 assistant coach.
 
Melissa Belote Ripley
33 year’s coaching age group swimming
Four time All-American for Arizona State University
Six time National Collegiate Champion for Arizona State University
Olympian (1972 & 1976)
Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist (World, Olympic and American Record holder)
World Champion 1973 – 200 m Backstroke
Sullivan Award Runner-up (1972 & 1973) - Top Amature Athlete in American
Broderick Award for Outstanding Women's Collegiate Swimmer (1977)
Fiesta Bowl All-American (1977)
Arizona Republic Newspaper - Women Athlete of the Year (1977 & 1978)
Inducted into the Arizona State University Athletic Hall of Fame (1981)
Inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1983)
Inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame (1989)
Arizona Republic 100 Greatest Arizona Athletes
Sports Illustrated Top 50 Virginia Athletes
USA Swimming - Female 200 Backstroker of the Century
2008 Arizona Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year

Charissa Miller

AG1 Assistant Coach

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Charissa Miller began swimming competitively at the age of 9 while growing up in Cinncinnati, Ohio. She eventually moved to Arizona during high school where she swam at Gilbert High School focusing on sprint freestyle and butterfly and swimming at the Arizona H.S. State Championships. She competed on USA Swimming teams in Ohio, Texas, and Arizona and was also a trained lifeguard and swim instructor.

Charissa previously worked with Melissa, serving as Head Counselor at Sparky Swim Camp held at Arizona State University. This camp focused on stroke technique for swimmers from elementary through high school. She served as an admin official at RIO's Lost Dutchman meets while in college.

Charissa moved back to the Phoenix area in 2013. She and her husband, Stuart, have been married for 9 years and have two girls: Akiha, age 7, has been swimming for 6 years and is currently training with RIO's Competitive Junior group; Adelé, age 5, has been swimming for 4 years and swims at EVO in the Dolphin class. Charissa enjoys being able to share her passion of swimming with her daughters and is excited to be back teaching and coaching with RIO.

 

Patrick Tolson

Development Team Director

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Born and raised right here in the East Valley,  Patrick Tolson has been involved with swimming since birth.  He began swimming rec leagues for the City of Mesa at age 5.  He continued with his swimming career at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, where he was a middle distance and sprint freestyler.  In his 2 years with the Mountain Lions, he qualified and competed at the Arizona H.S. State Championships in the 100 and 200 freestyle.  After high school, Patrick attended Northern Arizona University. Whilst in college, he was a volunteer coach for the Flagstaff Snow Sharks.  During his breaks from college at NAU, Patrick coached rec league swimming for the City of Mesa during the summers.  He was the Assistant Coach, and eventually the Head Coach, of two teams during his 9 years with the City of Mesa.

Upon graduation from NAU in 2001 with a degree in Elementary Education, Patrick went on to teach 10 years of Elementary School in Gilbert, primarily First Grade. While still teaching, Patrick began coaching for Mesquite High School in Gilbert.  In his 14 seasons with the Wildcats, his Men’s Team has ranked in the Top 10 in the State of Arizona 6 times. He has overseen many eventual collegiate swimmers and his teams have achieved All-American Honors under his guidance and coaching.

Patrick joinded the RIO staff as the Head Coach of the Gilbert Jr. facility in 2011. Starting in April of 2014, Patrick assumed the role of Development Team Director from predecessor Bob Chen, who moved on to the Competitive Team. He continues to oversee all Development Team practices and is also the Head Coach of the RIO Masters Team. Patrick teaches lessons at EVO Swim School multiple times each week and runs private lessons for both children and adults.  

Patrick and his wife Hilary have been married for 13 years. They have 2 sons; 9 year old Kyler, who just started Fourth Grade this past Fall and swims with Age Group I and their youngest son, Teagan, who is a 6 year old swimming in the Dolphin Class at EVO. They also have a daughter, named Maleah, age 4, who also swims in the EVO lesson program as a Sea Lion. As much as Patrick enjoys his work in and around the pool, what he truly enjoys is spending time with his family.

Andrea Courtney

Development Team - Hamilton Head Coach

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Andrea Courtney was born and raised in Arizona. She started swimming competitively when she was 6 years old in Wray, Colorado, where her grandparents live and continued every summer until she was 17. She graduated from Marcos de Niza High School in 2004 where she swam on the Varsity team for 4 years and also played basketball all 4 years.  Her specialties included 100 back, 50 free, 100 free, and she was also an active member on the relays.  After high school she began coaching at Marcos de Niza for 1 year and then moved over to Corona Del Sol, where she coached for 5 years.  Andrea was the head swim coach at the Tempe Lifetime Fitness for 7 years.  She began her career with RIO in March 2013.  Currently she attending school to earn her degree in Substance Abuse Counseling.  

Jesse Hodges

Development Team - San Tan Head Coach

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Jesse Hodges was born in Utah, and grew up on military bases overseas in Germany and Japan. He started swimming with local swim teams at the age of 8 and with the European Forces Swim League (EFSL) in middle and high school. Upon graduating high school in Japan in 2012, Jesse started college at NAU and also began lifeguarding during the summer back in Japan where he taught kids to swim in the Water Safety Instructors (WSI) program. This is where Jesse learned of his passion for coaching and re-ignited his love for swimming. In 2016 he moved to Phoenix and started coaching with the RIO Swim Club at the San Tan and Queen Creek locations. Jesse is currently enrolled at DeVry University, where he is studying on how to be a Network System Administrator.

Jodi Bushor

Development Team - Mesa Head Coach

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Jodi Bushor was born in Denver, CO and began swimming at a young age. She decided to try diving around the age of 12 and loved it so much that she continued diving through high school and college.

After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from NAU in 2003, Jodi continued working in aquatics while furthering her education. In 2007, Jodi graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education. She then started her teaching career, teaching high school health and coaching the swim team.  After five years of teaching high school students and coaching, she changed her focus and started teaching elementary P.E.  in Tempe beginning in 2012. In March 2015 Jodi joined the RIO team of coaches and started coaching a couple days per week after work.  Now Jodi works full-time for EVO/RIO and loves sharing her passion of health and fitness with young athletes.  Her goal is to encourage young kids to stay active by being involved in a sport they can continue their whole life.

Jodi and her husband Christopher have been married since 2004. They love cooking together and entertaining guests. They have an 8 year old daughter named Kaylie who is in third grade and loves sports.  She is a competitive gymnast at Gold Medal Gymnastics.  Kaylie loves to compete and her passion and dedication in gymnastics makes mom and dad really proud!