Brian D Blackwell
Head Coach & Senior Coach
Blackwell has established a continuous tradition
of success as he enters his 10th season with SVSC. Coach
Blackwell holds a Level 3 coaching status with the American
Swimming Coaches Association and oversees all aspects of the
Coach Blackwell has
produced multple USA Swimming Junior and Senior National
qualifiers, All Americans, Future, Sectional
qualifiers. Coach Blackwell severed as Head Zone Coach for
Allegheny Mountain for the 2015 & 2016 SCY &
LCM Seasons and was voted 2016 Coach of the Year for having
the most improved team in AMS.
In addition to coaching
SVSC, Coach Blackwell is also the Head Varsity Swim & Dive
Coach of Seneca Valley High School. In his previous
9 seasons at the varsity helm, Coach Blackwell has produced
over 100+ District Qualifiers, a WPIAL Champion and
Record holder, and more than 2 dozen PIAA State medalists.
In 2017, Coach Blackwell achieved his 100th dual meat
During Brian's swimming
career, he was a Eastern Zone Gold medalist and Sectional
Qualifier, the 2001 WPIAL AA 200 IM Champion, multiple PIAA State
Finalist and earned All American consideration. He attended
Washington & Jefferson College where he swam competitively and
earned All PAC Conference honors. Brian was a Dean’s
List Scholar at W&J and earned a degree in Business
Administration with a concentration in Finance and Management.
Brian has 14 years of experience as a Business Anayst,
and currently works for Meritain
philosophy about swimming is finding the proper balance between
technique, endurance and strength. He believes educating his
swimmers about the methods and science of swimming is just as
important as the execution.
Jeff Michael Gavin
Associate Head Coach
Coach Jeff Gavin begins his 7th
year with SVSC where he made a dramatic impact on the program and
AMS. Over the past years, Jeff was selected as a 6-Time Eastern
Zone All-Star Assistant Coach and 2-Time Head Coach, coached
multiple swimmers who've reached the AMS Top 10 list, developed
numerous Eastern Zone qualifiers, and his swimmers continue to
break a multitude of club records. Jeff also played a significant
role in coaching a number WPIAL and Sectional qualifiers with the
Senior group and Seneca Valley Varsity teams.
Jeff spent many years developing
himself as an accomplished swimmer and developmental coach.
Prior to his employment at the YMCA, Jeff spent time coaching at
Oxford Athletic Club, and was Pool Manager of Seven Fields Borough
Pool. Jeff grew up in Western PA and began swimming at the age of
ten for local summer teams. His passion for the sport was
ignited immediately which led to him joining Pine-Richland
Aquatics. Later, Jeff was a star on the Mars Varsity Swim Team
where he was Captain his senior year. Jeff set multiple team
records whille at Mars and rewrote the Pine-Richland Pool record
board as well as qualifying for 3 WPIAL and PIAA
Championships. His senior year he had his best finish at the
state meet and collected a third place finish in the 500 yard
Jeff attended the Indiana
University of Pennsylvania on a swimming scholarship where he
competed for two and a half years before an injury to his ear drum
forced him out of the pool. During that time he earned a NCAA
National Qualifying B-cut, was selected to the All-PSAC team, and
was a podium finisher in a number of events at his conference
Currently, Jeff works at the
Butler Country Club as Pool Manager and acts as Head Coach for the
swim team. In his 4 seasons with the club, Jeff has managed
to win back-to-back Country Club Swimming Championships. He
also works at the Rose E. Schneider YMCA during the winter as a
lifeguard and lifeguard instructor.
Coach Lisa is enthusiastic as she begins her 5th year with SVSC.
In the beginning of her years with SVSC, she organized and ran the
Learn to Swim Program. She has since continued to help grow the
program each year. After a few years, she wanted to contribute more
to the club and began to help out during swim practices.
Through time and learning from her fellow coaches, Coach Lisa began
her role as Assistant Coach. In early 2019, she helped coach SVSC
swimmers at the Eastern Zone Short Course Age Group
Championship. Later in the fall of 2019, Coach Lisa became
one of the Assistant Coaches for the Seneca Valley Varsity Swimming
and Diving Team. She was excited to contribute to her first WPIAL
and PIAA swim championships as a coach and witness some great swims
by the SV swimmers.
Coach Lisa started swimming at the age of 8 with the Butler Y
Swim Team and competed at the Y Districts and States meets through
the years. In her high school years, she became a member of the
Butler Varsity Swimming and Diving Team and competed at the WPIAL
Championship meet. In her early years of swimming, Coach Lisa was a
sprint freestyler. It wasn't until her later high school years that
she competed in both breaststroke and I.M. events. During summers
home from college, she taught private and group swim lessons at the
Butler Country Club. She also was an Assistant Swim Coach for the
Butler Country Club Swim Team. Coach Lisa graduated from Slippery
Rock in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication. The
same year she graduated from Duquesne University with a Paralegal
Certificate. She worked as a Paralegal for law firms in Pittsburgh
and Erie for 6 years.
Coach Lisa is married and has one daughter and two sons. All 3
of her children were a part of the SVSC Learn to Swim Program. Her
daughter developed the same love of swimming and continues to grow
as a swimmer with the swim club.
Coach Lisa recently obtained Level 2 coaching status with the
American Swimming Coaches Association. She is very excited to take
what she has learned and help swimmers progress through the SVSC
Learn to Swim Program and the Seneca Valley Swim Club!
James M Koval
SVSC is proud to announce the addition of Coach James Koval to
our swimming family!
Coach James joins SVSC after two years as Head Assistant at the
Uniontown Area YMCA. He worked mostly with young and developing
swimmers, guiding many to first-time qualifications for YMCA
districts and states, plus two team relay records. Coach James was
also Head Assistant at Laurel Highlands HS for the 2019-20 season,
helping the Mustangs to a combined 20-6 dual meet record, 7 school
records, and a 3rd place finish at Girls’ AA WPIALs.
In his youth, James was an accomplished swimmer in his hometown
of Mt. Pleasant, SC, primarily competing in long-distance races. He
moved on to West Virginia University where he got an NCAA B cut and
Big 12 silver medal in the 1650 free in 2017. He is still ranked
3rd all-time for WVU in the 1000 and 1650, as well as 9th in the
400 IM. James graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in
Chemical Engineering in 2018, and is currently working on
completing his masters in the same.
While at WVU, James got his first club coaching job with Club
Mountaineer and he was immediately hooked. Coach James is a big
believer in energy on the deck and believes that the best training
happens when coaches and athletes get each other excited to get
better. Coach James is ready to get to work and help SVSC continue
to build an outstanding team culture!