Anthem Dolphins Coaching Staff

Questions related to workouts, meets, event entry, goal setting, and other swimming-related topics, please contact the lead coach of your swimmer's group using the e-mail link next to the coach's name below.  For all account administration questions related to billing, volunteering at meets and team support please contact the Head Coach.

Coaching Staff

Paul Root

Head Coach


Paul Root was named head coach of the Anthem Dolphins in July of 2019. Paul has been coaching in Phoenix since 2011, in a variety of capacities, Paul has coached at every level from rec league as the head coach and aquatics director at Moon Valley Country Club, Paul was the head coach for Phoenix Christian High School where he coached 1 athlete to athlete of the year. Paul spent 6 years with Phoenix Swim Club where he served as site director and head developmental coach. While with PSC Paul coached a multitude of state champions and sectional finalists. Since 2016 Paul has been the inaugural head coach for men’s and women’s swimming at Arizona Christian University where he has had success on the individual level with All American finishes in relays and individual events. Also on the team side with top 12 finishes nationally as a team.

Paul attended and swam at Grand Canyon University, he and his family could not be more excited for the future of the Anthem Dolphins!


Scott Newell

Aquatics Director


Coaching Philosophy
As my good friend and mentor Coach Metheny would say; "Hard work, done right, feels great"! By practicing hard, having the most efficient stroke possible and having fun… You can’t help but improve. My motto is similar, Show up, work hard, have fun. Like my dad taught me; you can't have the fun without the work first.

Coaching Resume/ Awards
Now nearly 25 years of Coaching swimming in the valley. From humble beginnings at the Local community pool as an assistant summer coach and later head coach...

5 years of working with age group swimmers at HFSS and coaching the summer team. 3 years of helping grow an amazing summer team at the YMCA and growing our year-round team. Coaching in Anthem since 2011; have seen the team grow from 60 swimmers and 6 SR level swimmers to over 150 swimmers and a SR group of nearly 40. From a team of 1 sectional or faster swimmer in 2012 to team that has now taken multiple swimmers to Sectionals every year in including 12 swimmers in 2018. We also took our first Dolphin to JR Nationals in 2017. Boulder Creek High Head Coach since 2012, 4 time Region coach of the year, named D1 AZ Coach of the year in 2016 after a 3rd place finish. Multiple state champions, multiple runner up finished and multiple state medalists in individual events and relays.

2018 AZ Swimming Coach rep for USA swimming leadership convention
2016-2018 AZ Board Coach Rep /2015-2016 AZ SR Committee Member
2016 AIA D1 Coach of the Year & Desert Region Coach of the Year
2014 & 2016 Arizona Age Group Zone Team Coach Representative

What do you like about coaching?
I really enjoy being outdoors, near the pool and in the pool. As a lifelong swimmer it is one of my favorite places to be. The best part of coaching however is seeing the improvement in a young swimmer. It is a wonderful feeling when a swimmer really gets it, especially in butterfly. I love it!

What is your favorite stroke and why?
My favorite stroke to swim is backstroke, being able to breathe whenever you want is pretty awesome. My favorite stroke to coach is Butterfly. Sure it is hard, but once a swimmer really gets it, it is the best to watch.

Most memorable coaching experience:
There is nothing like putting that perfect relay together. In swimming, a relay is one of the few times it really feels like a team sport. I have many fond memories of putting together some great relay teams that killed the competition. In 2013 our SR girls relays qualified for Sectionals in 4 out of 5 relays.

Most memorable swimming experience:
Most recently I swam the escape from Alcatraz. It was on my bucket list and I had put it on my new year’s resolutions for 3 or 4 years and finally did it in 2010. Before the swim the marshal told everyone how awful the conditions had been, they said that multiple dingys had capsized during the practice run and a few of the swimmers didn’t finish. The also told us the current goes out towards the bridge at 5 MPH and that if you got out too far you would be pulled out to sea. I was a little freaked out. I waited as nearly 1000 swimmers jumped off the ferry in front of me. I jumped in the icy waters and swam towards land. It turned out the hardest part was getting past all those swimmers I had let go in front of me. I passed about 800 of them and had the swim of my life. In 2014 I went back and took 4 Anthem swimmers and did it again, this time… NO wetsuit!

What makes a good swimmer?
The great swimmers not only have the natural talent to be great, but they work harder than anyone else in the pool. You can’t be one of the special ones without the work.

What level goals have you created for your young swimmers?
Getting to coach the youngest group as well as the top level/ oldest group, I really get to see the difference in goal setting. With the youngest swimmers we are just trying to get the strokes down and be "legal" in all our events. With my top group we are working on performance goals like getting to the 15 meter mark on our underwater dolphin, as well as time setting goals like trying to set team records, get Far Western times, Sectionals and beyond.

Favorite Swimmer of all time:
Growing up in the valley and swimming at PSC during the peak of their program I was able to swim with or be coached by numerous Olympians from Gary Hall to Misty Hyman, Jeff Rouse, and Dave Burkoff to name a few. My favorite moment though was when Troy Dalby a Gold Medalist on the 4 x 200 relay and former masters coach had decided to swim in our state finals warm up meet. Troy had a very nice beer belly he had been working on and hadn’t really been swimming much with his masters group. He decided to deck enter in the meet with all of us young athletes and some National and Olympic qualifiers. He CRUSHED us all. It was so cool to be apart of.

More recently I had the same feeling watching Jason Lesack make his comeback in the 2008 Olympic relay, I could watch that race over and over again.

Why swim for the Dolphins:
I recently read a great article in ASCA that sums up our coaching mentality here in Anthem:

In Monsters Inc. (the movie) they collect screams for energy, but by the end of the film they discover that they get more energy from laughing and smiling and having fun. We believe that same theory applies to our swimmers here. Sometime we may get something out of yelling at our athletes, but we get even more when they are smiling and having fun while working.

With our largest coaching staff to date in 2018, the sky is the limit for this team. With expert Sprint coaches, distance coaches, IM coaches, developmental coaches, this team has it all. An amazing community pool for FULL support from the community and directors… GO DOLPHINS!


Olga Smirnoff

Lead Age Group Coach


I started swimming when I was 6 years old at a YMCA in Montreal Canada, and became a lifeguard at 12. I continued swimming competitively at a local club in Moscow, Russia where I was recruited for the Olympic reserve, trained for several years and competed in high school and college at international levels. My specialty was 200m fly at 2:19 Long Course and 200 IM. I earned an Bachelors in education with a minor in sports education which has been useful in coaching swimming and other sports. I have been training athletes and swimmers as a private and school coach to both beginners and established swimmers off and on since 1991. I love competitions, and hope to teach and encourage our Dolphin swimmers to set goals, work all aspects of swimming to achieve those goals and love competitive swimming even more.

Alice Martin

Assistant Coach


Coaching Philosophy:
My philosophy is simple, have fun, maintain high expectations, build athlete's self confidence, and teach skills necessary for athletes to do something remarkable. 

Coaching Resume:
Current certifications include: NFHS Swimming Coach, USA Swimming Coach and Referee, and Starfish Swim Instructor. I began swimming competitively at age 6 and continued swimming until age 17. I taught American Red Cross swimming lessons for the next 25 years after high school graduation. In 2012 I was the assitant coach for Bould Creek High School and earned my Level 2 ASCA and USA Certification.
What makes a good swimmer?
Good work ethic
Most memorable swimming experience:
I will never forget being trapped under water while playing a game, as a young child in a summer camp pool. I was rescued by a lifeguard. Scared but confident, I returned to the pool and won the game. Today, safety is always a top priority for me.
Favorite Stroke:
Butterfly, when swum correctly.  I think it is a beautiful stroke to watch and fun to swim. Athletes appear to effortlessly move through the water with rhythm and grace unlike any other stroke.
Favorite Swimmer:
Dara Torres - She broke her first world record at 14, swam in 5 Olympics, and at age 45 (2012) came in 4th at the US Olympic trials before retiring. 
All swimmers should attend 90 percent of their scheduled practices, swim every event offered in their age group every year, and participate in all Dolphin home meets.  

Ron Coghill

Assistant Coach