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Coaches & Directors

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 Darian Townsend at darian.townsend@vosymca.org

Coaching Staff

Darian Roy Townsend

Head Coach and Club President

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Darian Townsend’s swimming career started at a very young age in South Africa, where he grew up. He swam for Seals Swimming Club and attended high school at Maritzburg College, during which time he won numerous school championships and broke multiple records. After high school, Darian moved to Florida and joined the University of Florida Swim Team and subsequently transferred to the University of Arizona. As a member of both teams, Darian won 2 NCAA titles as an individual (200 free and 200 IM), 5 relay National titles and 1 Team Title. 

He attended the Olympic Games in 2004 (Athens, Greece), 2008 (Beijing, China) and 2012 (London, England). In 2004 Darian won a gold medal for South Africa as part of their 4 x 100 freestyle relay team.. He also attended the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games as a member of the South African Swim Team.

Darian's biggest individual  accomplishment  as a swimmer was in 2009 when he broke the World Record in the 200 IM in Berlin, Germany.

Since earning his US citizenship in 2014 Darian has represented the United States at Nationals, World Championships and the Pan American Games where he won 2 silver medals. He attended the US Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska during the summer of 2016 and most recently has attended several Masters meets for which he now holds multiple Masters World Records. He continues to train at the YMCA as part of the Masters Team.

Darian has taken the next step in his career by accepting the role of Head Coach of the Westside Silver Fins. He currently coaches the Senior Elite group. Coach Darian is passionate about swimming and hopes to be able to pass on the knowledge he learnt in his swimming career to the swimmers he now coaches. 

David Laudati

Head Age Group Coach

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his is David's 1st year as Head Age Group Coach for Silver Fins. He has Coach for the past 16 years for the Mandell JCC Sharks Swim Team in West Hartford, CT.

Over Coach David’s career he has had many successes in and out of the pool.  In 2016 he was name the Connecticut Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year.  In 2013 he was selected to be a coach for the Connecticut Zone Team. He continued in that position thru the Long course 2018 season.

THis Team and Age Group Program has finished in the top ten for the past 5 years with multiple Age Group Champions. His swimmers have broken and held multiple Connecticut State records. Coach Dave has had over 60 swimmers qualify and swim at Eastern Zone Championships. He has had Multiple Sectional, Futures and 4 Junior National Qualifiers swim from him.

He Graduated from CCSU in 2006 with a degree in liberal arts. David Swam competitively for 10 years. He swam for Hamden North Haven Swim team for 3 years before moving to the Hopkin Mariners Swim team out of New Haven for the next 7yrs. A 4 year letter swimmer for Notre Dame H.S. in West Haven. A member of the 2002 State Open Champion Notre Dame High School Swim Team.  In addition to coaching a USA Club David has coached for 3 High Schools; Hall and Conard High Schools of West Hartford, CT as well as Bulkeley High School of Hartford, CT.

David is excited to join the Silver Fins and looks forward to working with all of the swimmers and coaches

Randy D Gertenbach

Senior Group Coach

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Hi! I am Randy Gertenbach and I coach the Senior Group. I started swimming competitively at the age of 8 in El Centro, CA, with Imperial Valley Desert Aquatics. I swam club and high school, which paved the way for me to swim in college at the University of Pittsburgh.  At University of Pittsburgh, I was an 11-time Big East Champion, which ranged from the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and 200 IM.  I qualified for NCAA’s in 2002, 2003, 2004 and was a 3 –time All American in the 200 breaststroke.  After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics, I then pursued my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Cross-Cultural Teaching Techniques at the University of California, San Diego.  I am currently a High School Math Teacher, as well as being an assistant swim coach on this amazing team!!

My coaching philosophy is commitment, teamwork and pride in what you do will can take you anywhere. I believe that we are all “teachers” when it comes to swimming, and we learn and grow every day.

I am a person that loves to give back to his friends and community, and coaching swimming is something where I can do give back to both.  I love that I am able to share my love of swimming with our athletes. Swimming has shaped me and my individualism, and I feel it can do the same for our present and future swimmers

Madison A Szeremet

Silver Group Coach

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Hello! My name is Maddie Szeremet and I have been swimming for around 8 years. I have swam on Westside for almost my whole swimming career and competed at Sectionals, Far Westerns, States, and many other swimming meets. I was a senior State champion in the 100 fly (2018), and I was a top-three finisher in the 100 fly at Sectionals. My best events were I.M. and fly, but I swam many freestyle and backstroke events when I was younger. I swam in college before I got injured, and I swam the 100 fly, 200 fly, 200 IM, and 400 IM. 

I am currently a sophomore in college and I am working towards my degree in fine arts. I really enjoy the current field I am in and I can’t wait to graduate in 2022! I am a dedicated student and I hope to graduate early!

I was a rec coach from 2015-2016 and I really enjoyed working with all the different age groups! I really love seeing the kids enjoy their swimming and having fun since my favorite part of swimming on this team was getting to see all my teammates at practice. I have worked all my life around water and I can’t wait to help anyone improve! My philosophy is to help people get faster while enjoying this sport!

Nathon Burwick

Bronze Group Coach

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Nathon started competitive swimming and teaching swim in Marietta, GA at the age of 13. He moved up rapidly through the swimming ranks to compete at the Junior National, National, and NCAA DI levels while learning all he could about the sport through his coaches and teammates. Athletes Nathon taught and coached have been ages 3-70 and include several county champions, GA State qualifiers, GA State champions. During his first year of coaching in the valley, he has brought young athletes up to the Junior Olympic, AZ Age-Group State, AZ High School State, and AZ Senior State levels.
 

Nathon says “I am a huge believer in making teaching technique and quality hard work fun! Swimming has given me much to be thankful for over the years – many memories, friends, mentors, and my attitude in life. I hope to grow the sport as much as it has, and is still helping me grow. I look forward to seeing y’all on deck!”

Denise O'Connell

Fins I & II Group Coach

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Denise is currently a swim instructor for the Southwest Valley YMCA and also coaches our Fins I and Fins II groups.

Denise swam club for Mission Valley Swim Club. She swam 4 years at Northern Arizona University and also swam>3.

 

Deborah Albers

Masters Team Head Coach

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Hi! I’m Debbie Albers, a new masters coach with YWSF. I am new to Arizona, having just moved here from Northern California at the end of July, 2018. I started swimming competitively at the age of 12, having decided my lack of coordination wasn’t great for being a competitive gymnast. I swam age-group and high school through my senior year in high school. In college I begun running long distances, with 25 k being my favorite.

With a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, I got a job teaching at my old high school. As way to meet people other than my previous teachers, I joined Monterey Bay Masters and Monterey Bay Triathlon Club. 7 months later I completed my first marathon open-water swim, the Seal Beach 9-mile swim. A year later, I returned to graduate school in San Luis Obispo. While completing my master’s degree in Math, I swam with the Central Coast Masters, as well as swimming in the Ocean every chance I got. In the summer of ‘90 I swam the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and began a 28-1/2 year career as a California Community College math teacher. My first teaching job was at Gavilan College in Gilroy, CA. In 1991 I swam the English Channel, both a solo swim and a relay swim. Shortly after that, I took on a mortgage and did not pursue Marathon swimming again. Until now. In 1995 I moved north to teach at Santa Rosa Junior College. Between then and now there have been triathlons, ranging from sprint distance to half-Ironman, and ultra-distance cycling races. My husband and I did the Race Across America as a two-person team in 2014. The first few rides I did in AZ led to being chased by dogs, hence back in the pool. I love masters swimming and masters swimmers. It feels very natural to me to be working with adults after teaching college. I like that masters swimmers tend to have a bit more age-related motivation, plus a desire to build swimming into lives that include families, jobs, travel, etc. I hope to convince more YWSF masters to try at least one open-water swim each summer. These swims are great for building camaraderie among swimmers and among swim families, as well as being a nice break from the pool.

I’d like to encourage parents of Fins swimmers who might have considered getting back in the water to check out the masters!

Meg Barta

Assistant Coach

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Meg started competitive swimming when at the age of 4, swimming in Tucson, Phoenix, and then in college in Texas. She started two high school programs in Ardmore, OK and was also head coach of Ardmore Aquatics. Athletes Meg coached included beginning swimmers to national team swimmers with several state champions and state record holders in age group USA Swimming and YMCA. Zones qualifiers, National YMCA qualifiers and many Oklahoma high school state qualifiers.

Meg says "I am a big believer in technique, working hard and making swimming fun! I hope I can give back to swimming what swimming has given to me over the years, a great work ethic, some lasting friendships and wonderful memories. If you see me on deck or in the water, please stop me and say Hi."

Cindy Richards

Assistant Coach

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I am Coach Cindy. I relocated from Colorado Springs, CO to Goodyear, AZ in the summer of 2008. I enjoy playing golf and share as much time as I can with my nine grandchildren.

I was a competitive swimmer in the Northwest for nine years. I had the privilege of competing from Canada to California and reaching my goals of being a state high school champion, qualifying for the Indoor National Swimming Championships, and again qualifying and competing in the Outdoor National Swimming Championships.

My love of swimming and past experiences of competition and coaching brought me back to the wonderful sport of swimming. I was an assistant coach for the Colorado Torpedoes for 2 ½ years.  My focus is on introducing and developing proper breathing, kicking, and stroke technique to our young and/ or new swimmers. You will see me most often in the water with the kids so that there can be hands on instruction. I encourage you as parents to ask me questions, whether it is about your child, my techniques, or anything else. My goal is to give your child self-confidence, a taste of being a competitive swimmer, and the opportunity to enjoy the water for the rest of their life.

Michala Lynee Greenbaum

Assistant Coach

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Hi everyone! I am Michala Greenbaum. I swam competitively for 12 years. I started swimming competitively at the age of 6 on the Magdalena Ecke YMCA Riptides in Encinitas, CA. While living in California, I competed at Far Westerns, All Stars, Junior Olympics, State Championships, and Zones. I moved to Arizona in 2016 and joined Senior Elite on the Silver Fins. I competed at High School State Championships and Senior State Championships.

Now I am a student at Northern Arizona University and I am graduating in Spring 2020. I am majoring in criminology and criminal justice with a minor in psychology. I was a member of the triathlon team at Northern Arizona University, and now I am a certified advanced and rescue scuba diver.

I have been teaching swim lessons since 2018 and lifeguarding since 2019 at the YMCA. I used to help coach my swim team in California and I am very excited to help coach the Silver Fins. I am a big believer in how competitive swimming is a process that takes time, hard work, determination, and perseverance. I look forward to helping every swimmer both in and out of the pool, and I can’t wait to see all of you on deck!

William Downey

Volunteer Masters Coach

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Bill Downey was employed in the hospitality industry for over 40 years.  After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a degree in Mass Communications, Bill secured his first position with General Mills Restaurants.  Initially hired as a Management Trainee, he progressed through the organization ultimately holding the position of Regional Director.  In this capacity, he held responsibility for 25 York Steak House Restaurants. 

After moving to Chicago, Bill was hired as the General Manager for Harry Caray’s Restaurant where he worked for over 5 years.  During that time, Bill was responsible for leading the front and back of house management team for this lunch and dinner operation which exceeded $10 millon in annual sales. 

Bill was recruited by Levy Restaurants Sports and Entertainment division.  Bill would go on to oversee the Suite operations at the newly opened Comiskey Park.  In this capacity, he oversaw 3 full service operations, including 120 suites, a 2,100 seat outdoor venue, and an 800 seat members only restaurant, The Terrace Club. 

During his time in Cleveland, Bill was promoted to a Regional Director of Operations position where he also worked with the Sports & Entertainment partners at Toronto Sky Dome and the MCI Center in Washington, DC. 

In March of 2000, Bill joined Beechmont Country Club as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer for this private, 900 member Jewish Country Club.  Bill was responsible for all aspects of the business , including the 18-hole golf course, newly renovated Fitness Center, complete Food & Beverage operations, Tennis, and a Summer Children’s Camp.

Bill and his wife Susie moved to Phoenix, Arizona in November of 2010. Wanting to experience hospitality within the Hotel / Resort industry, Bill joined The Phoenician as the General Manager of Il Terrazzo, the resort’s fine dining operation. 

He began his “second career” at LifeTime Fitness working in the cafe anon then was asked to be trained for swim instructor, shortly thereafter he assumed the responsibilities of Masters Swim Coach.  After building the program from 6 participants to 64, the team was competing in meets, including two trips to the US Masters National Championships.

He is now taken on the role of Masters Coach for the Valley YMCA Silver Fins.  He is looking forward to continuing his knowledge and grows the program for the new team.

 Bill lives in Peoria, Arizona with his wife Susie, and their rescued Old English Sheepdog, Oliver

Michael Levin

Strength & Conditioning

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I have always had a passion for the human body and how it works, and a desire to help others.   I love to help people achieve their goals by pushing them to be the best they can be.  So I decided to attend GCC's Exercise Science program and become a Certified Personal Trainer.  I have been certified by NSCA since 2013, and in 2016 received my functional and suspension certifications in TRX.  I also have a certificate in Nutrition for Fitness and Wellness.  I started dryland training with the Silver Fins in December of 2014.  I love seeing their success in reaching their goals in both the weight room and the pool.

Kiera R Suaverdez

PAC President

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My name is Kiera Suaverdez and I am a stay at home mom to 4 children-Landon, Marlee, Norah, and Olivia. I have been a member of the PAC since 2017 and have recently taken on the role as PAC President. Most of my time is dedicated to volunteering at my kids school and throughout the community. I also enjoy running, biking, hiking, and yoga.  My goals for the Silver Fins are to help provide consistency, open up communication, and encourage team involvement. 

All 4 of my kids are a part of the Silver Fin family, so you will often times see me on the pool deck.  If you ever have any questions, I am always around to help.