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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 [email protected]

Coaching Staff

Darian R 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 & Safe Sport Rep

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David is beginning his 2nd year as Head Age Group Coach for the Silver Fins.   

Dave is the Team's Safe Sport Coordinator

In his 1st season with the team he had multiple top 10 swimmers in Arizona Swimming.

Before Joining the Silver Fins he was the Head Coach  for the Mandell JCC Sharks Swim Team in West Hartford, CT for 16years.

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.

His Teams and Age Group Programs have finished in the top ten for the past 10 years with multiple Age Group Champions. His swimmers have broken and held multiple State records. Coach Dave has had over 70 swimmers qualify for Western & Eastern Zone Championships. He has had Multiple Sectional, Futures and Junior National Qualifiers swim for 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 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.

Dave is currently the Head coach for Millennium Girls and Boys Swim & Dive Team - Fear the Roar!

David is excited for the Silver Fins to have successful season.

Colleen Bollan

Desert Foothills Head Coach

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Coach Colleen is the head Coach of our Desert Foothills Silver Fin location loacted at the Desert Foothills Family YMCA in north Scottsdale. 

Colleen Bolan began her competitive swimming career at the age of 8 years old at the Heilman Recreation Center in Southeastern Michigan, competing in all strokes and the team freestyle and medley relays.  Later in her career she focused on distance swimming in the 500yd freestyle.

Colleen continued with competitive swimming up until 18 years of age with the East Detroit Seals Swim Club AAU Team traveling the Midwest in competitions, qualifying for summer championships each of those years.  In addition, she swam for her high school teams and summer teams through her community center. 

Colleen’s biggest individual accomplishment as a swimmer was when she qualified and competed at the Fort Lauderdale International Swimming Hall of Fame AAU Meet. 

Colleen has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and after a career in the technology industry, Colleen returned to her passion for competitive swimming, and is now in her 4th year as Head Coach for the YMCA Desert Foothills Dolphins Swim Team, where she coached a team of 40+ swimmers ranging from 6 to 18 years in age. Six of those swimmers have now moved into the Silver Fins competitive program, and Colleen is excited to begin her 1st season as Coach of the Silver Fins Swim Team at Desert Foothills YMCA location in 2021. She holds both the ASCA Level 1 (Foundations) and Level 2 (Stroke) Schools certifications.

Colleen says “I have learned so much from my involvement in competitive sports.  Sports taught me to never give up, and I use that every day in my career and personal life. No matter how tough something is, if you keep working at it and do not give up, you will succeed. Every swimmer has different goals they want to achieve in swimming.  I encourage those individual goals and work with each swimmer so that they can be successful in whichever direction of swimming they want to go.”

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

Nathon Burwick

Silver 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!”

Thalia J Tate

Bronze Group & FINS 1 Group Coach

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Thalia started competitively swimming at the age of 6 with the Okinawa Dolphins Swim Team. Every year from 2004-2011 she qualified for Japan’s Tokyo Youth Championships. She has also competed with Yuma Heat Swim Team, Kubasaki High School, and Millennium High School. While living in Japan she has had the opportunity to not only swim but also compete in triathlons and compete vocally in singing/talent competitions. Thalia has been coaching for 6 years and has been involved with swim for 20+ years. Her mom/coach has competed in the Seoul, South Korea 1988 Olympics and has heavily influenced her passion to coach and swim. Her events are 800 Free, 400 Free, 400 IM, and 200 Breaststroke.
“I’m determined to create a fun and safe environment for athletes in hopes that they will follow suit and teach others about the love and passion of this sport.”
Currently, Thalia is also the head coach of Trivium Preparatory Academy.

Denise O'Connell

FINS 2 Group Coach

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Denise is our FINS 2 Coach

Megan M 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."

Bill Hunter

Head Dive Coach

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Coach Bill started diving through the local summer pool league in New Jersey, and continued through High School. He also participated in Track and Field. The 800 was his main race and it earned him a college scholarship, thereby ending his diving career temporarily.

When his young sons decided to try diving, he re-engaged in the sport and began coaching at the Goodyear pool in the mid 90’s. And later, with ’76 Olympian, Barb Nejman, who became his coaching mentor for the next 20 years. 

Bill and Barb started the Silver Fins Dive team in 2012 and have grown it to produce some of the top divers in the State, with a number qualifying for national level competition.  In addition to the Silver Fins Dive team, Coach Bill coaches at four Agua Fria District High Schools.

Madison A Szeremet

Assistant 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!

Amauri F Perez

Assistant Coach

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Hi! My name is Amauri Perez-Sandoval and I have been swimming since I was in Mighty Mahi for around 8-10 years. I have been a Silver Fin for almost my whole swimming career, I was able to compete at States and other swimming events. I was placed 15th in the 400 Free back in 2019. My main strokes are Freestyle and Backstroke. I swam for GCU Club swimming for a year and qualified to go to Nationals with them.

I am currently a Junior at Grand Canyon University and my major is Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity with a Minor in Graphic Design and Advertising. I will be graduating from GCU in 2022 with my degree! 

My swim coaching philosophy is focused on achieving your goals while having fun!

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.   

Autumn Fotta

Assistant Dive Coach

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I grew up in Pittsburgh PA where I started diving in middle school and competed all 4 years of diving in high school at North Hills. I also was on the University of Pittsburgh's club diving team during high school. I continued to compete 1M and 3M at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. I began coaching diving in high school during learn to dive programs and private lessons. I coached swimming and diving at the YMCA in Clarion PA during undergrad. I moved out to Arizona in August 2019 to attend Midwestern University’s veterinarian school. I look forward to helping your child learn the sport of dive!