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Coaches & Directors

 
 

Coaching Staff

Emil Dimitrov

Head Coach & Platinum Coach

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Emil Dimitrov brings over 18 years of coaching experience to KAJ including experience as head coach of the Milton Marlins in Ontario, the University of  Calgary age group program and West Kelowna's Liquid Lightning.

Over the years, Emil has trained national level swimmers including David Dimitrov, Jennifer Porenta, Kristin McIlroy and Kierra Smith. Dimitrov says his coaching philosophy focuses heavily on swimming technique. "In my experience, it is proper technique, especially at the development stage, that provides the best foundation for success and reduces the risk of injury or burnout. As a result I have never had a swimmer suffer a swimmer related injury during my 17+ years of head coaching".

In 2011 Emil was awarded the BC Coaches Association Junior Coach of the Year award and in 2017, Emil was awarded with the Internatinal Coach of the Year from the BC Swim Coaches Association.

 

Thomas Robinson

Team Manager and Silver Coach H2O

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Thomas was a competitive swimmer for 14 years with the Pacific Sea Wolves. After finishing swimming, he became a coach for the Kelowna AquaJets and has been coaching swimmers in the Junior Jet program for the past 5 years. He is now the coach for Silver group out of the H2O as well as the Kelowna AquaJets Team Manager. He is excited to take his passion for the sport and coach everyone to become the best swimmer they can be.   

Stefan Pripoae

Gold Coach H2O

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Stefan was a former nationally ranked swimmer who has been coaching with the Cascade Swim Club out of Calgary for the past 5 years. Having competed for 12 years previous to coaching, Stefan is very excited to bring his love of the sport and dedication to coaching to the Aqua Jets. He looks forward to inspiring athletes to achieve their true potential and find a long lasting love for the sport."

John Douglas

Gold Coach JBMac

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John was a swimmer and water polo player for Simon Fraser University from 1978 to 1983. He was one of the founding coaches of the Liquid Lightning Swim Club in 1994 and has coached with the Lightning, the Kelowna AquaJets, the Ogopogo Summer Swim Club and the Mission Marlins Summer Club. John is the coach of our gold swimmers and is also the pool manager for the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre (JBMAC). John has excellent technical coaching skills and is adept at conveying techniques to our young swimmers. The swimmers in his group seem to thoroughly enjoy John and his effective coaching style.

 

Tina Pomponio

Silver & Junior Jet Coach JBMac

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Tina grew up in a small community much like West Kelowna, and had two awesome swim coaches during her years of swimming who inspired her to coach. Tina started swimming at the age of 6 and by age 10 had AAA (Provincial) times in butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke. Tina admits that freestyle was not her best stroke. By the time she was 13, she was swimming Junior National times in these strokes and made National times at 15.  Tina really shows her love for swimming in her coaching abilities and her enthusiasm. Our kids love her and she is an integral part of our coaching staff.

Alex Diaz

Bronze & Junior Jet Coach JBMac

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Alex starting swimming at the age of 6 and swam for 11 years with the Liquid Lightning Swim Club. He competed at the AAA Provincial and then onto the Age Group National level. He coached LLSC last year and has also worked as a lifeguard at Johnson Bentley pool for 3 years. He is excited to share his passion and love for swimming through the coaching aspect to help kids improve their competitive swimming skills as well as to excite them to love the sport as much as he did growing up. 

Linda La La Lone

Bronze Coach H2O and KFY

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I started swimming at an early age, competing with both winter and summer club in Ontario. I was predominately a back stroke swimmer, but could also hold my own in free as well. I had the opportunity to compete at the Provincial level. While a teen, one of my mentors suggested I consider coaching with their Special O program. I was hooked. I have been teaching and coaching ever since. Provincial level basketball teams, National level track athletes, and of course Kelowna Aquajets. I taught school at the elementary level in Ontario, before moving to BC. I have NCCP Levels 1 & 2, with Level 3 Theory and Technical in swimming, as well as others in Athletics and Triathlon. I also teach the Level 1 NCCP course to new coaches.

Christina Russo

Copper Coach H2O

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Christina has been a competitive swimmer for over 10 years. She has swum for both the Liquid Lightning and the Kelowna AquaJets Swim Clubs. Some of her achievements in the sport include being a Provincial Champion, Western National medalist and an Olympic Trials competitor. Along with being a swimmer, Christina has been a swim coach for the last five years. She is excited to bring her passion of the sport to the Junior Jets program and looks forward to helping the Junior Jets achieve their swimming goals.

Ian Dixon

Hammerhead H2O and Teen Fit H2O

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This is Ian's sixth year coaching with the Kelowna AquaJets. He ‎is midway through his four year business degree in Kelowna at Okanagan college. He is extremely excited to be coaching the junior jets this year and looks forward to many good memories from this season.  After spending the summer coaching and traveling he looks forward to seeing the improvement in the junior jets as the year progresses. In his free time you will find him up at Big White or hanging out with friends. Please feel free to come have a chat on pool deck if you have any questions or drop him an email and he will be happy to get back to you!

Samantta Villanueva

Tiger Coach H2O

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Chantelle Douglas

Copper & Junior Jet Coach JBMac

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Chantelle was a competitive swimmer for ten years with Liquid Lightning Swim Club. As a swimmer, my best races were 50, 100 and 200 backstroke. At the age of fourteen, she made Age Group Nationals and Western times for backstroke. When her swimming career came to a close, she took the necessary courses and became a National Lifeguard. She has worked the last couple summers at Johnson Bentley pool and is looking forward to coaching and sharing her passion for the sport.

Maddy Mcanerin

Junior Jet Coach H2O

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Maddy Mcanerin swam competively with the Pacific Sea Wolves for 13 years. Her best stroke was butterfly and best races were 200m fly and 400IM. Currently Maddy is a lifeguard and swim instructor. This is Maddy’s first season with the club, but she is super excited to be coaching the Junior Jets.

Gabrielle Marianne Hanvold

Junior Jet Coach JBMAC

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Emily Epp

Junior Jet Coach H2O

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Emily has been a competitive swimmer with Kelowna Aquajets since 2009, and has swam at high level Provincial, Western, and National competitions. She has also participated in many Across the Lake Swim events in Kelowna, and 7km Rattlesnake Island Swim events in Peachland. Emily was inspired by English Channel swimmer, Brent Hobbs, when she was 10 years old to one day swim the English Channel. In July 2017, she successfully completed her dream of swimming the Channel. She has completed her NCCP Level 1 swim coach course, and she looks forward to passing on her love of the water to swimmers of all ages.