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Coaches & Directors

We are here to support you. If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, or other swimming-related needs, please contact one of the coaches. For questions related to administration, please contact our office at 403-220-2772.

COACHING STAFF

Mike Blondal

Director of Swimming

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Mike has been coaching in Calgary at the UofC and UCSC since 1988 and has been the Head Coach/Director of Swimming since 1994. In his swimming career, he swam at Lakeside Swim Club, Pointe Claire Swim Club, CAMO, University of Houston Cougars, Vancouver Dolphins, and UBC Thunderbirds. He also swam internationally for Canada numerous times and was a double silver medalist at the Pan American Games in 1975.

He began his education for coaching at the University of Houston and finished at UBC with a BPE major and a minor in zoology. Mike’s previous coaching before Calgary was in Nanaimo, first as the Head Coach of the White Rapids (summer club) and then as the Head Coach for the Riptides (winter club). Except for his first five years in Calgary he has always worked as a Head Coach and has really enjoyed working with all the athletes and parents over the years.

He has coached the UofC Dino’s and UCSC teams to many national championships both at the club level and varsity, as well as placed many swimmers on Albertan and Canadian provincial and national teams. He has been on staff many times at almost every major International competition including but not limited to the Olympics, SC World Championships, LC World Championships, Pan American Games, Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, World Student Games, Mare Nostrum, North American Challenge, European Champs, etc.

Mike has been voted by his peers as CIS Coach of the Year a few times and works extensively on behalf of coaches in Canada and Alberta by sitting on the Alberta Coaches Council and the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association. He is a coach that believes in quality coaching, and self-reliance for the swimmer. Throughout his career he has had the opportunity to work with great staff, strong boards of directors, and has had the opportunity to build strong relationships with many swimmers. He looks forward to another new season!  

 

Ray Betuzzi

Varsity Coach

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Ray has been involved with coaching for the last 6 years.  He has worked his way up from an assistant in the age group program to running his own group to now being involved at the University level.  Ray is a former competitive swimmer for UCSC and represented our Club and Canada on the international stage as a member of the Sr. National Team.  He also spent 4 years competing at the NCAA level and then returned to continue swimming post grad.  Being involved with the program as both a swimmer and a coach has allowed him to really grow with UCSC.  He is excited to be coaching the senior swimmers and looks forward to helping them achieve their goals in and out of the pool.

Rick Pelletier

Varsity Assistant/Massage Therapist

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Rick returns for his 12th season as an assistant coach with both Varsity and senior swimmers. Rick brings over 25 years of coaching experience, having worked as Head Coach and in various Assistant Head Coaching positions in Alberta and Manitoba. Rick is also a Massage Therapist, and his expertise in sport massage has earned him the opportunity to be selected to numerous international competitions as a member of the IST Staff with Swimming Canada, recently being selected to his third Olympic Games. He has consistently been selected to provide massage therapy at a large majority of International games over the past 10 years. 

OLYMPIC GAMES (2008, 2012, 2016)

FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)

PAN PAC CHAMPIONSHIPS (1999, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)

FISU – WORLD STUDENT GAMES (2011, 2015)

COMMONWEALTH GAMES (2010)

WORLD SHORT COURSE CHAMPS (1998)

FINA WORLD JUNIORS (2008)

JR PAN PAC CHAMPS (2009)

Carl Simonson

Assistant Head Coach and Gold 15

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Coach Carl is the Assistant Head Coach and the GOLD 15 group coach at the University of Calgary Swim Club.  Since his arrival in 2012 UCSC has become a perennial top performing team at both Westerns and Canadian Junior Championships.

Carl is a graduate of the NCCP Advanced Coaching Diploma program delivered through the National Coaching institute – Calgary.  This two-and-a-half-year program is comprised of experts in various fields providing weekly seminars and ongoing course work to be submitted and defended annually. 

Carl’s recent career and volunteer highlights include:

  • Coaching in Alberta since 1992
  • Age Group Head Coach (EKSC)
  • Head Coach of the Olympian Swim Club (OSC)
  • Multiple Junior National and Western Canadian Championship Titles
  • Placed Swimmers on 2010 Pan Pacific Championship and other National Teams
  • National Medalists and Finalists in both men’s and women’s events as well as in every stroke discipline
  • Multiple swimmers on Provincial and National Teams representing Alberta and Canada
  • Head Coach of Alberta’s 2009 Canada Games Team
  • Alberta Provincial Stroke Coach
  • Elected Executive Member of the Alberta Coaches Council
  • NCCP Level 3 Certified
  • Advanced Coaching Diploma

As an experienced Canadian Swim Coach with a proven record of building successful teams and an ability to effectively manage a large swim club, Carl is a valuable member and leader of the UCSC Coaching Staff.

Jared Wilson

Black 15

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Jared is very excited to begin his second season coaching the Black 15 squad! He is originally from Edmonton where he both swam and coached for the Olympian Swim Club. With OSC he held a number of roles over the years, including time as Assistant Head Coach and General Manager. Jared uses lessons learned coaching at all levels to bring a fresh perspective to the pool every day.

With his background as a Chartered Professional Accountant, Jared has a very analytical outlook on swimming. Despite his professional designation, swimming is what he is passionate about and has chosen to pursue. His data analysis skills make him a whiz at stats and a major driver behind his coaching. Jared has high on-deck energy and loves to share his passion for the sport with his athletes. Jared has coached a variety of athletes over the years including many Provincial and National level swimmers. Given his belief in technical foundation he has enjoyed coaching development swimming over the years. However, with his passion for race analysis he really enjoys working with older athletes to find new ways to continue to improve.

Off deck, Jared loves to watch and consume other sports as a spectator and a fan. He is an avid Oilers fan which he hopes won’t be too much of an issue in the new surroundings. He loves being outside and spends his time hiking and skiing with his wife Lauren whenever possible. 

Dave Macdonald

Gold 14

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Dave is excited to be returning for his third season with the University of Calgary Swim Club this fall. Dave is Level 3 (Senior Coach) certified.  Dave’s coaching philosophy is that for swimmers to be successful they need to strive to improve every day. Through dedicating themselves to their training and challenging themselves in the pool every workout, he knows that they can reach great heights in the sport.

Swimmers that Dave has coached over the years have won medals at the Senior, Junior, Age Group, and Western National Championships levels, while breaking many Provincial and National records. These swimmers have gone on to compete on National teams at the World Championship, World Junior Championship, Junior Pan Pacific Championship and various National and Provincial teams.

He has also been named as a coach to National and Provincial Teams including most recently the 2017 Swim Alberta Emerge tour, in addition to the 2014 Junior Pan Pacs and 2013 Canada Games. In 2013 Dave was awarded the Swim Alberta Desperado Award, and in 2010 Dave received the Alberta Age Group and Para-Swimming Coach of the Year awards. For the last six years he has been a member of the Alberta Coaches Council and has acted as Chair for the last three.

Dave began his own swimming career at age 9 in Mississauga, Ontario. He swam there for 9 years before attending the University of Victoria in British Columbia. He competed for the UVic Vikes for five years while completing his Bachelor of Commerce degree. While swimming in Victoria, Dave represented British Columbia at the 2001 Canada Games and won a bronze medal in the 200 backstroke at the 2002 Canadian Interuniversity Sports championship.

Dave is excited to continue as part of the of great swimming tradition at the University of Calgary Swim Club and hopes to contribute to this legacy in the future!

Lauren Wilson

Black 14

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Lauren is very excited to start her second season with the Dinos! She is originally from Edmonton where she both swam and coached for the Olympian Swim Club. As OSC’s Age Group Performance Coach and Communications Coordinator she was responsible for training some of the clubs fastest 12-14 year olds, club-wide entries, updating social media as well as re-vamping the website. Over the past 7 years, she has coached a range of athletes from young development swimmers to Alberta Champs medalists to Western and CJC Qualifiers. She also spent a year working for Swim Alberta where she was heavily involved in the Provincial meets and Swim AB Camps. Through this role, she gained a new perspective of the sport on a local, provincial and national level. Her degree in Communications (Journalism) also brings a unique skill set to the club – a skill that she hopes will contribute to making UCSC more successful than it already is.

Lauren, who is NCCP Level 2 certified, is passionate about swimming and truly believes that sport teaches important life skills such as hard work, dedication and perseverance.  She is proud to be a part of the Dino swim team and can’t wait to have a positive impact on the Black14 swimmers this season!

Off deck, Lauren enjoys spending as much time outdoors as possible with her husband Jared and their chocolate lab Baloo. 

Thomas Jobin

Red 14

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Thomas is very excited to be coaching the Red 14 group at UCSC this season! Over the 15 years that he swam competitively for the Cascade Swim Club, Thomas held 20 Club records, 11 Provincial records and 3 National records. He was selected for the Junior Development team 3 times, was a member of Team Canada at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and was a finalist in the 200m Butterfly at the 2012 OIympic Trials in Montreal. After receiving the Jimmie Condon Scholarship, Thomas went on to compete for the UofC Varsity team where he was a CIS medalist many times. He is excited for a new season with the Dinos and specifically the Red 14 swimmers!


 

Jeff Welechuk

Gold 12

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Born in Hinton, Alberta, Jeff began his swimming career with a local summer club. At the age of 15, he left home and moved to Edmonton and joined the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club. It was there that he first made the national team and then went on to swim with the University of Alberta Golden Bear’s varsity team. In 1995, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, moved to Calgary and began doing technical software support for a geophysical company. Jeff continued to swim for an additional year with the University of Calgary Swim Club. Throughout his swimming career, Jeff had many successes:

• 1996 World Master’s Record Holder – 100 back
• 1988-1993 Varsity Swimmer, University of Alberta Golden Bears, Edmonton, Alberta
• University of Alberta Record Holder, 50 free, 100 free, and 100 back
• 1992 Olympic Trials, Montreal
• 1991 Pan American Games, Havana, Cuba
• 1988 Olympic Trials, Montreal

In 1996, he joined the University of Calgary Swim Club as a coach. Jeff is a level 2 certified NCCP coach who focuses on excellence in stroke development, endurance training, dry land training, meet preparation, parent and coach liaison and using video analysis. In 2015, Jeff left the Oil & Gas Industry to pursue a career in Education. He is currently in his second year of the B. Ed after degree program at the University of Calgary. It was also in 2015 that Jeff won the Alberta Provincial Coach of the year award. 

He encourages the well-being and overall personal and swimming development of each individual swimmer in his group. Jeff also enjoy downhill skiing, mountain biking and having fun.

Personal Quotation: “There is no crying in sports unless you win a Gold Medal at the Olympics. And then I’ll cry with you.”

 

Tao Zhao

Gold 11

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Tao started swimming in Sichuan Province in China at the age of nine. Since then her life has always been centered around the pool.  By the time Tao was thirteen she was a member of the Sichuan Provincial Team.  During her athletic career she held the provincial backstroke record for several years, won many national medals, and was awarded the title of China's National Swimming Master.  After her athletic career she started coaching and has done so for more than twenty years.  She has helped develop young swimmers into provincially ranked athletes and has sent athletes from the Sichuan Provincial team to rank in China's National Swimming Championships.  Many of her Chinese athletes went on to win national championships, medals, and also the title of National Swimming Master.

Tao has been coaching the UCSC’s Black 12 Squad for the past two years helping many swimmers achieve both Alberta Provincial and Alberta Championship standards.  She absolutely enjoys and loves her career coaching young swimmers in developing their skills and competitive mindset.  She is looking forward to applying her vast coaching experience in her third competitive season at UCSC with the Gold 11 Squad!

Caitlin Kruger

Black 12

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Caitlin is enthusiastic and excited for her second season coaching with the Dinos! She has learned a lot since her days as a swimmer - where she competed with teams within Canada and with the University of Ottawa. She was impressed with the work ethic and focus that the kids put in last year - going from zero Provincial qualifiers to eight! She recently graduated in Spring 2018 with her Bachelor degree in Sport and Recreation Management. She is now working with Fast and Female to coordinate their Calgary 2018 Summit. She is keen to get back in the classroom and further her education in competitive swimming, enrolling herself in the Swimming 201 NCCP coaching course. 
 
Caitlin shares a lot of the core Dino values that make this team so great. To be dedicated, disciplined, and determined, she believes that the kids can pursue their goals in the sport and in life. She emanates that the skills sport teach kids can transcend beyond the pool and help them succeed in everyday life, persevering in the face of adversity.
 
Off-deck Caitlin enjoys hiking, snowboarding, swimming, and rock climbing. Caitlin is excited to coach B12 this year, seeing some familiar and unfamiliar faces - showing up with great attitudes to train and perform. Let’s go UCSC!

Caroline Mercier

Black 11

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Caroline is super excited to be coaching Black 11 this year! Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, she began her swimming career 13 years ago on the island of Bermuda. After returning to BC, she gained her first coaching experience with her high school swim team. Adding to those 4 years, she coached with the Fredericton Aquanauts Swim Team (FAST) for three years while completing her BA Joint Honours degree from the University of New Brunswick. She has coached all ages, but this past year Caroline coached the 12-14 Provincial level swimmers with FAST - with some athletes reaching for their national standards! She is very excited for her first season with UCSC! 

Greg Parsons

TREX A and TREX C Head Coach

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Greg is excited for his second year as Head Coach of TREX A and TREX C as well as overseeing the TREX program as Lead Coach. Greg is a Level 2 coach (in training) and he strives to build strong relationships with each of his athletes based on trust and respect. Greg believes each athlete must become intrinsically motivated and believe in themselves and the value of sport. He believes that a love of sport develops through a strong coach-athlete relationship. Greg works hard with each athlete to help them build their goals and take responsibility of their swimming while guiding and pushing them to become the best they can be. Greg believes that great swimming is built on a foundation of great technique and makes this a focus in his workouts. Greg swam for UCSC for 8 years at the Provincial and National level before transitioning into coaching and has an immense pride for his team. Greg has coached below TREX in the development program, above TREX in the Red program, and within TREX in leadership positions and looks forward to preparing his athletes for the next level in their swim career.

 

 

Abby DiCastri

TREX B Head Coach

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This is Abby’s second season with the Trex program and she is extremely excited to step into a head coach role this year for TREX B. She started swimming at the age of nine for the Cochrane Comets swim club and swam there for many years before deciding to switch to UCSC to further her development as an athlete. Abby swam at the national level for many seasons before switching to coaching. Abby has always had a great love for the sport of swimming and hopes she will be able to teach the TREX program to love the sport as she did. She looks forward to working and learning closely with so many other talented coaches and getting to be apart of such a wonderful club environment. Abby is a trained NCCP level one coach with high hopes to continue her coaching education. When she’s not on deck, you can find her studying at Mount Royal, working on finishing her bachelor degree in International Business - with the goal of taking her law degree afterwards.

Lorna Snow

Churchill 1/2/3 Head Coach

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Lorna Snow is the Head Coach in the Development Program at Churchill pool. She is one of the most experienced and educated coaches of young swimmers in Canada. She has been committed to UCSC for over 30 years. Lorna has a Master's degree in Physical Education from the University of Western Ontario. She taught Therapeutic Recreation at Mount Royal University for 25 years and continues to coach for the joy of the interaction with the children. Lorna is a certified NCCP Level II swim coach. She has a passion and ethusiasm for teaching excellent technique, and encouraging young swimmers to love the sport and have confidence in their abilities. Her swimmers learn the value of respect, commitment and hard work.

When asked, "Who are the most successful athletes you have coached?" Lorna said, "Approximately 2,500 children have gone through the development program at Churchill pool, have learned to swim extremely well, and have grown up to be happy, healthy, contributing citizens. Their lives were enriched because of the experiences they had in our club. These are my most successful athletes."

Katie Harper

Shouldice 1/2 Head Coach

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Katie is excited to be back leading the Shouldice Program for a second year. This is her third year coaching in UCSC’s Development Program. Prior to coaching, Katie swam for eight years with UCSC - starting in the Shouldice Program, just like her swimmers. Katie is a trained NCCP Level I Coach.

 

Off the pool deck, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science at the University of Calgary. Katie also has a cat named J.T. and a yellow lab named Allie.

Jessika Craig

Team Manager/Travel Coordinator

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Jess Craig grew up in South Eastern Ontario where she started competitive swimming at the age of 7 with the Quinte Bluefins. She also swam for the CFB Trenton Dolphins and the Ernestown Barracudas. At 18 she moved out to Calgary to swim with the University of Calgary Dinos. She represented the Dinos for 5 years and graduated with degrees in History and Communications. Upon graduation she moved to Germany to teach English. In her spare time Jess loves to hike and watch Netflix.

UCSC General Manager

Annabel Stevens

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Annabel started out her swimming career in Kingston Jamaica at the age of 5.    She moved with her family to Canada at the age of 7 and continued swimming with the Juan De Fuca Cohos and then the Hyack Swim Club.  She attended the Canadian Olympic Trials is 1988 and 1992 and graduated from Simon Fraser University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Business Administration.  In 1997 she moved out to Calgary and began working with UCSC in 2002.   She enjoys working in the office as well as coaching when she can.  She has 2 children (19 and 17) who both swam with the Dinos for many years.  In her spare time she likes to play tennis, travel and spend time with her family and her dog Smokey.