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Coaches

We are here to help you. If you have questions about practices, workouts, meets or anything else about swimming, please contact one of the coaches. If you have questions about the Water Rats Parents' Club, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please contact one of the Parents' Club board members.

Coaching Staff

Ellen P Johnston

Head Coach

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Ellen, who was named Head Coach in the spring of 2012, celebrated 30 years with the Water Rat Swim Team in 2016. Ellen joined the team in November 1986 as an assistant coach, working with swimmers at every level in the program. She quickly became a full-time assistant coach and was promoted to Senior Coach in 1990. Prior to working in Westport, Ellen coached the Bulldog Swim Club in Bowie, Maryland, where she was the Senior II and Head Age Group Coach. She also coached all levels of the South Carolina Aquatic Team in Columbia. Ellen was named YMCA National Coach of the Year in 2015.  She also has been named Connecticut Senior Coach of the Year twice and was nominated for the honor again in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Ellen strives to help her swimmers mature as individuals as they progress from the age group to senior level and she encourages them to challenge themselves physically and mentally every day.

Adam B. King

Head Junior Coach

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Adam is the Head Junior Coach.  Adam is a teacher from New Rochelle and began his coaching career in 1998.  He has worked in all facets of the swimming world: summer club, high school and USA club coaching.  Adam spent 10 years as a Junior Team coach at Badger Swim Club, and he has also been coaching New Rochelle HS Varsity boys and girls teams since 2000.  Adam exhibits tremendous rapport, knowledge and patience with his athletes, and he will be a great asset to all programs of the Water Rats.  

Robert A Urban

Head Developmental Coach

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Level 3;2 (High School; USA) ASCA Certification
Rob, who joined the Water Rat coaching staff in spring of 2015, currently serves as our Head Developmental Coach. Rob's main practice group is Discovery II, where he transitions swimmers comming out of the 8/under program- which he also oversees. Rob previously served as the Head Coach of the Stratford YMCA (BSY) Swim Team from 2012-2015. During the summer, Rob is the Head Coach and Assistant Pool Director at the Weston Field Club, which competes in Division 4 of the Fairfield County Swim League (FCSL). He also coaches boys High School swimming at Fairfield Prep, where he serves as the Head Assistant Coach. Rob loves working with swimmers of all ages and abilities. In Rob’s free time he enjoy sports such as softball, and cheers for both the New York Jets and Mets.

Omar Cruz

Assistant Senior Coach

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Level 3 ASCA Certification
Omar joins the Water Rat family as an assistant with the senior practice groups.  Most recently, Omar spent 15 years as Head Coach with the Zeus Swim Team where he has had much success on a local, regional, and national level.  Omar left ZEUS as he has become managing partner of Executive Real Estate Premier Properties, a real estate business in Westport.  Helping with the senior team a couple of days a week allows Omar to continue to follow his passion of coaching, but also to spend the time needed to be successful with his real estate business and more importantly, to spend time with his family.

Kristen L Finnegan

Associate Age Group Coach

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Level 3 ASCA Certification
2015, 2016 Connecticut Zone Team Coach
Kristen, who joined the Water Rat coaching staff in 2012, currently serves as the Lead Coach for our Discovery I group and works with our senior group. Kristen previously served as the Head 8/Under Coach and head of the team's pre-competitive programs. She started working at the Family Y in 2006 as a swim instructor, spending eight summers working at the Y’s Hafaday swim program. In 2015 Coach Kristen was selected as a member of the Connecticut Zone Team Coaching Staff, which she served on for 2 years. Kristen was also an assistant coach with the Staples High School Girls' team for 3 years and currently serves as the Assistant Swim Coach with Sacred Heart University.
Kristen is a 2011 graduate of St. John’s University with a degree in Biology. She began swimming competitively at the age of six and continues to train with the Water Rat Masters and competes annually at YMCA Masters Nationals Championships.

Sara Ann Mesavage

8/Under Coach

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Sara Mesavage has been involved in the sport of swimming her entire life. She began swimming for the Stratford YMCA at the age of three and continued on the team until she was 18. She also swam for the Bunnell High School bulldogs. While in high school, she gained her first years of coaching experience at the Stratford YMCA with developmental swimmers. Upon graduating, Sara attended the University of Vermont where she studied English Literature, as well as the University of Kent in Canterbury, England with the Buckingham Overseas Program. She has a MAT from Sacred Heart University and is currently teaching for the Milford Public School district. Sara has coached with the Trumbull Pisces and the Park City Wolfpack, concentrating in developmental and pre-team programs. In her spare time, Sara enjoys spending time with her family, travelling back to England, yoga, and snuggling with her Siberian husky, Snowy.

Marta Taddeo

Assistant Coach

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Level 4 ASCA Certification
Marta coached with the Water Rats from 2003-2010 and recently returned to the team in 2016. She coaches with the Discovery 3, Challenger 2, and Senior 3 groups. Growing up she swam with the Badger Swim Club in NY and swam competitively through college at Case Western Reserve University. She recently rejoined competitive swimming through Masters and attends Masters YMCA Nationals with the Westport Y team each spring. She has additional experience coaching with Country Club, High School, and College Club Swimming. Marta has 2 Masters degrees in science and recently completed her PhD in Biochemistry from UMASS Lowell. She teaches Chemistry courses part-time at Fairfield University but enjoys still being involved in coaching swimming with the WRATS. Her outside hobbies include training for triathlon, playing video games, ballroom dancing, and tinkering with mechanical devices including her car.

Michelle Koubeck

Assistant Coach

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Michelle joined the coaching staff in the Spring of 2019, working with our 8/unders and 9/10 and 11/12 year olds.  She has a degree in Math from Carnegie Mellon, and then worked at Intel Corporation in Santa Clara before staying at home to raise her three children. Michelle swam and competed at all levels of swimming including with a club, in High School, College and at the Masters level including open water swims.  Michelle was a USA swimming official for 11 years and is currently a High School Swim official for Fairfield County, Certified Masters coach, USA Swim Coach and runs the swim fit group at the Y.

Rich Carter

Assistant Senior Coach

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Rich joined the Water Rat Coaching staff the Spring of 2019, working mainly with the Senior Group. Rich is a native of New Canaan who swam for the Water Rats from 1988 to 1996 under coach Ellen Johnston. During his swimming career he set multiple team and state records on the way to becoming an Eastern Zone champion and Y National finalist. He began his coaching career with the St. Croix Dolphins Swim Team before becoming the head swimming and water polo coach at Canterbury School in New Milford, CT. Under coach Carter’s guidance saints swimmers broke twenty three school records over four seasons.Rich attended Villanova University where he was a standout defenseman for the Wildcats division I lacrosse program. He is currently the assistant coach for the Ireland Men’s National Lacrosse Team and just completed his tenure as head boys varsity coach at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, FL. He continues to compete in open water and triathlon events. Rich and his wife Leslie reside in New Canaan.

Adrienne Williams

Team Administrator

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Adrienne's current role is as the Team Administrator.  She is involved in team registration, meet management, team apparel orders, communications between swim families, the coaching staff, and Y staff, and maintaining the team's website.  She served as Co-President of the Westport Water Rats Parents' Club from September 2011 to August 2014. She served as the Meet Chair from September 2009 – August 2011 and helped managed and planned all aspects of team-hosted swim meets working with the Head Coach and meet managers.  Adrienne’s children grew up with the Water Rats program and one of them swam in college.  Adrienne has her Law Degree from George Washington University and B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She practiced law for thirteen years before staying at home to raise her children and becoming a swim mom.