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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.

Scott D VanKuilenburg

Head Age Group Coach

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Level 4 ASCA Certification
Scott joined the Water Rat coaching staff in 2015, Scott serves as our Head Age Group Coach. Scott comes to Water Rats after coaching both the Central Florida Marlins and Forest High Swimming in Ocala, Florida.  Coach Scott has been on deck with all levels of swimming from novice to NCAA qualifiers Scott’s coaching background includes college level at, Brandeis University DIII, University of Bridgeport DII, and Harvard University DI.  Scott has coached Age Group and High School swimmers in Germany, Florida and California.  Scott has worked swimming camps at the University of Tennessee, Harvard University and Mittersill, Austria. Coach Scott was head coach of the Cambridge Masters Swim Club where he worked with swimmers that ranged from novice masters swimmers to masters world record holder and international triathletes. 
Scott graduated of University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Education/Exercise Physiology after serving five years active duty in the Air Force and reaching the rank of Sergeant. Scott utilized his education degree as an elementary school physical education teacher, 2nd grade teacher and dorm parent.
As an athlete, Scott competed USA Swimming until he was in his mid-30’s. He was also a five-time USA Masters Swimming (USMS) National Champion, a two-time USMS All-American and a member of the 400 Medley Relay USMS national-record team. In addition to pool swimming, Scott has successfully completed an English Channel relay crossing, the Boston Marathon and a Half Ironman. In Scott’s free time he enjoys open water swimming, surfing and cheers for all Boston sports teams and the Tennessee Volunteers.

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 our Lead Coach for our JAG 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. Kristen is also the Assistant Girls Coach at Staples High School.
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 swam for Bunnell High School continued to swim through college. Kristen is currently training with the YMCA’s Swim Fit Program and competes at Y Masters Nationals. In Kristen’s free time she enjoys spoiling her dog, Starbucks coffee, and donuts.

Frisk Driscoll

Assistant Senior Coach

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Level 2 ASCA Certification
Frisk his current tenure with the Water Rats in the fall of 2010. He swam competitively for Head Coach Ellen Johnston for over 10 years as a middle distance freestyler and backstroker and was a finalist at the YMCA National Swimming Championship.
Frisk works with our Senior and National Level swimmers. Frisk is also Head Boys Swim Coach at Staples High School where he graduated from and earned All-American honors.
Frisk graduated from University of Connecticut with a degree in Sports Management in 2010, where he excelled in distance events. During three straight years, he made finals in the 1650 Freestyle at the Big East Conference Championships. Frisk is currently pursuing a masters degree in sport psychology. Frisk also enjoys swimming in open water. He finished first in the Westport Y Compo Point to Point three times, and his relay team came in first three times in Swim Across the Sound, the St. Vincent's Hospital fundraiser. In Frisk’s free time he enjoy sports and cheers for the New England Patriots.

Caitlyn Hracs

Assistant Age Group Coach

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Level 2 ASCA Certification.
Caitlyn joined the Water Rat coaching staff in 2014. Caitlyn serves as our Head Coach for our 8/Under program and assists the Challenger I & II groups. Caitlyn was selected as a member of the Connecticut Zone Team coaching staff of Eastern Zone Championships: 2016-2017 Short Course & 2017 Long Course.
Prior to coming to the Water Rats, Caitlyn has worked with & has taught a vast variety of ages and abilities. She was Head Coach for the Cardinal Shehan Center Sharks Swim Team in Bridgeport 2010-2012 and was the assistant coach of the Fairfield YMCA Fly Fins 2013-2014. During the summers she also currently co coaches at The Patterson Club of Fairfield, as well as runs Patterson's swim lesson and camp swim programs. As a collegiate athlete, Caitlyn was a scholarship student-athlete at Sacred Heart University, where she swam the 100 and 200 Butterfly and the 200 & 400 IM. She grew up swimming for the Trumbull Pisces, SoNoCo Swim Club & Connecticut Swimming. Over 8 consecutive years Caitlyn ranked Top16 in the State of Connecticut in numerous swim events. Caitlyn was captain of the Trumbull High School swim team 2009-2010. Caitlyn continues to compete in open water events, she participated in the 2014 Swim Across the Sound and enjoys participating in 10k road races & half marathons. Caitlyn is a certified Personal Trainer by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Her second love to swimming is the game of Rugby.

Peter Mesavage

Assistant Age Group Coach

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Peter, who joined the Water Rat coaching staff in 2008, started swimming at the Stratford YMCA when he was five years old. He later swam for the Stratford Y Sea Dogs for 13 years, attending YMCA Nationals multiple times. During high school at Fairfield Prep, Peter was named the Class LL Championship Most Outstanding swimmer and he was named All-American both his junior and senior years. He went on to swim for the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied history. Peter competed in the NCAA Division 3 Nationals where he again earned All-American status as a college athlete. After graduating, Peter founded Mesavage Painting LLC.

Robert Anthony Urban

Assistant Age Group Coach

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Level 2 ASCA Certification
Rob, who joined the Water Rat coaching staff in spring of 2015, and is currently serves as our Lead Coach for our Discovery II, Challenger II, and Senior III groups, while assisting many others. 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 is the assistant coach at Fairfield Prep. Rob is currently enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University and focusing on a degree in accounting. In Rob’s free time he enjoy sports and cheers for the New York Jets and the New York 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.

Marta Taddeo

Assistant Coach

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Marta returns to the Water Rat staff as Dr. Marta Taddeo having just successfully defended her paper for acceptance as a PhD in the world of science.  Marta has been coaching since 2003, most recently as the Head Development Coach, Assistant Age Group Coach and Senior Coach at the Zeus Swim Team. She previously coached all age levels of the Water Rats from 2003-2010. As Marta looks to get out into the world of research, she will be helping across the board with a number of our practice groups. 

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 have grown up with the Water Rats program and one of them is now swimming 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.