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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 one of the board members.
Coaching Staff

Travis Sandifer

Executive Director

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Coach Travis Sandifer has 25+ years of swim coaching experience and is an ASCA level 4 coach. He has spent most of his coaching career in the GULF with USA Swimming Clubs, 20 years with KATY Aquatics as both Head Age Group and Head Coach. He has also coached at Aquastar and Pearland Aquatics. During his coaching tenure, Coach Travis has developed swimmers that have competed and excelled at many levels ranging from local age group meets, TAGS Champions, Junior National and US Open Finalist to competing at Canadian and USA Swimming Olympic Trials.

  • As the Head Coach of KATY Aquatics, his team placed in the top 100 out of 2400+ USA Swimming Club teams in the Virtual Club Championship rankings for 8 straight seasons from LC 2004 to SC 2006/07.
  • His swimmers have placed in USA Swimming’s National rankings (Top-16) over 60 times.
  • He has coached swimmers that received 40+ USA Scholastic All-American Awards.
  • He has been awarded Gulf Swimming Coach of the year award 4 times, twice as Age Group Coach of the Year (1996 and 1997) and twice as the Senior Coach of the Year (2001 and 2005).

Coach Travis has stayed actively involved in swimming governance holding various positions on USA Swimming Committee’s and the Gulf LSC Board of Directors. He currently serves on the Gulf board as Operational Risk Coordinator.

  • Gulf General Chair (2017-2019)
  • Gulf Swimming Safety Chairman (2016-2017)
  • Gulf Swimming Safe Sport Coordinator (2013-2017)
  • Gulf Swimming Board of Directors (1998-2007 and 2010-present)
  • Gulf Swimming Open Water Coordinator (2003-2007)
  • USA Swimming Domestic Open Water Committee (2003-2006)
  • Gulf Swimming - Senior Vice-Chairman (2000-2002)
  • Gulf Swimming Age Group Vice-Chairman (1998-2000)

Coach Travis has a degree in Economics from the University of Houston. He enjoys fishing, kayaking and camping in his spare time. He has a daughter Paige, who recently graduated from Texas A&M University and has continued to live and work in College Station, Texas.

Office Hours: Mon - Fri 9:00AM-5:00PM

Angela Golightly

Team Administrator

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Angela began coaching in 1995 as an Assistant Coach for the Cimarron Swim Team for three years, and then continued as their Head Coach for five more years. While attending the University of Houston, Angela coached at Katy Aquatics and Alief Aquatics in the late 90's. In 2010, Angela returned to Katy Aquatics as a competitive Coach. Then in 2013, she began a new chapter with Katy Aquatics as their Team Administrator.

Angela grew up in the Katy area where she participated on the Cimarron Swim Team for 13 years.  She was also a member of the Katy High School Swim Team where she gained the love for swimming with all of the challenges and excellence of being an athlete. She has enjoyed watching the growth of swimming in the Katy area, and looks forward to the future with Katy Aquatics.

Office Hours:  Mon - Fri  9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Bill Bailey

Assistant Coach

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Coach Bailey has been coaching in the Gulf for over 25 years.  He has served as both Head Age Group and Head Coach for several of the teams in the area and received the honor of Gulf Age Group Coach of the year in 2003 & 2004.  Coach Bailey began his swimming career in 1984 with First Colony Swim Team, qualifying and finaling at Junior Nationals.  He went on to swim at Henderson State University.  He has two boys ages 8 and 12.

Tanja Avant

Assistant Coach-ASCA 5 Education

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ASCA Level 5 Education Certified

Tanja has enjoyed swimming nearly all her life, literally spending summers during her youth in a pool. Quite by accident, she discovered her love for competitive swimming in high school and swam for her school's team in Cedar Rapids, IA. Tanja had a successful swimming career excelling in most sprint events. Starting at age 15, carrying through to today, Tanja has been a lifeguard, swim lessons instructor, and swim coach, loving every opportunity to teach her love of swimming and encouraging young swimmers. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 1995 and started a 25-year career with the University of Iowa, first with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic (1995-2015) and then with UI Recreational Services and Iowa Flyers Swim Club (2011-2021).

 

As IFLY’s Head Age-Group Coach, Tanja developed swimmers that have competed at many levels ranging from local meets, LSC Championship Meets, Central Zones Championships, Central Zone Open Water Championships, NCSA Age Group Championships, and Sectional Meets.  Many of IFLY’s swimmers who started out with Tanja have gone on to swim collegiately, as well as competed in meets ranging from international meets to the TRY Pro Series, Junior Nationals, NCSA Junior Nationals, and the Olympic Trials.  Despite the amazing successes of her age-group swimmers, Tanja’s love to encourage, teach, and push swimmers goes beyond the big meets. What drives her is coaching and mentoring confidence, grace, a sense of community, and life lessons that will carry swimmers far beyond the pool deck. 

 

Tanja enthusiastically joined the Katy Aquatics family in the spring of 2021 and looks forward to bringing her love of the sport and helping swimmers grow beyond the pool deck. 

 

Tanja’s involvement with swimming goes beyond the club.  While in Iowa, she held several positions within Iowa Swimming, Inc. and continues that tradition with Gulf Swimming.  These positions included:

  • Board of Directors: Age Group Vice-Chair (2017 and 2019)
  • Technical Planning Committee (2017 and 2019)
  • 2018 Iowa Swimming, Inc Swimposium Committee Chair (2018
  • Nominating Committee Chair (2016 and 2017)
  • Club Development Committee (2021)

Additionally, Tanja was chosen and enjoyed coaching Zone Level meets, as well as All-Stars Meet for Team Iowa:

  • Central Zones: 2016 and 2018
  • Multi-Cultural Zones: 2017
  • Mega Zones:  2017
  • Midwest All-Stars:  2014 and 2017

Tanja has two college-age children, both of whom attend Iowa State University (such a proud parent!!), and while she and her husband are empty-nesters, their dog keep them on their toes!

Christian Schurr

Assistant Coach

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Christian began his coaching career with TXLA and has been a swimmer and coach in Texas since the early 90s. Coach Christian’s swimmers have achieved cuts at the TAGS, Sectional, Futures and Junior level.  Most importantly, Coach Christian wants those he coaches to improve while enjoying their swimming experience!

 

Prior to joining the coaching world, Coach Christian earned All American honors swimming for the University of Texas and represented Mexico at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  While earning a degree in Kinesiology at UT, Christian competed in the World University Games in 2003 and the Pan American Games in 2007. As a professional swimmer, Coach Christian competed in both the 2012 and 2013 World Championships.  

Valerie Domingues

Assistant Coach - ASCA 2

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Valerie began her coaching career in San Antonio in 1990, for the Alamo Area Aquatics Association under the former Head Coach, George Block. In 1996 she moved to Houston and started coaching with Clayton Cagle for the Cy-Fair Swim Club for eight years. During this time Valerie coached the Cy-Falls and Cy-Creek High Schools. She then began with Sienna Plantation Aquatics before joining the Katy Aquatics Swim Team. Valerie has been coaching as an Assistant Coach with Katy Aquatics since 2010.

Valerie was raised in San Antonio, where she swam and played water polo for Tom C. Clark High School. Each year during her high school career she qualified for State. She then went on to be a collegiate swimmer for two years at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. Valerie was on the Women’s US Water Polo Nation Team for six years, and played in the 1984 Olympics.

Rapalos Janonis

Assistant Coach

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Jenny Brown

Assistant Coach

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Jenny grew up in Houston and began swimming competitively at age 6.  She fell in love with the sport and swam for Blue Tide Aquatics through high school. She swam in college for John Brown University and qualified for NAIA Nationals all 4 years. After college Jenny continued to swim and began competing in triathlons and open water swimming. She taught outdoor education for seven years and then began coaching for Tyler Rose Aquatic Club in Tyler, TX. In 2018, she moved back to Houston to begin coaching with Katy Aquatics. She has coached a variety of age groups from 10 and unders to Masters; and she loves having the opportunity to teach, encourage, and support others as they work towards their goals. 
 

Qualifications

- USS Swim Coach
-  ASCA Member
-US Masters Coach Level 2 
-Adult Learn to Swim Certified
-ACE Personal Trainer - Youth Specialist

Mike Chenoweth

Assistant Coach - ASCA 2

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Coach Mike returned to Katy, TX and KATY Aquatics in the Fall of 2018 after 26 years serving the country and seeing the world. Mike swam competitively for Katy High School and KATY Aquatics before heading to Annapolis for four years to earn his B.S. in Computer Science and a commission in the Navy. He retired in 2016, having completed a 20-year career, including 2 years living in Japan, 6 years of flight instructor duty, three years teaching aviation safety, and an M.B.A. along the way.

Though not directly involved in competitive swimming during his Navy time, Mike remained connected to the water (or frozen water) and water/snow sports, participating or competing in water polo, competitive rowing (Navy crew coxswain), sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, kayaking, SUP, and scuba diving. He became a certified scuba instructor in 2012.

Mike is currently the lead coach for Senior I and Age Group II Black. 

Mike Smotherman

Assistant Coach

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This is my second year with Katy Aquatics, and 40th year of coaching the sport I dearly love; which includes High School, Club, and Summer League.
 
I am a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee and hold BA and M Ed. degrees from the University of Tennessee (GO VOLS).
 
I swam for 13 years, at all levels, High School, Summer League, and AAU (yes, I am that old). My favorite and best events were; 100 Fly, 100 Back, 200 IM, and 200 Free. Also, I was captain of the Football and Soccer teams, at Notre Dame High School, where I lettered in five sports.
 
I just retired from teaching High School after 26 years, with the last 20 years with Fort Bend ISD. Away from swimming, I like to spend time working out, traveling, reading, attending concerts and sporting events. Still involved with Masters Swimming and loving it. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
 
I am looking forward in coaching the Age Group I program and watching them improve during the course of the swim season.

Jeffrey Green

Assistant Coach

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Dana Abbott

Assistant Coach - ASCA 3

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High School Coaching
2006-2018: Head Coach, Saint John XXIII HS, Katy TX
1980-2005: Head Coach, Katy High School, Katy TX
 
Club Coaching
2018-2020: Coach mentor and Future Stars Coach, Katy Aquatics
2012-2015: Masters Coach, DADS Club
2007-2011: Katy Aquatics, Lead Coach, Pre-National groups (Pre-Senior, Senior Gold)
2006-2007: Katy Aquatics, Lead Coach, HS Conditioning/HS Fundamentals
1980-1986: Head Coach, Western Horizon Aquatic Team, Katy, TX (USS/USA Swimming)
1973-1978: Head Coach, Gulf Coast Swim Association/Singing River Swimming Association/Pascagoula Aquatic Club, Gulfport/Biloxi/Pascagoula, MS (AAU/USA Swimming)
 
University Coaching
1978-1980: Assistant Men's Coach, The University of Texas at Austin
1973-1974: Head Coach, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg
 
Summer Team Coaching
1985-89, 2013-2019: Head Coach, Tiger Swim Club (summer team), Katy, TX
1980-1982: Head Coach, Nottingham Country summer team, Katy, TX
 
President of TISCA 2000-2002 (Texas Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association);
 
President of NISCA 2003-2005 and 2009-2011 (National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association).
 
In 1985, founded, organized, directed, and wrote the initial Constitution and By-Laws of the West Houston Aquatic League (WHALe), one of the largest summer swimming leagues in Houston, and served as its first president; member USA Swimming Task Force on national age group records; Gulf Swimming All-Star Team Coach
 
Competitive swimming clinician in Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama; clinic speaker in Texas, Kansas, New Jersey, Indiana, and ASCA World Clinic; presenter at XII International Scientific Congress “Modern Olympic Sport and Paralympics Sport and Sport for All”
Moscow (Russia), 2008
Served on the facilities design committee for competitive swimming facilities in the Katy Independent School District, 1996-2005, all pools (KHS, CRHS, MRHS, SLHS, MCHS, and Tompkins HS) based on his original design recommendations in 1996
 
2002, 2003, and 2005 “Who’s Who in Aquatics” (U.S. Water Fitness Assn.)
 
Multiple UIL District Coach of the Year and Region Coach of the Year; nominated for UIL State Coach of the Year 3 times; numerous individual swimmer, diver, relay, and academic All Americans; TAPPS Male Coach of the Year 2016 (all sports); 2018 Inductee NISCA Hall of Fame
 
3-year HS varsity swimmer (Miami, FL); 4-year NCAA Division-I swimmer (Tulane University); former multiple Top Ten individual finisher at U.S. Masters Nationals, and National US Masters Top Ten ranking.