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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

Matthew Arrick Kopald

Head Coach

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Matt has been swimming for as long as he can remember.  Growing up in Los Angeles, CA, 26 blocks from the beach he was an avid swimmer and water polo player.  After high school he played water polo at Northwestern University before a shoulder injury sidelined him.  With his playing career over, Matt found passion in coaching.  He has coached both swimming and water polo at almost every level - including Age Group, High School and Collegiate.  Prior to becoming the Head Coach of the Belvidere Barracudas he held head coaching and assistant coaching positions at for various other clubs in Northern Illinois, both YMCA and USAS.

He has coached multiple USA Junior National Qualifiers, USAS Zone/Sectional Medalists, USAS-IL Senior Champions, USAS-IL Age Group Medalists, YMCA State Medalists and NCAA Division 1 Swimmers.

Matt lives in Rockford with his wife, Mindy and two girls, Adeline (4 years) and Eloise (2 months).  His first "child" is his adopted dog Brinkley.

Michael Drella

Assistant Coach

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Jessica Vallette

Assistant Coach

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Growing up, my dad was a swimmer and my mom worked at the YMCA, so naturally I learned to love swimming at an early age.  I started swimming competitively at the age of 5 for the Rockford RAYS.  In high school I swam for Harlem High Scool.  Before finishing my swimming career, I competed at Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale in 2005.  I graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Elementary Education and now currently teach 7th and 8th grade science in Amboy. 

I have taught swim lessons for many years in high school and after college I started my coaching career at the RAYS in Rockford and at Harlem High School.  I'm very excited about joining the Belvidere Barracudas coaching staff!  
 
And, my husband and I got married this past June.  We don't have any swimmers on the team, but we do have an adorable puppy named Smokey!

Amy Taylor

Assistant Coach

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My name is Amy Taylor.  I'm a new coach to the Belvidere Barracudas after spending the last 5 years with the Rockford Rays.  I also have coached the Lincoln Jr High swim team for the last 4 years and now I've also starting coaching at Rockford East High School girls team as an assistant coach.
 
As a young child I was terrified of water and wouldn't even go in a baby pool.  My mom forced me to take swim lessons and I have loved the water since.  We spent our summers at a local pool swimming every day.  I swam for the Freeport High School Pretzels and the great Mr. Pisula was my coach.   My events were the 200 and 500 free. I wasnt the fastest or one of the best, but my coach treated me like I was a star. That's a great coach.
 
I love being a swim coach.  I love what I am able to share and teach to swimmers.  I'm really excited to continue my coaching journey with the Cudas.  

Andrew Butzow

Assistant Coach

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