Coaches & Directors

Blue Marlins Swim Team Coaching Philosophy
The goal of the Blue Marlins Swim Team's Coaching staff under the direction of the Head Coach & Buehler YMCA is to provide competitive swimming environment which will give athletes an equal opportunity to develop as individuals and to prepare them for the challenges and rewards of life. Have some fun along the way as well.

By stressing the values of discipline, commitment, hard work and responsibility for oneself, we feel strongly that athletes who give an honest effort in all aspects of the program will be enhanced in SPRIT, MIND, & BODY.

The process of working towards a goal for a qualifying time for a certain swim is the key to developing the values that we are seeking. There are no guarantees that time may be met. What is important is that the athlete took responsibility to prepare to the best of his or her ability in a time seeking effort. Preparation is where the lessons of life are learned. Swimming fast or not swimming fast is not as important as experiencing the feelings of attaining or not attaining a goal. Our hope is that all swimmers, whether they reach their goals or not, still feel good about what they have learned, experienced and enjoyed along the way.

We are here to support your needs. If your questions are related to your swimmers progress in their practice group please contact one of their practice group Coaches.  For all questions related workouts, meets, events, goal setting, other swimming related needs, administrative, safety, or policy issues, please contact Coach Darby.

Coaching Staff

Darby S Brtva

Head Coach


Coach Darby has been with the Buehler Blue Marlins since 1997. She took over as the Head Coach Summer of 2005. She is ASCA Level Three certified and Level Four Educated.  Coach Darby graduated from Hoffman Estates High School where she swam and ran track. She then moved on to Harper College for one year where she continued to swim and qualified to Nationals, she also ran track.  Coach Darby then attended Eureka College where she graduated with B.S in Physical Science (chemistry & physics) with secondary education endorsement. She continued to swim and qualify for Nationals. She even placed in the top 8 in the country achieving All-American Status. Her senior year she was named captain of the swim team. Coach Darby also was on the pom pon squad, wrote for the school newspaper, was president of her dorm, named to the dean’s list, a member of sigma zeta (math and science honor fraternity), and graduated with honors.  After college, Coach Darby returned to Hoffman Estates High school where she taught chemistry and physical science and also coached the girls’ swim team. After Hoffman, she moved on to Hersey High school where she coached the pom pon squad. After teaching for a few years, Coach Darby moved to the private sector and became a chemist. After 8 years of being a chemist, she retired when she got married to Dave Brtva.  Coach Darby & Dave welcomed Alexander John Brtva into the world on September 9th, 2008. Then on March 27th, 2012 The Brtva's welcomed William Franklin Brtva.

Coach Darby is the 1st female and the 1st coach to be elected Illinois YMCA Swimming State Chair. This occured in 2016. Prior to that she was the Illinois YMCA Swimming Secretary. She has also been the Chicago District Chairman and the Chicago District Secretary. Recently Coach Darby became a level 1 YMCA official.

Coach Darby currently is the lead coach of the Striped and Black Groups. She also helps on Turquiose, Atlantic, and Pacific. She had the honor of coaching the Blue Marlins’ first ever-national qualifier and currently has coached 15 National Qualifiers. She has had two swimmers finish as YMCA All Americans, and one swimmer finish as an USA Swimming All American. She also has had the honor of coaching the first ever girls’ 8 & under District Champs and the boys’ 8 & under Area Team Champs both in 2008. She also has the honor of coaching several district and State champions through out the 20 plus years she has been with the team.

Other highlights include:

·          2009 & 2014 Finalist for YMCA National Coach of the Year

·          15 YMCA National Qualifiers

·          Multiple Top Ten YMCA Age Group National Swimmers

·          Multiple Top Five YMCA Age Group National Swimmers

·          2 YMCA National Finalist

·          2 US Jr. National qualifying relays

·          1 US Jr. National Swimmer

·          2018 Girls’ 10 & Under Long Course State Champions

·          2018 Girls’ 10 & Under District Champions

·          2016 Girls’ 8 & Under State Champions

·          2016 Girls’ 8 & Under District Champions

·          2015 Girls’ 21 & Under District Champions

·          2014 6th Place Team Finish at the IL State meet

·          2013 Boy's 11-12 Chicago District Champions

·          2013 Women's 13-14 Chicago District Champions

·          2012 Chicago District Summer Boys’ Team Champions

·          2012 Girl's 11-12 Chicago District Champions

·          2012 Men's 13-14 Chicago District Champions

·          2011 Chicago District Summer Champions

·          2011 Chicago District Champions

·          2011 Girl's 9-10 Chicago District Team Champions

·          2011 Boy's 9-10 Chicago District Team Champions

·          2010 Chicago District Summer Champions

·          2009 Chicago District Summer Champions

·          2009 Girl's 8 & Under Chicago District Team Champions

·          2008 Boy's 8 & Under Illinois/Missouri Area Team Champions

·          2008 Girl's 8 & Under Chicago District Team Champions

·          2005 Chicago District Summer Champions


Fun Facts Coach Darby Provided for us:

My favorite swimmer past or present is….. This is hard, I have had the chance to meet so many swimmers Pablo Morales, Anita Nall, Diana Munz, Gary Hall Jr., Rowdy Gaines. They were all so down to earth and nice.  I think Janet Evans, Amy Van Dyken, and  Jenny Thompson influenced me during high school and college.  Now that I am older, I am impressed by Dara Torres.  I think there are many great swimmers out there, but the ones thath really stand out are the ones that are great role models. They are someone I would want my team to look up to. They make good choices in and out of the water.

My favorite movie…. Do I have to pick one??? I am a huge Disney Fan. I really like Finding Nemo, Meet the Robinsons, Chicken Little, But Snow White is my Favorite! But on the flipside... I love horror movies!!! I like being scared. I love musicals and I will never miss a chance to watch Gone With the Wind.

My favorite past time….  If I am not in the water swimming myself, I am surfing the web, playing a computer games, or spending time playing with Zander & Will.

My favorite food… tough choice… I love deep dish cheese pizza, McDonald’s French fries, and Chinese food. 

Quote…   Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest. Till the good is better, and the Better is Best!

My favorite book…. I really don’t have a lot of  time to read, but when I do… it is normal Dean Koontz… it is supernatural scary type of stuff.

My favorite sport other than swimming… I like baseball, Go White Soxes!!! I like football, in fact I have won my mom’s work football pool for the past 10 years and have won my husband's work football pool as well!

My favorite cartoon character…  Snow White

Favorite group/singer… I like all types of music.

Kimberly A de Jonckheere

Head Developmental Coach



Kimberly began swimming competitively at the age of  7, with the Green Bay YMCA team. She quickly came to love the road trips and team atmosphere the club provided. She really found her stride in swimming after attending swim camp and moving to Waukesha, Wisconsin where she started specializing in the distance events with Waukesha Express. From the age of 9 she was a multiple event state championship qualifier, but came to love the distance events especially the 200 fly, 400 IM and 1000 free. She swam for Waukesha North High School, where she was a state qualifier and captain of the team her senior year. A demanding academic schedule in architecture and business kept her from swimming in college.


She credits the foundations of discipline, hard work, goal setting, competition, time management and dedication, which she learned from swimming to her successes in life. 


She continues to remain active in endurance length events, having run several marathons, half Ironman and completing her first Ironman triathlon in 2009. Kimberly met and married her husband, Ryan while doing triathlons and they have 2 girls. When not coaching she enjoys renovating her historic house, and crafting with her girls.

Kimberly has been coaching at the age group development level since 2007 and enjoys making competitive swimming fun and exciting for beginning swimmers.  She currently coaches our Turquoise, Atlantic/ Pacific and Stripe groups.


1. Favorite Swimmer - Summer Sanders, Janet Evans and Mark Spitz. Yes he's a little before my time, but so amazing for what he accomplished with no cap, goggles or fancy swim suit!

2. Favorite Movie - I love sports movies with a message to never give up - Rudy, Remember the Titans and Blind Side are my favorites. Mary Poppins is my favorite kid movie.

3. Favorite Past time - Besides swimming, I like to run, ride my bike, swing on the swings and spend time with my family and friends. I also like to do craft projects.

4. I LOVE food, that's why I work out! My favorites are Sushi, Ice Cream, Pancakes and Macaroni and Cheese.

5. Quote - "What does not kill us, makes us stronger" and "In God, all things are Possible."

6. Book - I really like John Irving as an author but my all time favorites are "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and the Anne of Green Gables Series. I love reading Dr. Suess to my daughter.

7. Sport other than swimming - I really like to watch football, and I like to run.

8. Cartoon Character -  I love monkeys so it's probably Curious George

9. Singer - Counting Crows, Snow Patrol, and Train

Kim A Leidolf

Assistant Coach


Coach Kim started swimming lessons at the age 4 because her mom couldn’t swim.  At age 9, she joined her first swim team, Waubonsie White Waters in Aurora.  At 12, she joined the Naperville YMCA, where she had many good and a few bad coaches.  At 15, she started teaching swim lessons in the summers and continued through college.  At 16, she was one of the inaugural members of the Maverick Swim Team in Naperville.  Coach Kim swam Varsity all four years at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora and also played Water Polo.  Her senior year she qualified for state in a Free Relay.  Coach Kim continued to swim in college at North Central College in Naperville for only three years because she graduated early with a degree in accounting.  She also earned her CPA in 2000.  Coach Kim continued to swim after college on a masters team and that is how she got her first coaching job with the Great White Sharks in Wheaton, a developmental team.  She coached for them for 5 years and then moved to the BR Ryall YMCA in Glen Ellyn.  That same year Coach Kim married her husband George.  For 5 years, she was head of the White and Green groups and moved many swimmers up to competitive levels to earn Y state and Age Group cuts.  Upon having their second child, Allison in October of 2009, Coach decided she wanted to be closer to home with her husband and their son George, who was born in December of 2007, so she interviewed here at Buehler.  After coaching for less than an year, she had her third child, Katelyn, in April of 2011.  All three of her children are swimming on the team currently.

 Fun Facts Coach Kim Provided for us:

1.    Favorite swimmer – Tom Jager and Janet Evans

2.    Favorite Movie – There are so many, but with the kids we have watched a lot of Disney lately, so I have to say Aladdin, Finding Nemo and Toy Story.  I also like Pirates of the Carribean.

3.    Past time – I love to play with the kids and relax on the couch with a warm blanket.

4.    Favorite food – I love any kind of pasta especially my mom’s homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

5.    Quote – Don’t really have one of these.

6.    Favorite book – I like to read all the James Patterson books.

7.    Favorite sport not swimming – I like to watch football on Sunday’s.

8.    Favorite cartoon character – If I have to pick one, I guess it would be Goofy, because he is so funny.

9.    Favorite Group/Singer – Pink, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Counting Crows

Kathryn E Tomsky

Assistant Coach


Coach Kate started swim lessons at age six and loved it! When she was 8 years old she joined Cats Aquatics Swim Team in Libertyville and started swimming competitively shortly thereafter. She swam with Cats until high school, when she joined Libertyville High School’s swimming and water polo teams. Ever the busy teenager, she also played viola in her high school orchestra and piano privately. Coach Kate continued on to college at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN where she swam Division III and graduated with a degree in Psychology. Coach Kate began teaching swim lessons at 17 in the summers. She worked at multiple summer camps organizing engaging and educational water activities for kids of all ages. She continued to stay near the water as an instructor and a lifeguard. Now in her post-college years, her job in Insurance Claims has brought her to the Barrington/Palatine area. She swims on Barrington Area Masters Team and decided she wanted to become more involved with the Palatine community so she joined the Buehler YMCA Aquatics Team.

Fun Facts Coach Kate Provided for us:

1.     Favorite swimmer – Rebecca Soni

2.     Favorite Movie – Lion King (1&2), Happy Feet, Shawshank Redemption, Avatar

3.     Past time – Aside from swimming, I love to be outside hiking or camping. I also like having a cozy movie night. I’m always looking for interesting articles – I love to learn new things.

4.     Favorite food – Pizza, pasta, burritos, and any type of fruit

5.     Quote – “You get out what you put in.”

6.     Favorite book – Fragment by Warren Fahy

7.     Favorite sport other than swimming – Snow skiing and mountain biking

8.     Favorite cartoon character – SpongeBob and Patrick, Scooby and Shaggy

9.     Favorite Group/Singer – blink-182, Foo Fighters, Eminem, The Cure, but I like all types!