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.

Freya R Friemark


Leo X Myers


Garret L Sims


Garret Sims is a Junior on the Men's Swimming and Diving team at Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, where he is double majoring in sports management and marketing. He started swimming competitively on the Kishwaukee YMCA Swim Team in Dekalb when he was 6 years old and has competed at the state and Central Zone levels throughout his career.
Garret has been a certified lifeguard for over five years and taught private swim lessons for children ages 3 and up for the past two summers, including those with physical and cognitive disabilities. 
Fun facts about Garret: 

My favorite swimmer past or present is: Tyler Clary

My favorite movie: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

My favorite past time: I like to listen to different styles of music

My favorite food: Pizza

Quote: “Do or do not, there is no try”-Yoda

My favorite book: Lone Survivor 

My favorite sport other than swimming: Football

My favorite cartoon character: Lightning McQueen

Favorite group/singer: Morgan Wallen