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Coaches

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

Mike Firth

Head Coach

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Coach Mike is beyond excited to return to his home pool in East Moline as Head Coach after swimming for both EMSC and UTHS during his early years! Mike continued to swim in College at Illinois Wesleyan University where he qualified for the DIII National Swim Meet his Junior year and still holds multiple school records. After graduating with a Chemistry Degree, Mike decided to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale to obtain a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science. While at SIUC Mike was the graduate assistant swim coach for both the men’s and women’s college teams. Coming back to the QC after graduate school found Mike coaching on the Iowa side as the Head coach of the Piranhas Swim Club and the Pleasant Valley girl’s High School swim and dive team. Moving to Oregon was the step next for Mike, and out west he worked for a Wilderness Therapy organization for two years. This was an amazing experience and involved aiding youth and adults struggling with anxiety, fear, stress, depression, low self-esteem, anger, and substance abuse all while camping under tarps for 8 days at a time, year round.

When not at the pool, Mike enjoys being outdoors as much as he can. Activities such as hiking, fly fishing, backpacking, kayaking, playing soccer, and much more are things he looks forward to. During most of these activities Mike’s ever energetic 10-year-old Australian Shepherd, Booty, and his grumpy old 11-year-old Border Collie, Bellie, are right by his side (or lap if kayaking). Mike also enjoys getting sucked in to a good sci-fi book, or hosting friends and family for dinner parties (which isn’t happening now due to Covid sad ) with his fiancé, Brianna. 

Mike has all his previous coaches and mentors to thank for their time and commitment, and is excited to give back all he has learned (and continues to learn) to the swimmers at EMSC and UTHS. Mike enjoys helping swimmers develop proper technique in all four strokes, and then creating fun and challenging workouts that will help them excel in the water. Mike recognizes that the physical work that happens in the pool is only part of the equation of being a swimmer, and aiding in the mental aspect is just as critical to developing a well rounded swimmer in the pool and individual out of the pool.

 

Feel free to reach out to Coach Mike at [email protected] with any questions about the swim club, pool, or anything else!

Alison DeVilder

Assistant Coach

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Coach Alison is excited to start a new year as an Assistant Swim Coach for EMSC! Alison’s love of swimming started as a swimmer for the EMSC, continued through her high school career at United Township High School, and as an Advisor for St. Ambrose University Swim Club. Coach Alison is looking forward to sharing her passion for swimming, and looks forward to finding ways to help each individual athlete achieve their goals and have fun!

When Alison isn’t at the pool she enjoys working out, kayaking, volunteering at the animal shelter (as she one day hopes to adopt a big fluffy dog), and cheering on the Chicago Cubs and Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Christine Speer

Assistant Coach

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Christine is from Ottawa IL, but her swimming career began at the age of 8 in Camden, GA swimming for Boomer Swim Club. She quickly grew to love wimming and waws a part of the Boomer swim club until her family moved to Ottawa 7 years later. She attended Ottawa Towhnship High School where swam was a varsity swimmer all 4 years. Her favorite events during her time swimming were the 500 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.

Upon graduating high school in 2009 she decided to call it quits and not pursue swimming any further. She attended Western Illinois University for 6 years and has a bachelor of science in biology. Christine started coaching with EMSC in October of 2019. Christine loves working with kids on how to make their stroke better. Her favorite coach from swimming as a child was Coach Lucy, she helped instill the love and fun of being in the pool. she comes to the pool every day hoping to be coach Lucy for all of the swimmers she works with.

Outside of the pool, she enjoys spending time with her husband Dan, son Ashly, two dogs Lilly and Sirius, and cat Luna.

Jason Schuler

Assistant Coach

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Hello EMSC! I am Coach Jason, but you can call me Coach J. I am from Chicago, IL. Yes! Chicago, Chicago! I swam for 9 years throughout High School and College. While at St. Ambrose University, I helped start the swim team my Sophomore year. The first season for the SAU swim team was my Junior year. My favorite events were the 100 Fly and 100 Free. I qualified and swam at the NAIA National Swimming Championships my Junior year. I qualified for both my events my Senior year. However, after I qualified, I tore my labrum and had minor tears in my rotator cuff. While this unfortunately ended my swimming career, it helped jump start my coaching career. I have coached high school swimming (5 years), taught swim lessons (10 years throughout high school and college), as well as coached high school water polo (2 years).

 
Outside of swimming, I like to power lift, golf, spend time with friends as well as spend time with my Fiancè and our newest addition to our family, our Golden Retriever. I am a die hard fan of the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Cardinals. I am a huge nerd when it comes to STAR WARS. Since moving to Iowa, I have become quite the Iowa Hawkeyes fan as well. I take part in one of the best events of the year, Dance Marathon. I am super proud to always be fighting FTK. CAN'T STOP! WONT STOP!
 
The thing I enjoy most about coaching is watching the kids succeed with their goals and grow throughout their swim careers. Watching them set both short term and long term goals and then setting out to crush them is truly an amazing feeling that's so rewarding. Having the opportunity to coach for EMSC is so amazing and has allowed for me to get back into the sport I love the most. I am very excited to help coach and get our amazing kids to where they want to be in their careers. I look forward to getting to know each and everyone of you!
 

Isabella Volk

Assistant Coach

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Isabella is from Moline, where she tried out a ton of sports before finally finding swimming at age 7. Although reluctant at first, she grew to love the sport and swam with the Moline Blue Marlins Swim Club for 5 years. Eventually, she joined the East Moline Swim Club where she stayed until high school. She then attended high school at Moline and swam Varsity for all 4 years.  Isabella was regularly the team’s 50 and 100 yard freestyle swimmer and was team captain her senior year. In the off seasons, she trained with the UT boy's swim team under Dave Busch.

Upon graduating high school in 2017, there were many opportunities for her in swimming, but she decided to call it quits to pursue other interests and passions. She attended Blackhawk College for 2 years and eventually found herself coaching for MBLM in January 2019. After coaching there for about a year and a half, she came to coach at EMSC. Isabella loves that she has now had the opportunity to return to both her home pools as a coach and hopes to be someone our swimmers can come to with anything.

Outside of the pool, she enjoys powerlifting and bodybuilding, spending time with her many pets, and cooking some super good vegan food!