Coaches & Directors

Alligator Coaches

Alligator Aquatics is committed to providing our swimmers with exceptional coaching. In order to achieve this standard, our entire staff is ASCA certified. In addition to multiple years of coaching and swimming experience, they continually attend Swimming Technique and Coaching Clinics around the United States. 

Contact: Please direct all emails to Joel Wallace for questions regarding all swim groups.

 

Coaching Staff

Joel A Wallace

Head Coach

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Coach Joel Wallace comes to us from WEST Swim Club where he was the Head Senior Coach.  He has over 30 years of swimming experience, with 15 of those years as a Head Coach, and believes in helping every swimmer become successful by becoming the best in the water and out of the water that they are capable of becoming.  He believes in team, stroke technique and age appropiate progressions to ensure a swimmers long term development.    

Some of Coach Joel's accomplishments:

  • Was a 15 time All-America Swimmer
  • Swam for the University of Tennessee
  • Olympic Trial Qualifer
  • American Swimming Coaching Assocation Level 4 and certified stroke technician
  • 20+ years of coaching experience
  • His swimmers have won over 65 State Championship Titles
  • Qualified swimmers for the USA Junior, Senior National Championships and USA Olympic Trials
  • Coached a swimmer to USA Para-National Team, Para-World Champion and broken 10 American records

 

Outside of the pool, Joel enjoys spending time and exploring the city with his wife Mallory and two kids Graeme and Chloe.  Joel is also a bit of a foodie and enjoys pretty much all food and drink whether he is cooking it himself or trying out one of the many great restaurants in the Chicagoland area.

 

Stacy L Cassiday

Assistant Coach

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Stacy has been swimming all her life, her accomplishments are many. She is a  7 time Illinois State Champion (3 state records) 1981-1985 for Evanston Township High School.   3 time NCAA team champions at the University of Texas (highest individual place was 2nd in the 500 free).  14 time Collegiate All-American,  2 time Olympic Trial participant and  6 time National team member.

In between all her swimming accomplishments in the pool she also has an MA in Counseling Psychology and an MA in School Administration. She is currently working a Jr. High School Counselor for Dist. 15. 

Stacy lives in Arlington Hts., with her 2 boys: Ryan 17 and Alex 15 who both swim. 

In her down-time which is limited she still finds time to swim and spend as much time as she can with all her family members who live in the area.   

Tom Blumenfeld

Assistant Coach

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Tom Blumenfeld swam as an age group swimmer from the age of 6 for Leaning Tower & High Ridge YMCA, as well as a USS Team in Skokie.  He swam on the Varsity team for 4 years in High School and was team captain his senior year.  He continued to swim in college as a long distance freestyler and butterflyer at Northern Illinois University. Tom currently swims with the Alligator Aquatics master’s program and competes in local triathlons.

Tom also volunteers his time as our Treasurer. He is responsible for keeping the clubs financial records, and making sure the financial needs of the club are met. Swimming, coaching and volunteering his time for the Alligators comes alongside his being a CPA with Pawlan, Blumenfeld, Miscinski & Associates in Skokie.  Tom has been a resident of Arlington Heights for 18 years with his wife Debbie and their 2 children Shannon and Leah!

ASCA level 2 

Quote: "Tomorrow is promised to no one" -  Walter Payton       

Jennifer Suyon Zapler

Assistant Coach

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Jenny’s love of swimming began at the local park district swim team in her hometown of Carol Stream.  At age 11, she moved on to swim for B.R.Ryall YMCA. There, she swam for eight years. Jenny continued to swim in college at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She swam all of the freestyle distances. Upon graduating from UIC, Jenny started coaching swimming at all levels: High School, USA Swimming and Masters.    Jenny has a Masters degree in secondary education, and is currently an instructional assistant at Westbrook Elementary School in Mt Prospect.  She works with teachers in Literacy Support Service, helping kindergartners and first graders enhance their reading skills.  Jenny is married to a high school teacher and girls’ track and field coach, Danny, and has two kids Dahlia (current Alligator) and Zane (retired Alligator).  When Jenny is not working at school or on the pool deck, she loves to read, spend time with family indoors or outdoors, working out and loves to cook and eat food.  

Olivia Ruth Hepko

Assistant Coach

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Olivia Hepko began swimming when she was 7 years old for the park district. Her enthusiasm and love for the sport created a natural transition for her to swim on Alligators full-time. After being an athlete, teammate, and an Alligators lesson instructor for many years, the team gave Olivia a profound sense of purpose, patience, discipline, and community that, as an assistant coach, she desires to pass on to other swimmers. She believes in being a well-rounded athlete and individual is the key to success in the pool and, ultimately, carries on into life. As an assistant coach, Olivia wants to give back to the team over the next couple of years and pursue future endeavors in coaching and teaching, as she completes her undergraduate degree at Harper College before transferring out to Ball State University. Olivia loves healthy cooking and country music and in her free time, being active outdoors, running, cycling, CrossFit, weightlifting, surrounding herself with friends and family, traveling/road tripping.

Quote: "It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you."  -Leon Brown

Board of Directors

Vince Wiltse

President

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Jim Dorshorst

Vice President

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Tom Blumenfeld

Treasurer

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Abbie Papanicholas

Registrar

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John A Andrew

Member at Large

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Rob & Sarah Klancnik

Secretary

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