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PAAC Coaching Staff

We pride ourselves on having a very professional coaching staff.  Please contact us with any questions related to your specific swimmer, workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs. For all questions that are administrative in nature such as billing or policy issues, please contact Carol Facchiano or one of the board members.

Coaching Staff

Mike Owens

Head Coach

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Coach Mike is no stranger to the pool, having been around competitive swimming for many years. Whether it be club, high school, or college level swimming, the sport has been a constant in his life and he is thrilled to continue that growth with PAAC. His experience has allowed him to acquire a unique perspective on training and approach to the sport.

As an age group athlete, Coach Mike embraced swimming and set several local records in his hometown area of Reading. After suffering a leg injury in high school, Coach Mike turned to swimming as a means of recovery and therapy both physically and mentally. After competing at the collegiate level at Albright College, he was a top performer on the men’s team, winning four consecutive Men’s MAC Conference Team Championships from 2002 thru 2006.

Most recently, Coach Mike’s resume has included Head Age Group Coach for EMAC as well as assisting the Emmaus High School Team to many District Championships. For the past two years, Coach Mike has coached in his home district of Southern Lehigh, by assisting the High School team and SOLECO team. His philosophy for age group swimming has been to, first and foremost, engage the young athlete through structured enjoyment before mastering an exponential disciplined edge. His greatest enjoyment is seeing the athletes grow, flourish and take the discipline of this sport to college, career, and life.

Coach Mike enjoys leading a life of health and fitness as well as spending time with his wife, Jackie, and their two young sons, Jack and Joey.

Jacob Thielen

Associate Head Coach

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Jacob has coached at PAAC for several years. He has experience coaching all ages and ability levels and is currently the Gold Group coach.  While overseeing Gold, he has coached dozens of JO swimmers, JO finalists, multiple Zones qualifiers, a Zone champion, and multiple Sectional qualifiers.  Jacob previously served as an assistant coach for the Parkland High School Varsity Swim Team, where he assisted in coaching several swimmers at both the District and State level.   He also was formerly the head coach of Kaybrook Green Hills Summer Swim Team in Orefield.

Jacob holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from James Madison University.  He went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from Villanova University School of Law. Outside of coaching, Jacob is a Partner at the law firm O’Keefe, Miller & Thielen, P.C., a general practice firm with offices in Fleetwood and Allentown.  He currently serves as President of the Valley Swim League Board of Directors.  Jacob swam for both PAAC and Parkland High School where he was a four year varsity letter winner, and competed at both the district and state level.

You can follow him on Twitter @PAAC_CoachJT

James Hersh

Assistant Coach - Senior

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Coach Jim began coaching with PAAC in November 2014, but his roots in the Lehigh Valley swimming scene go way back. He was a high school state champion at Allen High School in the early 1980s and still holds the 50 free school record there. He went on to swim at Clarion and then returned to Allentown where he was a firefighter until his recent retirement. For the last few years, Jim has been an assistant coach for Salisbury High School, helping their boys' team to the 2013 State Championship. Coach Jim is an energetic teacher and uses knowledge and passion for yoga to help PAAC swimmers improve their strength and flexibility. We are excited to have him on board!

Steve Kelly

Assistant Coach - Bronze

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Coach Steve returned to PAAC in February 2015, to coach both the Bronze group and the STARS group. He immediately re-established goals for both groups, and expectations were far exceeded by season’s end.

His first tenure at PAAC lasted from April, 2005 to June, 2010. During that time, he coached many Middle Atlantic Junior Olympic and Elite Meet qualifiers, including some champions. Steve had one swimmer attain TOP 16 status. Steve has also coached adults over the years as he guided the Westend Racquet Club Masters swimmers from November, 1994 until September, 2013. He competed in Masters swim meets as well, starting in 1992 until he retired in 2007.

As a child, Steve competed in club swimming while growing up in Springfield (Delaware County) PA, starting at age 7 until he graduated high school. He swam first for the Community YMCA in Upper Darby, PA then for the Suburban Swim Club in Marple-Newtown, PA. Steve’s passion for swimming goes beyond the pool as he served as Committee Chairman for the Delaware Valley Masters Swim Committee from September, 2002 until September 2006. He also served as Westend Masters Swim Meet Director from 1993 to 1997.

Professionally, Steve has been is sales and sales management since graduating Lehigh University in 1980. He is married, with 2 children (twin daughters) and 2 grandchildren.

Tjasa Ritchey

Assistant Coach - STARS, Instructional

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Tjasa Ritchey is a 1993 graduate of Denison University, where she was an NCAA 18-time Division III swimmer over her four years and a NCAC 200 backstroke champion in 1993. During college summers, Tjasa coached at ACE Aquatics in Mount Kisco, New York as well as for a country club team in Louisville, KY.  Upon graduating from Denison, Tjasa spent two years teaching elementary children (kindergarten and then first grade) at a private school outside of New York City. During this time, she started training for triathlons. She then moved with her husband, Julian, to Jacksonville, FL where she became an A.C.E. Certified personal trainer and taught gymnastics.

Tjasa moved to the Lehigh Valley in 1997. She continued to be a personal trainer and she was the assistant men’s and women’s swim coach at Lafayette College from 1998-2001, all while pursuing her triathlon career, where she eventually turned professional. Tjasa is a five-time Ironman finisher, four of which were Ironman Hawaii (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), and one Ironman Lake Placid (2000). She then took a long break from everything to raise her four children children. Tjasa currently  serves on as secretary of the  Board of Directors for The Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley, Inc. She is happy to be back on deck coaching Instructional and Stars groups and helping out wherever she is needed.

Trey Shackleton

Assistant Coach - Silver

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Trey began swimming at PAAC at age 10 and continued competing with PAAC all the way through high school. In club swimming, Trey earned Junior National cuts in the 400 and 800 free and earned a top 8 finish in the 200 Fly at Eastern Futures. He also competed for Northwestern Lehigh High School, where he was a 1x District XI champion in the 200 free, and 3x District XI champion, 2x State bronze medalist, and 1x State runner-up in the 500 free. He also earned the Dennis A McGinley award in his senior season for District XI swimmer of the meet.

In college, Trey competed for one season at Indiana University Bloomington, and at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. At West Chester, Trey was a 2x PSAC champion, in the 1650 free and 800 free relay. He also competed at the 2016 Division II National Championship.

Trey is currently a student at Lehigh Carbon Community College and West Chester University of PA, working toward a degree in Biology, Ecology, and Conservation.

Board of Directors

Craig Walls

President

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Cristian Rojas

Vice President

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Mayra Avila

Treasurer

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Steve Evans

Secretary

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Jennifer Cheplick

Board Member

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Jeff Fleischaker

Board Member

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Sara Solomon

Board Member

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Justin Tewksbury

Board Member

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Darren Traub

Board Member

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