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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.

All Porpoise Coaches are registered and have current certifications with USA Swimming, and are members of ASCA (American Swim Coaches Association).

Coaching Staff

Matthew David Baxter

Head Coach & Executive Director

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Matt Baxter has been coaching competitive swimming for 20 years and 13 of those have been with the Porpoises. He began his coaching career in September 2000 as an Assistant Coach at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY with the USA Maverick Swim Club, becoming head coach in 2001 until 2005. From 2005-2008 he assistant coached with the South Eastern Virginia Aquatic club, as well as head coached the GPSA Kiln Creek dolphin summer league team. While coaching with the Maverick swim club and the South Eastern Virginia Aquatic club he worked with swimmers that qualified for the Eastern Zone meet, Sectional meet and NCSA Junior National meet.
Prior to his coaching career, Matt swam competitively for 17 years. His swimming experiences at Rochester Recreation Swim Team, Fairport Area Swim Team, Monroe Community College, and the University of Buffalo provided many positive influences and memories for him. At Monroe Community College he set a school record in the 400 IM and earned Junior College All-American status in the event. In the spring of 2008 he was inducted into the Monroe Community College Athletic Hall of Fame for his performance.
Matt moved to Portland in August 2008 to become head coach of PPSC. Since arriving, the club has enjoyed many top 5 finishes at the Maine Championship meet: from 2012 - 2014 the club finished 3rd overall, from 2015 - 2017 placed 2nd overall, and in 2018 took 1st place. For the 2010 - 2011 season Matt was awarded Maine Swimming coach of the year, an award he proudly to the assistant coaching staff, the club’s dedicated board of directors, and the positive, supportive, and family environment of the club.
During his tenure with PPSC, the club has had numerous athletes reach the Eastern Zone Championship age group meet, and many qualify for the Eastern Zone Sectional meet each year. The Porpoises have also added NCSA Junior National qualifiers, USA Futures & Junior National qualifiers, as well as a USA Senior National qualifier to the list of athlete accomplishments.
Matt received his Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Brockport in 2004 in English with a focus in creative writing. He received his Master of Science in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University in 2008. Matt lives in Portland with his wife Jessica and 2 sons.
You can reach Matt by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 207-232-9457.

Brenna Dowd

Lead Age Group Coach & Asst Pre-Senior

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Brenna grew up swimming competitively on Long Island, NY. She went on to swim for Ithaca College where she specialized in distance freestyle events. Brenna received All-State and All-Conference honors, was named E8 Sportswoman of the Year in 2015, and captained the team to four undefeated seasons and four UNYSCSA titles. While at Ithaca College, she was also an assistant developmental swim coach for Swim Ithaca. After graduating, she returned to Long Island where she was the head developmental coach for Hauppauge Swim Club and the Director of Operations for a NY-based swim school, urSwim. Brenna moved to Portland in November 2021 and serves as PPSC’s Lead Age Group Coach.

Erin Shanahan

Assistant Coach - Pre-Senior

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An ASCA Level 2 certified coach, Erin has been an invaluable member of the PPSC coaching team since 2014. Erin began swimming at age seven and swam Division ! at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where she was named team captain her senior year. After graduating in 2001, Erin became a high school teacher and started her coaching career. She has held assistant and lead group coaching positions at a number of swim clubs and high schools in the New England LSC. In addition to coaching for PPSC, Erin teaches high school English at Kennebunk High School and is mom to four children. 

Haley Markos

Assistant Coach - Senior I and II

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Growing up, Haley swam for Seacoast Swimming Association and Dover High School, and trained and competed through USA Triathlon’s Junior Elite program in high school. She graduated from Smith College in 2020 with a B.A. in engineering. In college, Haley was on the cross country, track and field, and swim teams, and has continued swimming with local masters groups and open water. She has four years of experience coaching K-8 track and field and high school running camps, and is a USA Track and Field Level 1 certified coach. When not coaching for PPSC, Haley is the head cross country coach at Memorial Middle school in South Portland and volunteer coach cross country at Bowdoin College. 

Zach Mullin

Assistant Coach - Senior PM Group

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As the former head coach of the YMCA’s Greater Portland Swim Team, Zach brings a lot of experience to PPSC. For six years, he developed and implemented training plans for each of the swim groups, conducted swim and dryland practices, organized swim meets, and performed various administration and fundraising responsibilities. Zach is also the Chairperson for Maine Swimming’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. When not at the pool, Zach can be found at the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine and King Middle School, where he is the 21st Century Program Director.

Lauren Cote

Assistant Coach - Age Group II

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Lauren has been coaching PPSC's Age Group II swimmers since in 2014. She began swimming at the age of five with the YMCA of Lewiston Maine. She has always loved being near and in water and trained and competed with PPSC, the Portland YMCA, and Deering High School. Earning her BS in Biology from University of Southern Maine, she worked many years in the field of pharmacy, but felt that something was missing. So, she went back to her first love of water and now works as our Age Group II coach. Lauren and her husband live in Limington with their three dogs.

Colleen LePage

Assistant Coach - Age Group I

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Colleen helps coach our Age Group I swimmers and is also the Aquatic Supervisor for the City of Portland.  Her past coaching positions include: Head Coach of KVYMCA Stingrays, Assistant Coach for Seacoast Swim Club, Co-Head Coach for TCST, Head Coach for West Roxbury/Roslindale YMCA and Assistant Coach for Leatherstocking Swim Team.  Colleen's competitive swimming experience includes: Leatherstocking Swim Team as an age-grouper; St. Michael's College as a DII student and swimmer; and continues to compete as a member of Maine Masters Swim Club.  Colleen lives in Lewiston with her husband and two children.

Sam LaRiviere

Assistant Swim & Dryland Coach

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A competitive swimmer for 18 years, Sam grew up swimming for the Sanford YMCA Titans and Massabesic High School, where he earned Academic All-American Honors and served as an MESI Athlete Rep. He continued his swimming career at Springfield College where he trained for the 200 Fly and 400 IM, and was a four-time All-Conference team member. Post-college, Sam co-founded a new swim team in Western MA, PVAA, and lead both the drylands and age group swim practices. After finishing PT school, he moved to CA to work with Swimming Science as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for a number of Bay Area teams. When not coaching, Sam works as a Physical Therapist.

Erin Anne Gagnon

Drylands Coach

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Erin brings a wealth of knowledge in dryland training to PPSC. Erin graduated from the New England School of Acupuncture with her Master’s in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, and the University of New England with a Bachelors of Science in Occupational Therapy. Erin owns Brio Acupuncture Clinic and is a Major with the US Army Reserves. Her experience and philosophy in teaching young athletes how to do exercises correctly and soundly are a fantastic asset to the club. Erin resides in Portland with her husband and two children, both of whom are PPSC swimmers.