Head Coach (Junior Otters, Baby Bubbles)
She grew up in Wyandotte, where she swam for the Wyandotte Wildcats Swim Club and her middle school and high school teams. She graduated from Wyandotte Roosevelt and went to Northern Michigan University, where she earned a B.S. in physics. She began coaching in high school. After moving to Ypsilanti, she met an Otters coach and began coaching with the Otters in '93. She has been with the Otters ever since, coaching everything from pups to what we now call the competitive group.
She specializes in coaching the Pups and Junior Otters groups.
In the summers she has worked with other programs, including the Buhr Park Sharks, Ann Arbor Masters Swim, and Ypsilanti's Rutherford Municipal Pool. She enjoys swimming with the Master's program and open water swim events such as the Motor City Mile. She is married to Eric Rudolph and they have two daughters, Bridgette and Natalie.
Joseph Van De Walker
Head Coach (Competitive Groups)
My interest in swimming started when my Dad would take my family to the beach and pools and help my sister and me float around and learned the strokes. Growing up in South Carolina and Iowa gave me the opportunity to learn from my father skills to be a coach and a physical trainer. I swam at Portage Central Middle School when my family returned to Michigan. The coaches saw my potential and reccommended to continue swimming competitively. In my Sophomore year at Portage Central High School I was a member of a Division 1 200 freestyle relay team. My Junior year I made the state cut for all of my main events (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 medley relay, 200 free relay). My 200 Freestyle relay broke the Division 2 record as well as several school records. I finished highschool with several records on the board and All American Swimming awards, and I attribute my success to my coach. I swam at Eastern Michigan University my Freshman year, and learned a lot about swimming technique and Dryland excercises from the Assistant Coach.
I started working with the Otters as a lifeguard, but would fill in for coaches when they had a scheduling conflict. My background working at city owned beaches and teaching merit badges in Boy Scouts made YOSC the perfect fit. I have been with the Ypsilanti Otters Swim Club for three years and enjoy helping the kids become stronger swimmers.
My history with swimming
started when I was just a baby. My mother taught me how to swim
before I could walk. I eventually joined a USA swim team when I was
7 years old. I went to my first USA state meet as a 9-10 year old
and again as an 11-12 year old, 13-14, and 15 and over. As a team,
my high school had been conference and sectional champions for 12
years in a row. I started teaching swimming lessons as an assistant
with my mom in high school and obtained my WSI certification my
first year of college. Before otters I coached for Northridge Area
Swimming Association in Indiana and taught numerous group and
private lessons. I am currently an Elementary Education and
Integrated Science major.
Karen Bates started swimming with YOSC when she was 7 years old and has proudly been an Otter ever since. She participated in SMSL dual meets, championships, and USA meets where she earned the opportunity to swim at multiple state meets. During high school she swam for Ypsilanti High School where she was a team captain for two years and an All Conference athlete. Also during her high school years she became lifeguard certified and began working at Rutherford pool where she started teaching swim lessons and guarding. She has also worked at Forestbrooke and Chippewa.
Karen is currently a student at the University of Michigan where she is majoring in history and completing a minor in the museum studies program. She continues to swim and has developed an interest in running and yoga as well. Her best events are the 100 Breast, 200 Breast, 200 IM, and distance freestyle.