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Coaches & Directors

  Minnetonka Swim Club offers an experienced, highly trained coaching staff. Our lead coaches are members of the American Swim Coaches Association and all of our coaches are Red Cross certified in CPR and First Aid.

As former competitive swimmers, Minnetonka Swim Club coaches understand the developmental needs of athletes and know what it takes to get better and faster. More importantly, however, they understand that each athlete is an individual--and as such, they put the long-term development of swimmers first.

Our coaches focus on technique and physical strength, giving young athletes the foundation they need to build speed and endurance over time--without getting hurt. While winning is great in the short-term, Minnetonka coaches believe it is better for swimmers to keep developing as they get older. Our coaching staff is committed to ensuring that young athletes swim to the highest level they can and want to achieve, while also preparing them for both the emotional and cognitive demands of competing. 

If you have questions or are interested in joining the Minnetonka Swim Club, please visit the Join our Club section of our website. Our coaches are also available by email (see below) or by calling 952-401-5225

Coaching Staff

Erich J Welton

Head Coach

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Coaches: National, Senior 1, Senior 2

Erich has been a member of the staff since the spring of 2014.  He served as the Head Age Group Coach before being named Head Coach in the spring of 2017.

Erich started his swimming career as an athlete in Madison, Wisconsin at the age of 6.  He attended Middleton High School where he was a state champion in the 500 Free his senior year and multiple time All-American while in high school.  From there he went on to attend the University of Minnesota where he competed for the Gophers from 2004-2008. While there, he was a member of two Big Ten Championship teams and earned his varsity letter. 

Before coming to Minnetonka Swim Club, Erich coached at Interlachen Country Club for three summers and Edina Swim Club for six years. He also served as a Lead Coach with the Team Minnesota Zone staff from 2013 to 2016.  With Edina, he coached a Minnesota state champion 9 consecutive seasons. After moving to Minnetonka, Erich continues to coach his athletes to becoming State champions, State record holders, NCSA Junior National champions and reaching new heights.

Mikaela Bagley

Head Age Group Coach

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Coaches: Junior 2, Junior 3/White 3, Blue 1, Developmental 2

Before coming to Minnetonka Swim Club in 2021, Mikaela coached as a lead coach with Riptide Swim Team. With Riptide, she coached many swimmers to their first state and zone competitions. She has served as a Team Minnesota Zones and All-Star coach, and continues to strive to reach new levels. 

As a swimmer who grew up on a lake and continues to do so, she stays heavily involved in aquatics from instructing, to lifeguarding, to coaching. Mikaela has a true love of coaching and teaching, and prides herself on making everyone feel welcomed on the pool deck, and building a lifelong love for the sport. Making each swimmer a little better every day is something she strives to accomplish at Minnetonka.

Grace Carlson

Lead Group Coach

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Coaches: Junior 1, Blue 2, Developmental 1

Grace started competitively swimming at age 11. She swam for St. Peter High School for 6 years and the Mankato Mantas Swim Club for 3. While at St. Peter, Grace served as a captain and was a distance swimmer, holding the school record in the 500. Grace then attended Gustavus Adolphus College where she got her degree in Religious Studies with a minor in Philosophy. Grace swam distance and backstroke at Gustavus and served as a captain her senior year.

After graduating in 2019, Grace was hired as the Assistant Men’s and Women’s Swim Coach at Gustavus as well as the Girl’s Assistant Swim Coach at St. Peter High School. Grace also currently acts as an Assistant Camp Director for the Gustavus Swim Camps and has for the past 5 years. Grace also coached at Rosemount High School in 2020.

Grace is very knowledgeable in the sport of swimming, having grown up in a family of swim coaches. Her dad, Jon Carlson, is the Head Men’s and Women’s Swim Coach (as well as Head Women’s Tennis Coach) at Gustavus going on 32 years, and her grandpa, Jerry Carlson, was the Hutchinson High School Boys Swim Team founder and Head Coach for 46 years. Grace is a true student of the sport, constantly wanting to learn more and focusing heavily on the technical side of swimming. Grace believes that every swimmer has the potential to be fast - so long as they show up ready to work hard, have a positive attitude, and truly want to get better.

Danielle Wefring

Lead Group Coach

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Coaches: White 1, White 2, Blue 3

Danielle growing up a child of a zones level swimmer, felt the draw to be a swimmer at a young age. She started competitively swimming at age 9 and swam through high school at Eastview High School. Her love for swimming didn’t stop there, as she moved into swim instructing, lifeguarding, and coaching as a young adult. 

After 7 years, she still loves coaching and continues to do so. Her sweet spot of coaching is with 12&Us, she loves refining technique and giving swimmers all the tools they need to be the best they can be. As the oldest of many, she has inspired her younger siblings to join the sport. In her free time, she loves to spend time outdoors and study up on Psychology. She’s excited to bring her love of the sport to Minnetonka Swim Club.

Julia A Bartell

Assistant Coach

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Julia began competitive swimming at age 6. She started at a small town swim club, then was at Lifetime Swim Team for 8 years, and landed at Minnetonka Swim Club in 2019 at 15. She is a senior at Waconia High School and is a part of the swim team. During her time there, she has earned numerous All-Conference and All-State awards. 

 

Julia is a part of the National team and in summer 2021, she was able to go to Irvine, California for the combined Jr. Nationals and US Open in August.  Next year, she plans on swimming D1, in the Big 12 Conference, at Brigham Young University, Provo.  Julia is very excited to be a part of the Minnetonka Swim Club coaching staff! She believes that it is the perfect place to have fun and improve swimming skills. 

Leah Beman

Assistant Coach

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Leah began competitive swimming in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at the age of 10 and continued through all middle school into high school. She continued swimming through high school, swimming on the Varsity High School team for three years. She specialized in sprint/middle distance breaststroke and freestyle events, specifically the 100 breaststroke. Leah competed in Iowa’s Regional Swim Meet for three years and went to State Swimming as an alternate.

Leah attended Iowa State University, where she got her degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Special Education. She is now a teacher in Minnetonka teaching Elementary Special Education. Leah is excited to take her love of swimming and her passion for teaching to become a swim coach!

Mike Bollinger

Assistant Coach

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Mike has been involved with competitive swimming for over 25 years. From 1993-2000 Mike swam competitively for Simley High School and for Thunderbolts Swim Club. While there he was a multiple Section and State qualifier, as well as a captain. He comes from a family of swimmers. Hi dad, older sister, older brother, and younger brother all participated in competitive swimming.

His coaching career started in 2001 when he became an assistant coach for the Simley High School Boy’s Swimming and Diving team. He was an assistant with the boys team for the next 13 years. In addition to that he became Head Coach of the Simley Girl’s team, as well as coaching for various USA Swimming club teams as an Age Group, Assistant, and Head Coach. In 2013 He was named Head Women’s and Men’s Swimming and Diving Coach for the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. While there he was also the River Falls Swim Club Lead Age Group Coach. After a brief hiatus from the pool Mike returned to the deck in the fall of 2020 to help his brother and the Prior Lake High School Boys team.

Mike has had the privilege of coaching numerous athletes of all ages and abilities from 6 year old beginners, to 18 year old Division 1 recruits, to College program record holders, to Olympic Trials qualifiers. It doesn’t matter what age athletes are, he loves fostering positive self-worth and a sense of family. “One big thing that continuously draws me to this sport is the sense of comradery. Even though when you race it’s just you in a lane by yourself, this isn’t an individual sport. You didn’t get here by yourself. You weren’t up at 5am alone training. Your teammates made you better, and you made your teammates better. That accountability and respect for each other is what makes teams great. It’s what makes teams family.”

Nadia C Helm

Assistant Coach

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Nadia Helm is both a junior coach and an athlete on Minnetonka swim club. She is also a captain of the Minnetonka High School team. As a senior in high school, Nadia looks forward to continuing her education and swimming career next year at Northern Michigan University. Her favorite event is 200 Fly, and her favorite school class is currently American Sign Language.

Ingrid Iverson

Assistant Coach

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Ingrid began swimming competitively at the age of 10 for her neighborhood recreational team in Charlotte, NC. There, she fell in love with the sport and its community. In Charlotte, Ingrid swam for around ten different teams, but found a home at Team Charlotte Swimming and South Mecklenburg High School. From 2016-2020 Ingrid swam for Gustavus Adolphus College where she specialized in breaststroke, served as a captain her junior and senior year, and studied Mathematics. 

Ingrid has been coaching since high school, beginning with her neighborhood recreational team. More recently, Ingrid has been a Lead Instructor at Gustavus Swim Camps this past year, and an Instructor the 4 years prior to that. Her favorite aspect of coaching is learning from her peers, her swimmers, and everyone she meets on deck.

When she isn’t on deck, Ingrid enjoys working at JADA Studios (a sports acupuncture studio), participating in the Minneapolis Open Swim Club, practicing yoga, and taking her dog, Magnus to the dog park.

Christine A Kline

Assistant Coach

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Chris joined the coaching staff in 2016 officially, prior to that she was a volunteer coach.  She has two sons that have both swam for the club and the Minnetonka High School swim team.  When not at the pool, Chris works as an Engineer at General Dynamics.

Chris began competitive swimming in Duluth MN, swimming during both Junior High and High School on the varsity team.  During this time, she specialized in the 500 Free and Backstroke events.  Chris currently swims with Minnetonka Masters when she can and enjoys being in the water whenever possible. 

Chris is honored to be part of such a great community as Minnetonka and enjoys spreading her love for the sport both on the pool deck as a coach and in the stands cheering. 

Regan M Miller

Assistant Coach

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Jeff Recker

Assistant Coach

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Jeff began his swimming career at the age of 7 with ABC Swim Club in the north metro and later for Coon Rapids High School Swim Team where he earned team captain, MVP and All State honors.   Jeff also taught swimming lessons, lifeguarded, and coached for 8 years with the Anoka-Hennepin School District.   

In College, Jeff swam for St. Olaf College, specializing in sprint/middle distance freestyle and backstroke events.  Jeff was a 12 time All American and team captain.   Jeff currently swims with Minnetonka Masters, most recently competing in the 2018 & 2019 U.S. Masters Swimming Short Course National Championships.   

Coach Jeff has 3 kids on the swim club and is thrilled to be able to be on deck sharing his love for the sport with whoever he can.   

Quinci J Wheeler

Assistant Coach

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Quinci started her swimming career at 7 years old with the Minnetonka Swim Club. She started as a Rec Team athlete and now swims with the National Group. Quinci also swims for the Minnetonka Girls Swim and Dive team and is one of the Captains for the 2021-2022 season. She has been selected to the All-Conference and All State teams during her freshmen, sophomore, and junior years. She was also a part of the state-winning 200 Medley Relay in 2019, which earned All America recognition. 

Quinci is currently a senior at Minnetonka High School, where she is a part of the Chinese Immersion Program and an IB Diploma Candidate.

Quinci is passionate about swimming and is excited to share her love for the sport.

Sara J Bielski

Assistant Coach

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Sara joined the Minnetonka Swim Club coaching staff in 2014. Sara started her swimming career swimming for Twin Cities Swim Team where she went on to swim for Minnetonka High School from 2005-2009. After, High School Sara pursued a Bachelors of Science degree in Communication Studies from Kansas State University. As an undergraduate Sara was a competitor for K-State Swimming and Lacrosse Club teams. While in school Sara was a Sports Information Intern for K-State Athletics. She also took part in media coverage for Big 12 conferences and clinics. After college Sara continued her passion for sports working for Van Wagners New Stadium team in correspondence with the Vikings. Sara enjoys swimming for Minnetonka Swim Club Masters team. 

Carrie Stolar

Masters Coach

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Carrie has been involved with Minnetonka Masters since 2006, joining initially as a swimmer then becoming part of the coaching staff in 2013.

Carrie began competitive swimming in Naperville, Illinois in the local park district conference and then competed for Naperville YMCA, winning state championships and finaling at YMCA Nationals. She also swam for Naperville Central High School where she was the school record holder in 100-200-500 free, 100 fly and 200 IM. Carrie graduated from Vanderbilt University with a double major in Economics and European Studies. At Vanderbilt she was a NCAA All-American in the 200 fly and 400 IM and was Vanderbilt’s Academic Athlete of the Year her sophomore year. Carrie also has her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Carrie gained coaching experience by coaching summer park district teams in her hometown, at Courage-Kenney Rehabilitation Institute, Hopkins Hurricanes and Genesis Aquatics. She is an avid open water swimmer and certified ALTS instructor (Adult Learn to Swim).

Doug Helm

Masters Coach

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Doug moved to Minnesota in the Spring of 2016 with his wife Marsha and daughters Penelope and Nadia. He is a project manager at General Mills, a swimmer, a masters coach, as well as an age group coach.

His swimming career began at age 10 in the Naperville, IL park district conference and continued  year-round swimming at age 12.  He attended and swam for the University of Iowa where he earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering.

Doug began his coaching career in Iowa City as the City High and West High boys coach during his 5th year at Iowa.  He continued coaching with Maverick Swim Club in Naperville IL, becoming the head age group coach from 1998-2016.  In addition to head coach activities, he lead 12 and over groups of differing ability throughout the years.  

Gerry Vandam

Assistant Masters Coach

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Gerry is from Albuquerque, NM where he swam age group, high school, and then continued  to swim for the University of New Mexico.  While swimming at UNM, he started an AAU club team, Valley Swim Club, and was head coach for 4 years.  After graduating from UNM, he joined the United States Navy were he flew off aircraft carriers for  20 Years (A-6s, A-4s, EA6Bs, F-4s, FA-18s, E-2Bs, T-2s, T-34s and T-38s)  When not at sea, he earned two additional  degrees, a Master of Arts in International Relations  Salve Regina University and a Masters of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies, Naval War College. During his career in the Navy, he started a masters swim program at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fl.  When his kids began swimming at the ages of 7, 5, and 4, he began officiating, continued for 13 years and was certified up to National Referee.  In 1996, he retired from the USN after my Squadron Command Tour at the rank of Commander.  After the Navy, he started working for Northwest Airlines/Delta airlines and moved to Minneapolis.  He retired as a Delta Captain in 2015 after flying DC-9s, MD-88/90, A320's and 747's.

     Gerry started swimming masters during the summer of 1993 and has continued until today. He competed  in many Masters Nationals finishing in the top 10 numerous times.  He missed coaching and after retiring, he was lucky and got a chance again to work with Minnetonka Masters.