Partners
USAWP
USA+Synchro
TYR
US+Swim
Coaches & Directors

Coaches

Westside Aquatics employs professional coaches with a passion for swimming and water polo, and our coaching staff is here to support your needs. If you have any questions regarding workouts, meets, events, goal setting, or other topics related to aquatic sports, please contact your coach directly. All coaches are members of USA SwimmingUSA Water Polo, and USA Synchro as well as American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA), and everyone has completed multiple background checks as an extra measure of safety for our athletes.

Coaching Staff

JJ Amis

Bronze Coach

Email

Coach JJ is from Culver City and was active in several sports since the age of 7. He competed in judo, basketball and swimming, but realized his passion for swimming in high school. He was a Sectional, YMCA National and Junior Olympic Qualifier while representing the Westside YMCA and Pacific Palisades High School. His achievements include MVP and LA City Champion in 100 and 50 free. As a student at UC Santa Cruz, he was a Division III athlete placing 3rd in the 100 breast at the SCAC Championship and earned a top 3 spot in the UCSC Top 10 All time list in the 100 breast.

He graduated with a BA in Biology, and coached for Slug Aquatics during his time in Santa Cruz. He has additional experience coaching judo and basketball, assisting English classes in Japan and working as a summer camp counselor.  Coach JJ believes there is greatness within each of his swimmers, and emphasizes having a positive mindset to become well-accomplished individuals both in and out of the pool. His main goal as a coach is to help guide the athletes to develop a strong work ethic and confidence in their power.

Michael Bechtholdt

Head Coach Swimming

Email

Coach Mike is an ASCA Level 4 coach who has been with Westside Aquatics since 2014. While at Westside, Mike has helped swimmers reach thier goals of competing in college, and Westside swimmers have reached the National, Junior National, and Sectional level under his guidance.  Mike's swimmers have made Championship Finals at the Junior National, Futures, SCS Club Championships, Junior Olympics, June Age Group Championships, and Winter Age Group Championships.

Before joining Westside Aquatics, Coach Mike coached at Canyons Aquatic Club in Santa Clarita for over ten years, working with the senior level swimmers. During that time, he also had a 5-year stint as the Head Coach at Valencia High School, which culminated in the team's 25th (boys) and and 31st (girls) places nationally. Prior to joining Canyons, Mike was the head coach at Riverton High School, where he coached the Riverton Aquatic Team and was selected as the North 4A Coach of the Year. Before coaching, Mike was a collegiate swimmer at the University of Wyoming, and he swam in high school at Cheyenne East.

Throughout his career, Mike has held an unparalleled record in advancing swimmers to their next level of competition. Swimmers under Mike's guidance have achieved Junior National, National and Olympic Trial qualifying time standards. Mike has had swimmers go on to become professional athletes and Olympic Team members, and Olympic medalists.  Mike has also been part of the North American Challenge Cup coaching staff for the 2008 and 2007 seasons as well as Pacific Coast All Star Coaching Staff and Southern California Zone Coaching Staff. He has also been invited to travel as a "host" coach to the Olympic training center with his athletes for both the Diversity Select Camp and the Junior National Select Camp.

Adam Blakis

Pre Team/Director Age Group Water Polo

Email

Adam has been coaching swimmers and water polo players in California for over twenty-five years. He has taught athletes at UC Riverside, St. Monica's, Crespi, Chabot College, Santa Monica College and Palisades-Malibu YMCA. He has coached Senior, Junior, and YMCA Natinal swimming qualifiers. Coach Adam was named the 2012, 13, 14, 15, 16 LA CIF Water Polo Coach of the Year while leading Pali High to the LA City Title. Adam swam and played water polo at Santa Monica High and UC Riverside, where he graduated with a BA in History.

Cinthia Bouhier

Synchro Assistant Coach

Email

Coach Cinthia grew up in Angers, France and started swimming when she was 5 years old. She was a member of French Olympic team that earned 4th place in the Sydney Games. She is also a silver medalist and 4-time European champion, and competed at three World Championships. She coached for a club in Montreal, Canada, and she performed for seven years with Cirque Du Soleil “O” production in Las Vegas. She brings her extensive technical and artistic experience to the club, primarily coaching figures and soloists.

Daniel Colvin

Santa Monica Lead Site Swimming Coach

Email

Coach Danny Colvin is joining the Westside Aquatics staff as Lead Site Coach for our Santa Monica Site. Before Westside, Danny was the Director of Strength and Conditioning with the Mission Viejo Nadadores, His primary focus at Mission was coaching their 13-14 year olds but also branched out to other age groups. During his year and a half tenure at MVN, he helped to rehabilitate Cal Berkeley Freshman Katie McLaughlin (2015 Bronze Medalist 200 FLY at 2015 Pan Pacific Championships) after neck fracture. Danny also developed the strength and conditioning programing which complemented the water training for Ous Mellouli (World Record/Gold Medalist) 12 Rio Olympic Trial Qualifiers and Ous Mellouli (2012 Gold medalist 1500 FR and former world record holder). Before Mission Viejo, Danny started his coaching career with Buenaventura Swim Club as the Bronze Group Coach and quickly moved up to Senior Sprint Coach and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. Danny also spent nearly three years as the Strength and Conditioning coach for the men's and women's water polo and swim teams at Ventura College.

Keila Contreras

Utility Swim Coach

Email

Coach Keila was born and raised in the City of Palmdale, where she started swimming for the Palmdale Novice Swim Team as a little girl. In the following years, she swam for Canyons Aquatics Club and Rattler Swim Club. During her high school years, club swimming enabled her to join Bishop Alemany and Granada Hills Charter High School’s Varsity Swim Team where she participated in CIF Division 1 and City Division Championships, along with two consecutive years CIF Championships. Due to a shoulder injury, she retired from swimming and decided to pursue a career in Sports Medicine and Strength & Conditioning, where she hopes to help all walks of life including athletes. She is attending College of the Canyons, working towards a BS in Kinesiology. As for sports, she moved onto strength sports such as Powerlifting and occasionally contributes to oversea humanitarian efforts. She joined our club as a swim instructor with the lessons program, and was promoted to swim team coach in April 2017.

Peter Fishler

Senior Coach / Director of Nutrition

Email

Peter is also our director of college swimming.

With no prior competitive experience, Peter began swimming for Palisades Charter High School in 2003. By his senior year, he had helped Pali achieve three City Championships, scoring each year at the City Championship in the top 10. He was recognized as All-Los Angeles City Team (1st and 2nd place per event)>

As a Palisades High School senior, Peter coached the Pali JV Women’s squad, where he helped lead the team to the Marine League championship with an undefeated season in 2006. While attending Franklin & Marshall, he helped coach the Trident Swim Club’s senior squad, leading 2 men to the 2009 PIAA state finals.

Peter has been the full-time Assistant Coach for Palisades Charter High School Swim Team since 2011. The Women's team have claimed the last 4 City Championships, won 20 events and turned in 46 CIF top 3 performances during his tenure. The Men's team have taken the last 3 City Championships, ending their 7 season title drought. They have won 22 events, been awarded 38 medals and broken 4 CIF City Section records.

Peter represented Westside Aquatics as a swimmer from 2004 to 2006, and began coaching for them in 2011. His swimmers have competed at the highest levels of Southern California Swimming, turning in meet record setting performances at the SCS Club Championship "Super JO" meet, as well as countless SCS Junior Olympic qualifying swims.

Matt Flanders

Director of Water Polo

Email

Coach Matt attended Santa Monica High and graduated from UCSB and UCLA. He played water polo at UCSB from 1989-1994, earning all MPSF honors, the McCormick Leadership Award ('93 & '94), and the MPSF Student Athlete of the Year award.

Coach Matt Flanders has been the head coach of Santa Monica High School's water polo and swim programs since 1996. During that time, Santa Monica teams have won 20+ league championships and reached the conference playoffs 20+ times combined, including one conference finals appearance. During this time, Santa Monica High has also had more than 75 athletes named to all-league, all-area, or all-conference teams. 

Coach Matt is currently in charge of goalie development for Westside, and he also assists with the under-12 teams.

Ramon Jimenez-Bravo

14U Boys Polo

Email

Bart Gawboy

Coach - Water Polo

Email

Inga Gillyer

Synchro Assistant Coach

Email

Coach Inga is from Donetsk, Ukraine. She is a European Champion, and also earned multiple silver & bronze medals. She has competed at World Championships and a 4-time US Collegiate National Champion, representing University of the Incarnate Word in Texas. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in physical education/kinesiology, and has been coaching for four years in Canada. She was awarded Coach of the Year in 2016, and has coached athletes to be Provincial & National champions, as well as athletes named to the Canadian National Team. She is a strong, dynamic coach to have working with our developmental and age group athletes.

Jane Kok

Synchro Assistant Coach

Email

 

Coach Jane grew up in Southern California, and started synchronized swimming at 9 years old with the Cerritos Synchronettes. She did speed swimming and water polo, and was a collegiate athlete at The Ohio State University. She is a synchronized swimming performer, underwater artist and model. She also expresses her artistic and technical talent through photography/videography. Coach Jane is the lead coach for the 13-15 team.

Miriam Margolis

Synchro Assistant Coach

Email

Coach Miriam has 8 years of competitive synchronized swimming experience, representing teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2014, Miriam began coaching and performing. She is a USA Synchro CCP 1 coach, and also coaches the LA Sea Stars (Masters team). She continues to perform as a professional synchronized swimmer and plans to compete in Masters Championships. 

Remy Mink

Synchro Assistant Coach

Email

 

Coach Remy grew up in the East Bay and started synchronized swimming at age 11 with the Walnut Creek Aquanuts. She had a successful career with the renowned club, and was a 7-time national champion in Team, Combo and Duet events. She is currently studying physiology at UCLA, and is a part of their Sports Medicine Program. She works with Track & Field athletes, and has been coaching synchro with Westside since 2016.

Jaclyn Mundy

Synchro Assistant Coach

Email

 

Coach Jackie grew up in Southern California, and started synchronized swimming at 8 years old with the Riverside Aquettes. She was a 2-time Collegiate National Champion representing Ohio State University. She performs for synchronized swimming shows, including a special underwater project at Yas Underworld in Abu Dhabi. Jackie also coordinates weddings, showers and corporate events for Say I Do to Details. We appreciate her experience, enthusiasm and positivity when she is working with our swimmers.

Timothy James Murphy

Head Age Group Coach Swimming

Email

Coach Tim is an ASCA Level 3 certified coach in his eleventh season in SoCal Swimming's Pacific Committee.  This is his second stint as a member of the Westside Aquatics coaching staff.

Coach Tim's philosophy is to keep things fast and fun, with a healthy dose of inspiration.  He encourages each athlete to be committed to the team and to the fulfillment of their athletic and academic potential.  His extensive and diverse coaching history has led him work with every level of athlete, from novice to Olympian.  Beginning way back in his high school days, in the Cincinnati Country Club League, his coaching career includes some time as an undergraduate assistant at Kenyon College, one season at the CIF level with Harvard-Westlake School, six seasons with Team Santa Monica, three seasons with Swim Torrance and parts of six different seasons with Westside Aquatics.  Coach Tim has produced multiple Junior National qualifiers, Sectional qualifiers, Junior Olympic champions and SCS record-holders and, from 2008-2010, he was the developmental coach of a 2016 U.S. Olympian and 2015 World Champion.  Throughout his career, he has been fortunate enough to work with some of the sport's best athletes, which include an American record holder, NCAA champions, U.S. and Australian Olympic Trials qualifiers, International Open Water medalists, World Junior Team members and numerous Junior and Senior National qualifiers.

As an athlete in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, Tim was a U.S. Open qualifier, Junior National qualifier, NAG Top-16 qualifier and YMCA National Champion, while representing the Cincinnati Marlins and the M.E. Lyons YMCA, respectively.  However, it was his experience as a State Champion and All-American at Cincinnati St. Xavier High School that cemented his passion for the sport.
*Swimming World Magazine recently ranked the St. Xavier High School men's swimming team as the 3rd best high school program in history.

After graduating from St. X in 1998, he competed for NCAA Division III powerhouse Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he was awarded All-Conference honors.  In 2002, he achieved a B.A. in History from Kenyon.


Coach Tim has given back to the sport as the Pacific Committee's representative to the Southern California Swimming Board of Review from 2011-2016.

Justin Vink

14U Girls Head Coach

Email

Coach Justin played at Granada Hills Charter High School and played club for ORWP for 3 years. He was awarded a full scholarship to play water polo and swim for Penn State. He was 3 time All-Conference and 2 time All-American while also currently in possession of the single season and career assists record. During his time in high school and college he played for the junior national and senior national teams for The Netherlands under Coach Robin van Galen. He played for the World Championship and European Championship contending teams as well as the FINA World League and World Cup squads. As a coach, he assisted the Penn State Women’s team before becoming the head coach for the Fairview high school women’s water polo team in Erie, PA. He landed 3 All-Conference players and was voted the Western Conference Coach of the Year for the 2015 season. Currently, he is the head men’s and women’s swimming and water polo coach at John F. Kennedy high school in Granada Hills, CA. He led the swim teams to their first ever League championship during the 2016 season and secured a first ever playoff berth for the women’s water polo team for the 2016-2017 season. As a coach, he appreciates the rewarding experience of mentoring and teaching players in the sport, and contributing to their growth and success. 

Connor Virjee

18/16U Girls

Email

Born and raised in the South Bay, Connor started playing a little over 10 years ago for Trojan Club and then at Palos Verdes High School. He was recruited to play at USC, where he contributed to the team's success of winning 6 consecutive NCAA championships. After graduation, Connorr played abroad in Newcastle, Australia and represented the US on the world stage with the Senior National team. He has helped coach several programs around the LA area and continues to compete as a member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club's National League roster.

Julie Ann Wessler

Silver Coord / Open Water Coord

Email

Julie Ann comes to Westside from Illinois where she coached in various roles.  In 2017, she was an Assitant Coach at Lewis University outside of Chicago and a Senior Assistant Club coach for   Lemont Park District Dolphins.  In 2017 Coach Julie was named as an Assistant Coach for the 2017 USA Swimming Open Water Select Camp    in Fort Myers, FL.  Before her tenures in Illinois, she coached group and private lessons in Wingate, NC from 2013 to 2016.  Prior to finding her passion for the coaching profession, Julie had a successful career as a competitive swimmer.  She graduated from Wingate University with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports Management as well as a Master of Arts Degree in Sports Management and Administration.  She attended Wingate from 2011 to 2015 where she competed on the swim team.  For the Bulldogs, she was a 4-time All-American in all three distance events at NCAA's in 2013 and 2015 and won both the 1000 and 1650 at the BMC Conference Championships in 2015.  Before her college swimming career, Coach Julie competed in the distance freestyle events for her hometown club SG Essen in Essen, Germany.  There,  she qualified for the German National Open Water Team in 2008 and 2009.  She was also part of the National Champion  club team SG Essen  in 2008 and 2009 where she was coached by Henning Lambertz,   the current National Team Head Coach . Outside the pool, she enjoys researching about sports nutrition and psychology and  spends her free time with friends outside like going hiking

Valerie Williams

Synchronized Swimming & Lessons Director

Email

Coach Valerie has over twelve years of coaching experience. She previously coached 12&Under teams at Los Angeles Synchro and the Meraquas of Irvine. Her athletes have placed routines in Finals at US Nationals, and she qualified a swimmer to the 2011 U.S. National Team. She was the Assistant Coach for the 2012 12&Under U.S. National Team, and will be coaching the U.S. National team in 2016. She is a U.S. National Team consultant, CCP3 Certified coach, Grade Level Assessor, and a Regional judge. She is also the head coach of a local Masters team, and performs & choreographs for private shows and film/tv productions.