SNOW COACHING STAFF

SNOW Swimming coaches are here to support your needs. If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact you group coach. 

For all questions related to administration, such as billings, safety, or policy issues, please contact Teresa at [email protected] 

Coaching Staff

Erik Collins

Head Coach

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Erik Collins graduated from Niagara University in 1991 with a B.A. in English, and the joke in his family (or more accurately, the "lament") is that he "walked off stage and right back to the pool." Originally from Long Island, NY, Collins had the good fortune to swim for the LI Express under Rob Ortoff, where he got his first coaching job in the Fall of '91. He worked his way up to Head Senior Coach at Express before leaving NY after the 1999 LCM season. Since then, Collins has had "one spectacular year after another" as he puts it, coaching at several prominent clubs before landing for a second time in northern Virginia with SNOW Swimming in the Fall of 2014. His second stint with SNOW has been much more productive than the first.

When Collins signed on in 2014 it was with the understanding that he'd run the Dulles South site for SNOW once it opened "in a year or two," as Loudoun County Parks & Rec projected. That "year or two" turned into more than three years before the site he calls "The D" finally opened, and Collins wound up running the combined Jr. Gold programs in the interim. Those Jr. Gold groups did well, yielding Sectional & NCSA qualifiers as well as three NCSA 14&U champions. Collins also stepped into the role of Team Rep to the PVS Competition Committee for SNOW, where he had a chance to immerse himself in the inner workings of the Potomac Valley Swimming LSC. Collins wound being asked to fill an "At-Large" position on the PVS Board of Directors, where he had a greater opportunity to contribute to "better swimming for the athletes of PVS," as well as a chance to learn from the world-class coaches in Potomac Valley. Following his two year term in the At-Large position, Collins was elected as the Age Group Chairperson for the LSC. He assumed that role just as the pandemic hit, which he says leveled the playing field for him. "It didn't matter how long a person had been on the Board, nobody had any experience running the LSC in a pandemic; from that standpoint, everybody was starting from scratch, and I've been able to contribute just like anybody else." 

Once the Dulles South site opened, Collins hit the ground running- filling training groups, working out kinks in the schedule, and building on the successes of those Jr. Gold groups the previous three years. Collins had new Sectional qualifiers and one NCSA qualifier from the very first year The D was up & running; several of his athletes were chosen for USA Swimming Select Camps, and Collins himself was picked for the coaching staff of USA Swimming's Eastern Zone Select Camp in 2018.

Prior to 2014, Collins had stops at several elite level clubs, including Tualatin Hills (OR) with Coach Bergen, Auburn University (AL) with David Marsh, and RMSC (MD) with Scott Vekeman where he was Co-Coach of Record for Michael Raab, who won Gold for the USA at the 2003 Pan American Games. Raab's winning time in the 200 Fly that Summer made him the third fastest American ever in that event, behind only Tom Malchow and Michael Phelps. Collins has served as Head Coach at clubs in Georgia, Minnesota & Maryland, had numerous Junior National & National qualifiers, and coached two other international medalists along the way. He is particularly proud of the USA Swimming Academic All-Americans he has developed throughout his career. "It's not so much the accolade of being 'smart and fast,'" he says; but more "the mastering of the process which yields that level of achievement for a young student-athlete. There is nothing more empowering than that."

Collins is excited for the opportunities the post-pandemic swimming world will offer student-athletes in general and his SNOW swimmers in particular. "The opportunities for our kids to achieve their goals and excel in the classroom and in the pool are out there. They'll look a little different in 2021 & 2022, but they're still there. Having a different look to those opportunities means we'll have to work a little differently to achieve those goals, but that isn't anything we can't handle. You only get what you handle, so I think we're ready for the challenges that 2021 will present to us."

Collins & his wife, Sara live in Alexandria with their two cats.

 

Ross C Hawks

Head Site Coach

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Ross Hawks started swimming competitively while attending Morse High School in Bath, Maine (Class of 2006). Following an impressive campaign during his freshman year at MHS, Ross took his swimming up a level & joined the year-round USA Swim Club at the local YMCA, Long Reach Swim Club (LRSC). Pairing up Ross' gritty work ethic & determination with the accomplished coaches at LRSC really paid big dividends: by his senior year in high school Ross was 9th in the 100 Backstroke and 15th in the 200 Free, leading his team to a formidable showing at the Maine State Championships. Ross started coaching for LRSC in 2007, bringing all the enthusiasm & determination he shared with his teammates, to the pool deck. Showing a deft hand for his coaching as well as his swimming, Ross developed LRSC athletes who qualified for the 2010 YMCA National Championships. 

Ross moved to Virginia in 2013 to begin coaching with SNOW, and has used the same savvy approach to develop JO qualifiers and Team Record Holders as the Head Site Coach at Ida Lee. He has taken on an additional training group each season and created a real stronghold for the club in Leesburg as the club has shown considerable growth from year to year.  Ross has also coached the Stone Ridge Sharks summer league team in the ODSL (2014-2015) as well as the Greenway Gators summer league team in 2016. Ross is excited for the opportunities our student-athletes will have in the post-pandemic swimming world, and eager to help everyone on SNOW achieve their highest goal.

 

Kristy Lai Harris

Assistant Coach

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Kristy Lai-Harris is in her third year with SNOW Swimming and overall has ten years coaching experience under her belt. Originally from Michigan, Kristy began her coaching adventure in Kingsport, TN, working with age groupers and Masters swimmers. Once her family made their way to northern Virginia, Kristy landed a coaching job with the Reston YMCA where she parlayed her Tennessee experience into a Lead Assistant Coach position where she quickly found herself working with four of the Y’s seven training groups. Those groups ran the gamut from 8&Unders up to high school seniors. As Kristy’s responsibilities and influence over those groups grew from year to year, so too did their performances improve: the Reston Y 8&Unders won their Championship Meet the last two years Kristy was there, while five of her high school seniors qualified for YMCA Nationals her last year there. That was the largest squad the Reston Y had sent to the meet held annually in Greensboro, NC in ten years.

Now a part of the coaching staff here at “The D” for SNOW Swimming, Kristy runs our afternoon groups, which includes Olympic Way and TAG Bronze, TAG Silver & TAG Gold. Kristy also runs our evening Senior Silver group, as well as working with the PM Junior Gold and Junior Bronze groups. Kristy has also been Head Coach of the Armfield Farm summer league team in Chantilly for six years running; in her first year there she managed to engineer a complete reversal of fortune for them, logging a 4-1 campaign in dual meet action after going 1-4 the previous summer. In her second year at AF the team went 5-1 and won the overall Division Championship. Since 2018, Kristy has also served as Head Coach for the Potomac Falls high school swim team; her squad there has broken several school records and sent a men’s & women’s team to the State Meet each year since her arrival.

Kristy has a Bachelor’s degree Public Relations & Journalism and a Master’s degree in Graphic Design. A Certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer, Kristy teaches Group Fitness Classes at both the Reston YMCA and Claude Moore Rec Center. Kristy enjoys teaching private swim lessons when she’s not at a weekend meet for SNOW. She is married with three children, all of whom have swum for SNOW. 

Alexandra N Bernabeu

Assistant Coach

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Coach Allie grew up in Loudoun County and began swimming at the age of nine for the ODSL Lenah Run Froggers.  Allie swam competitively for five years with SNOW Swimming and worked as a swim instructor for LetSwim, Inc. from 2010 to 2018.  Allie was the Assistant Coach for the Lenah Run Froggers for four years, and was affiliated with the Froggers for twelve years as either a competitor or coach. Allie graduated from James Madison University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in Intelligence Analysis.  After college she coached for one year with the Potomac Marlins and for the past two years has been the Assistant Swim Coach for John Champe High School.  This will be Allie’s second year with SNOW.  

Ivan Boyarskiy

Assistant Coach

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Coach Ivan first started coaching as a junior coach at Ida Lee's Eeliminators Summer Swim Team 7 years ago. Since then Ivan has become a Swim Instructor, Assistant Coach, Head Lifeguard, and most recently a Lifeguard Instructor at Ida Lee. Ivan loves teaching kids how to swim and has been with SNOW since the beginning of 2020. If you see him at a swim meet, you can always hear him over the crowd cheering on his swimmers. Ivan graduated George Mason University with a degree in Information Technology, and when he's not at the pool, he works as a software engineer.

Tanya Marie Chang

Assistant Coach

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Coach Tanya has been a SNOW parent since 2012 and began coaching for SNOW in 2017. She coaches for groups ranging from Olympic Way to Junior Silver.  She is certified as a Foundations of Coaching 201 coach and as an Aquatics Instructor at Ida Lee.  Tanya swam competitively starting in the sixth grade and in high school qualified for the Pennsylvania State Championships and YMCA Nationals.  In addition, she qualified for and medaled at Division III Nationals while swimming for the Johns Hopkins University.  She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. and completed graduate work at the George Washington University. She loves the sport of swimming and wants to pass on that enthusiasm and love of the sport to the younger swimmers. 

Shannon J Freeman

Assistant Coach

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Shannon has always loved the swimming community and the relationships that have grown from it.  Growing up in the Northern Virginia area, Shannon has always been a part of the swimming community, coaching at a variety of levels and teams.  When not poolside, she teaches Art in Loudoun County Public Schools, is a photographer and spends free time with her family.

Charles B Durazo

Recruiting Specialist/Substitute Coach

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Bryan grew up in Leesburg, VA and swam for SNOW Swimming from 1998 until he finished college. He has coached for SNOW in 2011 as a Junior Gold Coach and currently is a substitue coach and recruiting specialist. He has a degree in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University (2011). In high school, he swam competitively for Heritage High and was their first State Champion in 100 Breaststroke his senior year. He continued to swim for the Varsity men’s swim team at Duke University, making finals at his last ACC meet before graduating. At the Division I level, he learned the skills of dedication, hard work, and determination. He is knowledgeable about the pressures and time commitment of sports, recruiting and the college decision process. He currently is a tutor for Top Score EDU and the director of Top Score EDU Loudoun.

 

Daniel M Durazo

IT/Tech/Admin

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Danny has been involved with Snow from the very beginning - first as a swimmer, then as a coach, and now as back office support staff. After graduating from Heritage High School and the Loudoun County Academy of Science in 2009, Danny attended Drexel University in Philadelphia as a division I athlete. Danny returned home in 2014 after graduating and began to support Snow as both a coach and technical liason. This role developed further through the years and now includes administrative duties and new project initiatives. 

Teresa M Pliuskaitis

Owner, Financial and Admin

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Teresa started Snow Swimming in 1998 in Loudoun County. At the time there was a program at GMU and Falcon's Landing. The following year with the entire SR group graduating at the GMU site and the merger of Snow Swimming with Riptide Swimming, of Virginia Swimming in Leesburg, the team became a one site team until 2008 when Claude Moore opened up. When we expanded we were 180 swimmers and the next year we were at 325. Dulles South and Round Hill were added in 2018 and the rest is history! Teresa swam summer league and high school when she was younger and has always been involved in the aquatics industry. Teresa has four children Bryan, Danny, Stuart and Sam.