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New FT Head Age Group Coach Announced

I am excited to announce that our new full time Head Age Group Coach will be Marissa Vallejo.  Marissa swam on the JETS when she was young and swam on the varsity swim team with her high school all four years.  Her coaching experience includes 3 years with the Joliet Park District and, most notably, working as our Lead Site Coach at the Avery YMCA for the past 2 years.  Marissa also serves on the Multi-Cultural Diversity Zones planning committee.

Over the past 2 years, Marissa has shown herself to be extremely reliable and consistent.  She has been professional and her philosophy meshes perfectly with our team.  Marissa cares strongly about the kids and she gets along great with her fellow coaches.  She brings a lot of enthusiasm and creativity to her role, and she is eager to take on more responsibility in this new full time role.  

Marissa will begin her role as Head Age Group Coach on April 17.  In order to maintain consistency, Marissa will continue to coach at the Avery YMCA and she will also have office space there in the membership office.  You will be able to reach Marissa via e-mail (, via her office line (815-782-0786) or by stopping in the office when she is there.  As she settles in, she will be able to provide a better idea of when her office hours will be.  Marissa's role will involve overseeing our 12&Under program and assisting with a consistent vision, progressive curriculum and providing a motivating and rewarding experience that builds relationships and confidence in kids.  

Marissa will report to the Director of Competitive Swimming, Dave Hedden.  Marissa and Dave will be working closely together to ensure the ultimate fulfillment of our team mission.  Marissa and Dave will both be making occasional site visits to the different branches to get to know the kids and parents and provide support as needed.  

In addition to Marissa, the rest of our coaching staff at Avery will include Alyssa Vallejo and, although we will be losing Montana Clasby this season, I'm happy to have McKenna Lukancic returning to our staff.  Coach McKenna will be assisting at Avery this season.

In the wake of Coach Dan Cempel's retirement, Beth Senese will be taking the lead for our Stunt Pilot and Mach 2 levels at Smith.  Beth has done a great job with those groups filling in for Coach Dan over the past couple seasons.  Molly Tobin will continue to coach the Glider 2 group, and she will also be taking on the Mach 1 group at Smith starting this season.  For some additional help at Smith, I have hired Trisha Covarrubia who is yet another JETS alumni who will be returning to the team to coach.

Coach Dave Hedden will continue to have his office space at the Smith YMCA and will continue to lead our Mach 3 and Moon Landers.

Our Galowich coaching staff will all return from last season.  Our Zeppelins and Gliders and Galowich will still be seeing Coach Kirsten, Karina and Carly Breitbarth.  Coach Kirsten Breitbarth will be our Lead Site Coach at Galowich and will be assisting with meet entries for those levels.  

In Morris, Coach Buffy Roach will continue to be our Lead Site Coach and we will also have Coach Shannon Hogan back in action.  I have also hired on Denise Pankey who will be bringing her extensive experience teaching swim lessons to help with our Flight School level in Morris.