New Assistant Coaches on HLA

New Assistant Coaches on HLA:

Marko Nikolic

Hello, my name is Marko Nikolic. Originally, I was born in Eastern Europe in former Yugoslavia, which is composed of several countries now.  When I was young, I played a sport called water polo in Serbia, which was the beginning of my love affair with aquatics. In 1997, when I was ten years old, we moved to Lincoln and shortly after I joined the YMCA Dolphin swim team at the Northeast YMCA.  I attended Northeast High School and swam for the Rockets all four years.  I got the honor to be coached by Ed Muller and Kyle Hunt, two exceptional coaches and men at Northeast HS.  Ever since I was little, I have always enjoyed swimming and water, and my parents state that I learned to swim at only 3 years old.  After high school, I was recruited by James Graham at Santa Rosa JC in Santa Rosa to play water polo and swim.  For Santa Rosa JC we won Big 8 Conference of California Junior College league and also won the NorCal Championships with the water polo team my freshman year.  In my sophomore year, at Santa Rosa JC we got third place at the California State Championships in Water Polo while winning the Big 8 championship in swimming.  All through high school and college, I usually swam 50 and 100 meter free style along with 100 meter butterfly.   While swimming at Santa Rosa JC, I was coached by Jill McCormick, one of the most decorated Junior College Swimming coaches in the nation and coached Maya DiRado at the last Olympics where she won four medals, one being gold in 200 meter Backstroke.   I have always had a passion for teaching and brining that enjoyment of aquatics to other people.  My goal is not only to bring knowledge to these kids just in regards to swimming, but also help them out become better human beings.  Currently I am attending graduate studies at the University of Nebraska for History and my dream is to teach History at a collegiate level along with coaching swimming.  Swimming has had an enormous impact for me and I believe my passion for swimming can help future kids achieve their goals in swimming and in life.


Marko will be working as our primary Assistant to the Thundersharks group. Let’s welcome Coach Marko!

Sam Trofholz 

Sam started his swimming career in 5th grade with the Columbus YMCA Swim team. His passion for the sport grew over the years, which led Sam to compete in High School at Columbus High. Sam was a four-year athletic letter recipient in swimming, and he also competed in tennis and track & field. The Columbus Discoverer competed in the Nebraska State Championship Meet all four years of high school, and earned four medals at the Meet, during his senior year. Sam also holds two school records in the 100 Backstroke and in the 200 Medley Relay. Sam’s high school coach, Kari Weihl, pushed Sam to become a better athlete and leader, and encouraged him to swim collegiately.

After graduating from Columbus High in 2016, Sam decided to swim for Nebraska Wesleyan University, under Greg Fleming. Sam is a Global Studies Major, and will graduate in 2020. During his first two years at Nebraska Wesleyan, Coach Fleming pushed Sam to continue to work hard and to achieve his goals. Sam competed in the Liberal Arts Championship Meet during his Freshman and Sophomore years, where he earned several medals and school records in the 100 Backstroke, and in multiple relays. Coach Fleming continues to develop Sam’s technique and knowledge of the sport. Sam looks forward to what the next season holds.

Sam’s coaching career began in summer 2017 where he helped his High School coach with a swim clinic a few days a week. Sam also organized the Columbus High Alumni Swim Meet during the 2017 summer, and hopes it becomes lasting tradition. Sam enrolled in a Swim Coaching course taught by Greg Fleming during his Sophomore year at Wesleyan. Fleming taught Sam about the art of swimming, and furthered his understanding of the sport, and what it means to be a coach. Sam is thrilled to have the opportunity to coach for HLA, to learn from the other coaches, and to have a positive impact on the athletes’ swimming careers.


-Sam Trofholz Assistant Coach for Age Group Swimmers. Let’s welcome Coach Sam T.