Fernando Canales - Head Coach
Coach Fernando is the Head Coach for Pitchfork Aquatics Club Team. Fernando brings a wealth of experience from his 30+ years of coaching at the collegiate level (University of Michigan, Colgate University and UC-Santa Cruz), as well as the club team level as Head Coach with the City of Richardson and Keller Swim Team in Texas where he developed a National High School Swimmer of the Year as well as numerous High School All America’s and Texas State Champions. Fernando served as High Performance coach with National Champion Club Wolverine in Michigan. In addition, Fernando coached with the French National Team during the FINA World Championships in 2013 as Olympic and World Champion Yannick Agnel’s personal coach and most recently as National Team Director and Head Coach with the Turkish Swimming Federation and the 2016 Puerto Rico Olympic swim team. He has held various administrative positions with NCAA, USA Swimming and UANA and as a FINA lecturer. August 2017 Fernando was appointed to the FINA Coaches Commission, which serves as the liaison between FINA and the coaches and athletes of all the water disciplines focusing on a positive environment and continued development of the sports. He is also fluent in 5 languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and English). Fernando has a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Michigan. He was a member of three Olympic Teams, was an NCAA All America at University of Michigan and at the top of his career he ranked among the world’s fastest sprinters.
Mona E. Nyheim-Canales - Head Age Group Coach
Coach Mona focuses on the development of all Pitchfork Aquatics swimmers. Mona, a native of Bergen, Norway, has coached for 25+ years at the collegiate level (University of Houston, University of Illinois, University of North Texas, Colgate University, and University of Michigan) and head age group coaching positions with Dallas Mustangs and City of Plano Swimmers. She was the Head Coach Denton City Aquatics in Texas as well as Head Senior Coach with the National Champion Club Wolverine in Michigan. She was recently the Director for High Performance in Istanbul for the Turkish Swimming Federation. Mona was awarded North Texas Age Group coach of the Year and ASCA Age Group coach of the year for Michigan. Her significant educational background includes a Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Psychology from University of Illinois, Masters of Physical Education/Exercise Science from University of Houston, and Business Economics and Marketing Bachelor degree from University of Arizona where she was a four year letter winner. Over the years Mona has developed and implemented various programs for student athletes as well as international clinics for coaches. She is a highly requested lecturer on the international circuit for both the International Olympic Committee and FINA and was a featured speaker at the 2016 FINA World Aquatic Convention in Windsor, Canada. Mona and Fernando have two sons, Francisco and Thor who are both multi-sport athletes.
Kendall Dawson - Assistant Coach
Kendall is a 2016 and 2021 Olympic Trials qualifier, qualifying in the 200 free, 400 free, and 800 free. She swam for 4 years at Arizona State University and was named a CSCAA All-American and CSAA Academic All-American. She graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors in 2020 with a degree in Biological Sciences. She swam with Pitchfork Aquatics during the 2020-2021 season. Kendall is originally from Orlando, Florida where she has experience coaching age group swimmers and giving swim lessons with her club team. She is now living in Tempe, Arizona where she enjoys hiking and exploring with her dog Dakota.