Coaching Staff

Riptide is currently hiring Assistant Coaches.  Below is the job posting announcement and the link to apply directly to Dowling Catholic High School. Contact Riptide board President, Kristin Wilcox for job descriptions and questions:


DCHS Employment Opportunities


Head Coach Ethan Johnston ~

Ethan has been involved in swimming in the Des Moines area for over 20 years. Beginning his
swimming career with the South Suburban YMCA and then Des Moines Aquatics Club (now
DMSF) and Lincoln High School. His coaching experience started at Echo Valley Country Club
in the early 1990s. Since that time Ethan has been an assistant coach at Central Iowa Aquatics,
head coach with the Ankeny YMCA Aquahawks, head coach at Echo Valley Country Club, an
assistant coach at DMSF and, most importantly, assistant coach for the Dowling Catholic high
school boy's swim team.

Ethan is an active member of the Des Moines water polo club and still swims whenever he can
find time to get in the pool.

Ethan' s Favorite Event To Swim: is the 25 freestyle.
Ethan's Favorite Events To Coach: are 200-1650 freestyle because he enjoys the strategy.

Ethan is very excited to build on the current success of the Dowling Catholic Riptide and hopes
the club can help Dowling Catholic keep up their great tradition as a high school swimming

Coach Anthony Jazz Abreu

Coach Jazz has been with Riptide since the spring of 2017 as our strength and conditioning dry land coach for the Age Group Plus and Performance training groups. He has been coaching since 2015.  Jazz’s background includes working directly with the football team’s defensive line and as a grad assistant strength and conditioning coach at Graceland University as well as personal training at the Wellmark YMCA in downtown Des Moines.

Jazz’s personal athletic background is extensive with 8 years on the football field during his time at Miami Springs Senior High School and Graceland University. In high school, Jazz threw shot put and discus on the track & field team. His senior year in college, Jazz earned the Coaches Choice Award for Team Player of the Year.

Jazz’s favorite event: 100 Free

Jazz’s favorite quote: “Hard Work Beats Talent, When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard”

Jazz graduated from Graceland University with a BS in Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement.  He also holds a NASM-PES (National Academy of Sports Medicine-Performance Enhancement Specialist) personal training certification. In his spare time you can find Jazz bowling, listening to music, cooking and working out with plyo, speed & agility exercises and Olympic lifting.  He enjoys spending time with his pugle (half pug and half beagle) Starr and his girlfriend Brooke.


Coach Mario Fenu

Mario has been a part of the Riptide staff since the spring of 2017. He brings his joy of the sport from when he was a swimmer to the pool deck.  Mario started off his swimming career with the North Side Otters as a 6&under. During his age group years, he trained under 3-time gold-medalist Mike Burton at the club team formally called DMAC (DMSF) here in town with his teammates Coach Ethan and Coach Frankie. Mario also had a short stint swimming for DCHS and was involved in hockey, soccer, golf and snow skiing as a kid. Today, Mario enjoys time with his wife Katie and son Marco, cooking, hot rods, hiking, tinkering in his garage, and endurance events.

Biggest pet peeve: Complacency. Mario believes challenging yourself throughout life to always think better, do better, and be better.

Favorite quote: Fall down seven times, get up eight.  

Mario’s Favorite Events: 100 breast stroke and the 200 IM

Mario completed his business undergrad at Grand View College and his received his law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, CA, thereafter taking the Illinois and Nevada bar exams, where he is licensed to practice law.  


Coach Brianna Fujan

Coach Brianna joined the Riptide coaching staff the summer of 2017.  She brings to the team over 15 years of swimming experience with two of those years as a coach. Brianna’s career started at the age of five when she swam for the Rochester Swim Club Orcas in Rochester, Minnesota. During her middle and high school years, she competed in Zones and Junior Nationals. During college, she competed all four years at Miami University of Ohio with her specialties being the 100 back, 200 back and 400 IM. During her junior year at Miami, she swam for the conference team that won the MAC Championships.

Brianna’s favorite events: 100 back and the 400 IM when shaved, tapered and tech suited.

Brianna graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a major in Communications and a minor in Interactive Media Studies.  She currently is working on her masters in Elementary Education at Drake University. In her spare time, Brianna enjoys teaching/taking yoga classes, playing with her puppy, and competing in sprint triathlons.


Coach Trudy Hancock

Trudy has been coaching swim teams for 3 years.  In that time she has coached the United Swim club and has been with the Riptide for 2 years.  She grew up swimming for DASH, Dubuque Wahlert, Northern Arizona and Iowa State.

Trudy’s favorite events include the 200 Fly, 100 Fly and the 200 IM.  Her achievements in these events are many and include that she was the Big Sky Conference champion in the 200 fly, she was a Junior Nationals qualifier, swam Iowa zones.  She was Iowa High School state champion in the 100 fly and the 200 medley relay.  Trudy has held Wahlert High school records in the 200 IM, 200 free, 500 free, 100 Fly and the 200 medley relay.

Trudy enjoys being with the kids and seeing them improve their stroke technique.  Part of coaching that she enjoys is having fun with the kids.  This year she hopes that everyone will streamline and improve their flipturns.

Trudy’s most memorable swim experience was three years ago. She was asked to go back to her high school and meet the team. A swimmer broke one of her high school records and wanted to meet Trudy. Trudy said it was awesome because the girl who broke her record told her that she looked at the record board and it motivated her to get through those really hard practices.   It is also fun that she was able to see that some of her records still stand.


Coach Megan Lilly

Megan began swimming at the age of nine for Riptide. She continued swimming for Riptide throughout her high school swimming career. She was a three time state qualifier for Dowling Catholic in the 100 butterfly, and she lettered all four years of her high school career. 

Megan’s Favorite Events: 100 butterfly and 200 backstroke.

Megan’s most memorable swimming experience was winning regionals her senior season at Dowling Catholic. She is excited to begin coaching at Riptide and getting to know all of the swimmers. She is also excited to be able to stay active in the sport of swimming.


Coach Ann Peterson

Ann began working with swimmers when she was a sophomore at Dowling.  After swimming at Wakonda Country Club and lettering at Dowling her freshman year she realized she preferred teaching others to swim over competing.  Ann has taught all ages from baby and me classes to adult learn to swim.  She even worked with her husband to train for triathlons.  Ann recently worked with the Dowling summer swimming program in 2015 and is excited to see some of those swimmers now competing for Riptide. 

Ann is always ready to hop in and work with kids, especially her own.  She has coached her stepdaughter's basketball team for the past two years and worked as the minister to children and families at their last church.  She enjoys working to develop skills in young kids and watching the lightbulb turn on.  Her favorite quote is by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "Instruction does much, but encouragement does everything."  It reminds her that being a coach is just as much about the person as it is about the skills.

Ann's Favorite Events: 50 free, but enjoys watching butterfly.

Ann's most memorable swimming moment came while teaching her niece and stepdaughter the butterfly. She was trying to get them to use their hips more and to teach rhythm and it became a song.  In the Peterson house the butterfly is still often referred to as "Booty, booty, butterfly!"



Coach Patty Spahr

Patty’s love of swimming started as a kid during backyard swim lessons and country club swim team. A Bettendorf native, Patty joined her first club team at 7-years old and swam for a variety of QC teams – Pleasant Valley Stingrays, Bettendorf Dolphins, & BPVA.  Patty went on to swim for Bettendorf High School before completing her competitive swimming career at Division 1 Boston College. Patty was a 4-time ACC Championships participant and a BC record holder in the 400-free relay.

Patty’s favorite events: 100 & 200 free

Patty spent many teenage summers lifeguarding and managing swim lesson programs in the Quad Cities.  After graduation, she spent several months coaching Intro kids at BPVA before relocating to Des Moines in 2012.  Patty attributes her work ethic to the sport of swimming and the dedicated coaches and teammates she had during her career.  She is thrilled to be back at the pool with the Riptide team and cannot wait to see all the improvement that is to come!


Coach Jennifer Van Meter

Jennifer joined the Riptide staff at the end of 2016 and brings over 30 years of teaching and coaching experience. Her background includes being an ASCA Level 2 coach, an American Red Cross Instructor for WSI and CPR&1st aid, managing learn to swim programs and seven years coaching club swimming with CIA.

Jennifer’s Favorite Events: 200 backstroke and the IMs!

When Jenn is not at the pool, you can find her on her road bike named Deliah.  Together they have a tradition of traveling the miles across the state doing RAGBRAI. Coach Jenn loves the water and is excited to be deck sharing her passion for the sport with the Riptide team!


Coach Katie Wainwright (Intro Training Group)

Katie has been coaching swim teams for over 20 years.  During this time she coached a couple of different high school teams, including 8 years as the assistant coach and one year as head coach of the Dowling Catholic girls team.  In 2003, Katie was selected as the regional coach of the year when she was head coach of the Dowling girls team.

Growing up, Katie swam for Dave Linder at both DMG&CC and an AAU team called The Steelers. In high school (at Dowling) she swam for Linda Burton and then Mark Crouch. She feels lucky to have been taught and trained by each of these exceptional coaches.

Katie's Favorite Events: 200 IM and 100 Free.

Katie's favorite thing about coaching is celebrating successes with swimmers! "I love to see swimmers beam with pride in their accomplishments, especially when their experience on the team has helped them understand and appreciate all the variables involved in their success. I love it when kids start to see the connection between listening, learning, working and succeeding. To me, this is the primary goal of any youth program, and I love being part of this process!" Katie's goal for this year is to add a lip sync/dance contest to the end of the season banquet so the Intro group can show the other groups HOW IT IS DONE!

Katie's favorite Riptide experience is playing "pool Tenzi" with her Intro group over Christmas break each year.