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Iowa YMCA Executive Committee


Donald Pirrie

Chair of Iowa YMCA Competitive Swimming 

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Originally from Scotland, Donald has been involved in coaching for over 20 years. His coaching background includes working as a development coach for grassroots & club swimmers, as well as coaching national and international athletes. Donald coached and directed 2 national education programs in the UK specifically targeting the country's most promising swimmers and advancing the skills of the coaches involved with those swimmers.

Donald is a USA and YMCA Level 3 certified coach and currently coaches with the MACR Sharks.  He is now in his 13th season with the team.  As a father to 2 young Y swimmers he is eager to continue to advance the quality and success of Iowa YMCA Swimming.


Jack Ver Helst

Iowa Competitive Swimming Committee Member

Jack VerHelst

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My name is Jack Ver Helst.   I am a member of the Iowa Competitive Swimming Executive Committee relating to the area of officiating.  I am a retired YMCA Aquatic Director and YMCA Age Group coach of more than 40 years.  I am an active YMCA Level #3 Swim Official, YMCA Swim Official Faculty/Trainer, and a High School Boys and Girls Swim Official.  I have officiated all levels of YMCA swimming ranging from dual meets to the YMCA Short and Long Course National Championships.  I have over 40 years as High School Swim Official working dual meets, regional/district, and state meets. I have also work some college swim meets. I am looking forward to working with the YMCA swim officials in the State of Iowa to help give our YMCA swimmers a learning and rewarding experience. 


Dee Norton

Iowa Competitive Swimming Committee Member

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My name is Dee Norton.   As I begin my twenty-seventh year associated with Iowa YMCA competitive swimming let’s look back and see how I arrived here.  I started in Guppies at our local YMCA in Elyria, Ohio, and from there progressed all the way through Porpoise Club, swimming competitively for the Y through high school.  In high school I also coached synchronized swimming and diving for the same Y.  I came to Iowa to finish college and taught swim classes and coached diving for a season for the Marshalltown YMCA.  Through the dive program I became involved in the competitive swim team as well.  Realizing the lack of certified officials’ instructors, I was able to travel back to Ohio and gain that certification as well.  I have two daughters, age twenty-four and twenty.  My oldest daughter swam both Y and high school swim teams racking up fifteen years on the Marshalltown Y swim team before she left for college.  She is now a level II certified official as well.  She has been married to a wonderful man, Drew Elliott, for almost three years and they just gave us our first grandson Alexander Jay.  I have been married for twenty-seven years to a wonderful man who has allowed me to be involved in competitive swim and been supportive of all the Saturdays and Sundays I’ve been gone over those years, I’m not a football widow he’s a swim team widower.  It is, and has been, my honor and privilege to serve the State of Iowa YMCA Competitive Swim program in any capacity needed.


Brenda Adrian

Iowa Competitive Swimming Committee Member

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My Name is Brenda Adrian and my life revolves around Y swimming; as I started out as a swimmer, to parent volunteer, to president of the swim board, and to coaching the Washington Water Sharks for currently 13 years. Furthermore, in the past 10 years, I volunteered to run the computer program for Iowa City West High school meets. My five children were all involved with Y, club, and high school swimming since the age of six. The last couple of years I have been very privileged to work with my oldest daughter, Brittanie, who helps coach the Washington Water Sharks. For many years, I have been a member of the Washington Community Y and remain a current member today. Not only am I the head coach for Washington Water Sharks, but I also do the following for our team; all technical work, I submit all meet entries; post results, on the team’s website; and officiate as a Level 2 with that I encourage parents to become an official. The greatest satisfaction of coaching is to watch each individual swimmer develop throughout their swimming career as they build confidence; not only in swimming, but mentally, and physically as well. One thing I’ve learned throughout my swimming career is how precious life is.


Sandy Holck

Iowa Competitive Swimming Committee Member

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My name is Sandy Holck and I have worked at the Spencer YMCA since 1996 teaching swim lessons and lifeguarding.  In the fall of 2000 I began coordinating the swim lessons and also coaching the 8 and unders YMCA Sailfish Swim Team program along with doing all the administrative work for the swim team. Before coaching I was involved as a parent volunteer as my daughter started swim team in first grade.  I enjoy teaching swimming lessons and seeing a child's face light up when they accomplish a new skill they have been working towards - whether it's getting their face wet, diving, or mastering the butterfly!  I also really enjoy coaching the Sailfish Swim Team - now called the Spencer YMCA Tigersharks - and watching the swimmers progress in strength and abilities through the season and even through the years.  Nothing is more exciting than a swimmer who reaches a goal they have been striving for all year!  It's not all about getting first place - it's all about getting YOUR best time!

I am excited to be on the Iowa YMCA Executive Swim Committee and look forward to meeting more coaches and helping to answer any questions anyone has over the course of the season.


Paul Brown

Iowa Competitive Swimming Committee Member

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Paul has been involved in competitive swimming for more than 40 years. As a youth he swam competitively in Ohio, Virginia, and California. He swam for high schools in both Virginia and California. After being away from the sport for a few years, he became involved with the masters swimming team in Cedar Rapids. He became Head Coach of the MACR Sharks in the fall of 1999. His goal is to not only help YMCA swimmers reach their potential in the water, but to also help YMCA swimmers become responsible and positive people in every aspect of their lives.

Favorite coaching quote: “The three most important elements to good swimming are technique, technique, and technique.”