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Coaches

AQUAJETS' COACHING STAFF

Aquajets' coaches are here to support your needs!
If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming-related needs, please contact your coaches. For all questions related to administrative, such as dues, safety or policy issues, please contact one of the board member

Blue

Kate Lundsten
Head Coach & Head Senior/National Groups Coach
Junior 3, Senior 2, National Team
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Kate joined the Aquajets Swim Team as Head Coach in 2004. In her current role, she is also
the Board Chair of Newjets, Inc., the non-profit parent organization of the Aquajets. Coach 
Kate swam competitively for 10 years and has been a USA Swimming coach for over 20 years. On multiple occasions, she has been selected as an assistant coach for the USA National and USA Junior National Teams. In fact, most recently, Coach Kate was named Head Women's Coach for Team USA at the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships.

Prior to her position at Aquajets, Kate was a 10-year head coach for the Eden Prairie High School Girls’ Swim Team—winning four state titles! Kate has been the recipient of numerous coaching awards including State High School Coach of the Year while at Eden Prairie high school. She is widely recognized as a superior stroke technician and encourages and promotes strong technique in practice. Her work has been featured by USA Swimming (click here). Swimmers under Kate's watch have achieved significant success—including state and national records, to Olympic Trial qualifiers and even an Olympic Gold medalist.

Kate swam in high school for Minnetonka where she was team captain,winner of multiple state championships and a Junior National qualifier. She attended college at Hamline University, where she earned a B.A. in Art. She was the captain of the Hamline Swim Team and a 24-time All-American, a Division III national champion and national record holder in the 200 backstroke. She also was the Division III national champion in the 100 backstroke and multiple relay teams. While in college, Kate was awarded the
 Hamline Top Athlete Senior Award.


Leah Foreman-Keiser
Assistant Head Coach

Junior 1, Junior 2, Senior 2
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Coach Leah joined the Aquajets’ coaching staff in September, 2010, as a developmental coach and co-head dryland coach while coaching high school swimming and working full-time in the corporate world. In September, 2016, she left the corporate grind and moved from the dryland gym to the pool deck full-time. She currently leads the Junior 2 and Senior 2 groups, in addition to serving as the team’s primary communications, events and marketing contact.

Leah swam competitively for 15 years—going way, way back to the mid-80s; she even swam for Coach Kate on the now-defunct Mach III Flyers. Leah was a club and high school state champion, and a Junior and Senior National qualifier in the breaststroke events. She earned Academic All-Big Ten honors as a member of the Penn State Women’s Swimming and Diving Team, and graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Kinesiology.

When she’s not coaching, Leah is likely in the weight room, obsessively following Nittany Lions sports, or spending time with her husband, Jeff, their goofy boxer, Dash, and elderly cat, Scooby.

 

Justin J McCarthy
Lead Blue Groups Coach
Bluesharks, Bluejets Bluelightning
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Justin is an accomplished swim coach who joined the Aquajets Swim Team in the spring of
2012. His passion for swimming started at a very young age and encompasses over 25 years
of competitive swimming experience. Through high school, college and U.S. Masters Swimming, Justin primarily swam distance freestyle events along with the 200 and 400 IM. His strong work ethic and versatility to swim any event was invaluable to his coaches and teams alike. 

As a young adult, Justin was head coach for his hometown swim club and taught swim lessons throughout his high school and college years. Before joining the Aquajets, Justin taught swim lessons at Foss Swim School; coached several years with U.S. Masters Swimming, as well as running a swim technique course for adult athletes. 
Over the years, Justin has adopted a formula that encapsulates his coaching philosophy, "Preparation + Opportunity = Success." In addition to his own personal swimming experiences, Justin's influences are not limited to the swimming community. He also draws from his past experience in the corporate world; his role as a stay-at-home dad; as well as multiple resources that highlight the power and resilience of the human mind, body and spirit. 

Justin graduated from St. John’s University earning a B.A. in Government. He worked at Carlson Marketing Group before starting a family and has been a stay-at-home dad for 15 years. He lives in Minnetonka with his lovely wife and three kids. 
 


Megan Hughes
Assistant Coach
Gold Groups
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Megan joined Aquajets as a coach in 2014. She explains that her path to coaching was almost inevitable…she was born into a swimming family, was in the pool by three months of age, and says she spent most of her time growing up in or near a body of water—from Minnesota to California. In fact, she jokes she could very well be an amphibian! “I absolutely love coaching kids and count it as one my greatest joys to watch kids grow as humans, as well as swimmers,” she explains.

In her early years, Megan swam for the Edina Swim Club and competed for Edina High School, where she co-captained the girls’ team. She was also an accomplished synchronized swimmer for Edina (note to swimmers: “sculling matters”!). True to form, she says she spent more time trying to make others laugh than actually listening to her coaches and the sets they were leading (again note to swimmers: don’t follow this lead!).

While majoring in English at the University of Kansas, Megan said she spent a good deal of time “fostering friendships” (she had a lot of luck on that front!) and “trying to be noticed by the swim coaches” (sadly, not much luck on this front!). But all ends well—she can claim a stint of collegiate swimming on her résumé thanks to a semester abroad—swimming for the University of Stirling, in Scotland (Did you know? The Scots take hot tubs after they swim). During her college years and through most of her 20s, Megan worked for Young Life and other Youth Ministries with her husband, Eric.
 
She has been a U.S. Masters (iSwim) swimmer since 2009 and says “I love swimming just as much today as I did at three months of age. In fact, my family still competes in Masters meets as a way to stay connected with each other—it’s a total joy!”

With the help of her dad, Megan taught her husband Eric to swim when he was 25 years old. She quips that her biggest success as a coach to date is teaching Eric to swim butterfly forward, not backwards. Megan and Eric have three kids and a deaf cat—who, by the way, absolutely LOVES to swim. No surprise there, eh?! 


Lisa A Wittmer

Head Dryland Coach
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Lisa joined the Aquajets coaching staff in the fall of 2011 as a dryland coach. She is excited about melding her passion for fitness with her love of working with kids. Her lifetime experience “cross-training” between multiple sports makes Lisa a big proponent of dryland training for swimmers! She hopes to help Aquajets' swimmers improve their athleticism and conditioning on land, so that they can unleash their potential in the water!

Lisa attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where she competed for the Women’s Track and Field Team and earned her degree in mathematics. At the U of I, Lisa competed in heptathlon and javelin, earning multiple individual and team championships in the Big Ten Conference, as well as setting school and Big Ten records. She received All-Big Ten and Academic All-American honors.

Lisa has a master’s degree in math and science education. She has taught children in Ithaca, NY, Nagano, Japan, and Nukuloa, Fiji. After being blessed with three daughters, Lisa found a new niche teaching children’s physical education and fitness classes—combining her passion for fitness and sports with her love of teaching, while allowing time to raise her girls.

Lisa enjoys cycling, swimming and running, and dabbles in triathlon when her family schedule allows. She is forever "a student of fitness and nutrition." She enjoys spending her free time with her husband and daughters.

 


David Hawker
Assistant Coach
Blue Groups, Senior, National
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David started coaching for Aquajets in 2015. A Wisconsin native, he began his swim career 
at the young age of 10 and graduated from Wausau East High School in 2007. David, an accomplished distance swimmer, capped off his senior year as Wisconsin state champion in the 500 Free—racking up both All-State and All-American designations along the way. Swimming runs deep in the Hawker family; his mom, Holli (also an Aquajets’ coach!), swam for Hamline University and his sister, Michal, swam for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. David chose to head west to Minnesota for college, swimming four years in the Big Ten for the UMN Golden Gophers—and, not surprisingly, was voted “hardest worker” by his teammates 

At Aquajets, David spends the bulk of his time on deck coaching Senior and National swimmers, and (quite appropriately) leads the team’s distance-training group. When he’s not coaching poolside, David enjoys anything out-of-doors and, of course, all Gopher sports.

A fun fact: Coach David’s known as the team’s resident water bottle-flipping guru!



Tiffany Shermak
Assistant Coach
Bluesharks, Junior 1, Junior 3
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Tiffany is in her third year of coaching with Aquajets and says she “loves connecting with the swimmers, meeting them where they're at and providing opportunity for progress.” She has coached competitive teams in both Arizona and Montana (where she grew up!), and prior to Aquajets, she had a 13-year tenure at Foss Swim School, working with a variety of ages. 

Like many, Tiffany began her swimming career as an age-group swimmer. She was a also a versatile and accomplished high school athlete—competing in track as an All-State sprinter, and playing volleyball. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy. When she’s not coaching poolside, Tiffany is a local CPA at a public accounting firm and lives in Bloomington with her husband and three kids. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family, running, playing volleyball and, of course, doing anything in and around water (including swimming, boating, tubing, and scuba diving, to name just a few)!
 

Holli J. Hawker
Assistant Coach
Blue Groups, Juniors, Senior 1 
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Holli joined the Aquajets in the fall of 2013, with years of experience to share. She swam competitively in Illinois and Montana for 11 years before joining fellow teammate, and now colleague, Kate Lundsten, at Hamline University. With a BA in psychology and an excellent
swim program, Holli obtained numerous awards including Academic All-American, 17
All-America certificates, Team Captain, and Outstanding Senior Athlete.

Holli started coaching in 1985 in Minnesota before moving to Wisconsin in 1996, where she was instrumental in the development of a year-round USA swimming program that produced many State, Zones, National and Olympic Trials athletes.

Holli has six kids, five of whom swim/swam competitively. The youngest, Maddie, is a current Aquajets' swimmer. When she’s not on the pool deck, Holli enjoys spending time with her family, running, reading, and playing outside, especially with her not-at-all tiny Newfoundland! She’s thrilled to be a part of a very special team.



Samantha Wicks
Assistant Coach
Blue Groups, Junior 1
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Samantha joined Aquajets as a developmental coach in the spring of 2016 following an accomplished collegiate swimming career at Boise State University. Samantha, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, was a multiple-event Mountain West Conference champion, three-time
NCAA qualifier, and competed in the 100m backstroke at the 2016 Olympic Trials. She
graduated with degrees in Health Science and Spanish, and a minor in Psychology. While in school she also spent a semester in Costa Rica to improve her Spanish skills. 

Samantha moved east to Minnesota to continue her graduate studies and is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program at the University of Minnesota. She has been coaching a variety of age groups on and off for five years while in school. 

When she’s not on deck or in the classroom, Sam loves to watch movies and spend time outdoors. 



Courtney Silva
Assistant Coach
Bluesharks, Junior 1
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Courtney is one of the newer additions to the Aquajets' coaching staff, joining the team as a developmental coach in the fall of 2017. A native of Seattle, Washington, she moved east to Minnesota in 2007—graduating from Minnetonka High School in 2011. She was a multiple-event USA Swimming State Championship qualifier, and both Zones and Speedo Sectionals qualifier swimming for Foxjets.
 
She continued to swim on the collegiate level after receiving an athletic-scholarship to Southern Connecticut State University. There, she was a Northeast-10 Conference Top-8 Finisher all four years, a 3-time Top-3 Conference Finalist, and on Southern's honorable mention academic success list all four years. She graduated in December of 2015 with degrees in Journalism, Mass Communications Video Production, and Photography. She moved back to Minnesota in January 2016, where she started her American Sign Language and Deaf Studies Certification—receiving her degree in May of 2017.
 
Courtney continues to swim to this day—through U.S. Masters Swimming—and is a 3-time National Champion in the butterfly, breaststroke and IM. When not on deck, she loves to spend time with her family, go to the theater, and attend sporting events and concerts. “I absolutely love working with developmental swimmers, and look forward to my new adventure with Aquajets,” she exclaims.
 
 


Eric Strobel
Assistant Coach
Junior 2
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Eric began coaching with Aquajets in 2015 and works primarily with Junior 2s. He swam competitively for 16 years—specializing in butterfly and IM. He attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he served as captain for both the swim team and the water polo team. Eric earned his undergrad degree in political science and history at UMD and a law degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Susan, and has two college-aged sons, Jack and Tyler. Eric is also professional scuba diver and holds a Divemaster certification.

 


Chris Aarseth

Assistant Coach
Blue Groups, Junior 2

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Chris Aarseth has been coaching for over 20 years and is extremely excited to bring his love
for swimming to Aquajets. In addition to his coaching duties at Aquajets, he is currently the head coach for the Boys and Girls swim team at Minneapolis Southwest High School. During
his tenure at Southwest, the team has won two section championships and has been named runners-up six times. He is an eight-time Section “Coach of the Year” and was awarded MSHSL Class AA Girl’s “Coach of the Year” in 2016. Chris says he feels incredibly lucky to be surrounded
by so many great families who have fantastic kids who happen to enjoy the sport of swimming almost as much as he does. He and his wife Shelby have two girls who swim for Aquajets, Caitlin and Olivia. Chris says he enjoys teaching kids how to become “better, faster swimmers through the influence of purpose, persistence and passion.” Go Aquajets!!!


Jean Johnson
Assistant Coach
Junior 3
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Jean returned to the Aquajets Swim Team post-college in September 2011, as a coach, after swimming for the team throughout her high school years. She was one of the first members of Aquajets in 2003.

Jean swam competitively for 13 years, including four years on Aquajets under Coach Kate. After a successful high school career at Eden Prairie and with Aquajets, Jean went on to swim for two years at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. As a swimmer, Jean was known for her abilities in the IM and 200 free, and she uses her experiences to encourage every swimmer to be well rounded across all events. Her trademark in high school was being the only swimmer on the team to swim every event at least once each season. After two years of collegiate swimming, she found herself being called to towel off and embrace the dry side of the sport as a coach. She spent her remaining two years at Calvin coaching both a high school and club team.

Jean graduated from Calvin with a B.A. in International Relations and Economics. She now works as a business and data analyst for Donaldson Company Inc. in Bloomington. Jean and her husband, Andrew, live in Plymouth with their cat, Teddy. When not working or coaching, she enjoys anything related to hockey or baseball, being outside, and planning her next vacation.

 



Jon Sundal
Assistant Coach
Junior 3
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Coach Jon joined the Aquajets coaching staff in the fall of 2012, coaching a few times a week. Jon began swimming competitively at the age of seven. He swam in college, coached age group swimming from 1991 to 1996, and currently swims with the Masters group at the Aquajets' pool.
 
Jon graduated with a B.S. from Saint Olaf College in 1990 and from the University of MN with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree in 2001. He is currently employed as an emergency veterinarian. Jon and his wife Deb have two children, Caroline and Eloise who both swim for Aquajets.

Jon believes great swimming comes down to three things: good sportsmanship, good attitude and best effort! Go Aquajets!



Jen Williams
Assistant Dryland Coach

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Jen joined the coaching staff at Aquajets in the fall of 2015 as an assistant dryland coach. She has been coaching conditioning and fitness classes in some capacity since 1991—working with individuals between the ages of 7 and 85 sharing her love and passion for health. Jen competed year-round in athletics through high school in cross country running and softball and then continued at the team level in softball, until she was 8 months pregnant with her first daughter. It was after that that she began coaching youth sports while continuing her personal quest for
health and fitness.

This past year Jen, has been studying integrative nutrition and health coaching to combine her passions of fitness and nutrition in hopes to help others live a healthier and happier life. Jen LOVES the coaching and when not in the dryland room or working with a client, Jen enjoys spending time with her husband Brad and two daughters, who are also part of the Aquajets’ family, Morgan and Taylor.


Lisa Mathieu Warshaw
Assistant Dryland Coach

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Lisa joined Aquajets in 2015 and works both on deck and in the dryland room with the Blue, Junior, Senior, and National groups. She has been swimming since before she can remember and has done everything in the swimming industry from lifeguarding to coaching. She is a big proponent of beginning the habits of well-rounded fitness and nutrition at a young age and bans the word "can't" from those who work in the gym or pool with her. Many kids know about the natural-sugar diet she follows and her "rawsome" treats. She readily shares her creative recipes with any kids and families who are looking for deliciously healthy, sweet alternatives to the sugar-laden foods of our culture.

Since middle school, Lisa has been a competitor in some sport, including track, swimming, dance, biking, downhill skiing, marathons, and triathlons. Prior to starting a family, she earned a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Minnesota and an M.S. in International Affairs from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She worked as a writer, translator, and communications director for the medical and software industries but continued coaching and training on the side in some capacity. She currently runs her own personal training business and works as an alpine race coach and ski patroller in the winter, all of which allow her to spend lots of time swimming, skiing, rock climbing, traveling, and playing in the great outdoors with her two kids (and former Aquajets), Mathieu and Caitlin, hubby Lane, and pooch, Marlowe.

 

Laura Templin
Assistant Coach
Junior 3

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Laura grew up swimming competitively in Indiana; she is a 2-time state champion in the
100 BR and was inducted into the Indiana Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame in 2015. She went on to graduate from Auburn University with a degree in Industrial Design—winning three NCAA Championships, one American Record and racking up 11 (Yes, 11!) All-American designations along the way. She confesses her family is “slightly swimming-obsessed.” She says, “My mother and brother are also swim coaches and I'm so proud to have this bond in my family!”

Laura has three kids with her husband, Art. Her oldest child joined Aquajets just this season—as a Goldsharks 1—to continue that family-swimming tradition!

Philip Nielsen
Assistant Coach
Senior 2, National
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Coach Philip joined the Aquajets in 2004 after spending four years as the assistant head coach for a Minneapolis-based swim club. Philip swam competitively for 15 years achieving success at all levels. He was a Junior National qualifier; Top 16 qualifier; multi-year state champion in the breaststroke, butterfly and individual medley events; and an NCAA qualifier in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. Philip refined his swimming and coaching skills under the direction of several Olympic coaches and he has applied these skills, helping multiple swimmers achieve top national rankings in the breaststroke and butterfly.

Phillip attended the acclaimed college preparatory school, the Bolles School (Jacksonville, Florida) and graduating from St. John’s University where he earned a B.A in Peace Studies. Coach Phillip brings a high level of energy to the team.

Courtney Carry
Assistant Coach
Blue Groups, Junior 1, Senior 1
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Coach Courtney has been a member of the Aquajets’ coaching staff since 2006 (with just a
brief absence in the middle). She grew up swimming in Minnesota and says, “I even began my swimming career with Coach Kate!” Courtney swam through high school and college, and says that’s where she learned that her “true passion for the sport lies in coaching.” Her favorite part
of the job, she says, is seeing a swimmer master a concept. You’ll find Coach Courtney on deck on Saturday mornings
!


Megan Hawker
Assistant Coach
Junior 3, Senior 2, National
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Coach Megan began swimming at the young age of five and has lived in Minnesota her entire life. She graduated from Edina High School in 2007 and was a 10-time High School State Champion and former All-Time State record holder in the 200 Free. She continued her swimming career at the collegiate level (at the University of Minnesota) from 2007-2011, and it is here that she met her husband, David. At the U, Megan was a 3-time NCAA Qualifier, Big Ten Champion (200 Fly), 5-time All-American, school record holder (100/200 Fly), and recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award (Whew!). As an undergrad, she studied Child Psychology, and then went on to attend graduate school at the U—earning a Master's of Education in Applied Kinesiology.
 
In addition to her current coaching duties at Aquajets (alongside her husband David and mother-in-law Holli), Coach Megan is also the Head Coach of Chaska/Chanhassen High School Swim/Dive
teams, and has previously spent summers coaching at Edina Country Club. She also teaches Health/Sports Exercise Science at Patrick Henry High School in North Minneapolis. 

In her spare time, Coach Megan says she loves traveling and exploring new places—especially National Parks!


Bob Garnaas
Assistant Coach
Blue Groups, Junior 1 
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Coach Bob swam both club and High School at Hopkins for the iconic Bob Johnson (MN Swimming Hall of Famer!). He was a 5-time State High School Champion, held three State records (the 200 and 400 free—yep, that’s not a typo—the 400 free!), and two Team State Titles. He swam for the University of Minnesota, served as Captain, and graduated with a BA in Communications. He’s been a Masters swimmer for 15 years, and currently swims with iSwim at the Aquajets’ pool where he has learned in swimming to "love the journey and let the destination take care of itself!”

Bob has had numerous coaching stints (assistant through head coach) across the Twin Cities—including: the Hopkins Swim Club, University of Minnesota (Assistant Coach to Bud Ericksen), Head Coach at both Bloomington Aquatic Club, and Edina Swim Club and Southwest High School (as the “assistant-to-the-assistant,” working for, he says, "the amazing Chris Aarseth").

Coach Bob has been married to his wife Janet for 38 years; they have three kids and have had three Golden Retrievers. And, they have lived in Eden Prairie for nearly three decades. Coach Bob says he loves "Gopher football and basketball, fly-fishing, hiking, cooking and reading!"