Instructor Bios

SHELLEY TWIGG (OWNER) - I grew up in West Des Moines and swam for Valley High School where I was a varsity letter winner and state qualifier.  Swimming was a huge part of my life and I developed a deep love for the sport during my high school years. After making the difficult decision not to swim at the college level I went to Northwestern College where I played soccer and double majored in elementary education and secondary education (Health and PE) and also received my coaching endorsement.  After graduating I moved back to West Des Moines and starting my teaching and coaching career in the Waukee School District along with volunteering my time with the Urbandale Sharks Swim Team.  I taught health and PE for 5 years and 4th grade for 3 years and was the assistant soccer coach for the Waukee Girls until 2009 when I decided to stay home with our girls. I had the amazing opportunity to start my own swim club in Johnston (Johnston Blaze). Year one we had 30 kids and by year 3 we were one of the biggest clubs in the entire metro area with upwards of 250 kids on the team.   I coached for Blaze until the Waukee YMCA was built in 2010 and then became the head coach of the Waukee YMCA Rays and also the Waukee High School girls swim team.  My husband teaches social studies at Waukee HIgh School and is the assistant varsity baseball coach.  We have 3 girls Emma (9), Lily (7), and Maya (5).  Ben and  I have been teaching/coaching youth for the past 15 years and we are so excited to be able to bring our passion to our home with Twigg Swimming Academy.   We are so excited to be able to provide a place where kids can learn water safety and improve their swimming skills in a positive, caring, and fun environment.

PEGGY TIPPIN -  I've been teaching swim lessons since I was 16 years old - not telling how many years that is!? ( a long time!!).  Growing up my dad was a Y director, so I learned to swim at a young age and swam competitively until high school.  My high school did not have a swim team so I started teaching and lifeguarding.  I graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Recreation Administration and was a Recreation Director in a small town in Kansas before moving the family to Iowa.  My husband and I have 1 son and 2 daughters.  Both girls swam in high school and one of them swam 4 years in college.  I work for Waukee Schools, have helped coach/teach at the Y for 20 years, and also teach swim lessons at Childserve for special needs children.  I love working with all ages and levels and get so much joy making a positive impact in the pool!

 
HEATHER BRITTENHAM -  I grew up on the lake as a child and was a competitive swimmer in my hometown.  I have been a swim instructor, swim instructor/lifeguard supervisor, and swim lesson coordinator for the last 3 summers.  I have worked with babies ages 6 months all the way up to 12 year olds, with abilities ranging from first-time swimmers to advanced swimmers.  I love helping children gain confidence in the water and watching as their skills grow!  During the school year I work for Waukee Community School District in Preschool.  My husband and I have 2 amazing children ages 3 and 7.  Summer is my favorite season and we generally spend most of our time enjoying the outdoors!!
 
BRYAN ROWLAND - I was raised in West Des Moines and swam for Valley High School.  I continued my swimming career at the University of Iowa where my favorite events were the 50 and 100 freestyle.  I spent 6 summers in high school and college lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons at Des Moines Golf & Country Club.  After college I moved to Minneapolis and worked for Wells Fargo while teaching swim lessons to adults at Lifetime Fitness.  I moved back to the Des Moines area in January 2012 to work as a commercial and residential lender at a community bank in West Des Moines.  During that time I was  and assistant coach for the Dowling Catholic boys swim team for two years.  I currently live in the Spyglass neighborhood in Waukee with my wife and two daughters ages 2 and 4.  Most of my very close friends to this day are people I swam with in high school or college and hope my involvement in the sport can help others achieve similar relationships.
 
EMMA GERDIS -  I have swam competitively for most of my life.  Starting with the Walnut Creek YMCA, Waukee YMCA Rays, and then Waukee High School.  I was a varsity letter winner all 4 years in high school.  I am currently attending Simpson College where I am a member of  their swim team.   I received a varsity letter my freshman year. I’ve taught swim lessons ever since I was 15 at the Waukee YMCA. In my free time I like to hang out with friends and family, and spend time outside. I also love to do volunteer work for many different organizations. I love working with kids and hope to do some sort of work with people when I graduate!
 
KAYLA RINDERKNECHT -  I have been swimming since I was 6 years old and it is a huge passion of mine. I will be a junior and am on the Waukee High School swim team. I also swim for a Central Iowa Aquatics year round. I have been a varsity letter winner and state qualifier my freshman and sophomore years. I love working with kids, and I have been a volunteer coach/helper for the Waukee YMCA Rays. I'm also lifeguarding and CPR certified. I love spending time with friends and family, and I also love spending time outdoors in the summer!! 
 
KAYTLIN TIPPIN - I recently graduated from Truman State University. I will be attending the University of Nebraska to pursue my Master's degree in speech language pathology starting this fall! I started swimming competitively when I was 6 years old and continued throughout high school. I was honored to be one of the first team captains of the Waukee High School swim team!  I was a varsity letter winner and state qualifier all 4 years.  I've taught swim lessons since I was 14 and helped coach the Waukee Rays YMCA swim team whenever I was home for breaks throughout college. I have a lot of experiences working with people, including the past two summers when I have been on staff at Camp Barnabas, a church camp for children and adults with special needs. In my free time I love to laugh, hike, and pretend like I know how to craft.

EMMA GEORGEFF - I swam competitively from the time I was 10 years old through my senior year of high school. I was a varsity letter winner all 4 years in high school and was a state qualifier 2 of those years. Currently, I am pursuing a degree in Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University. I swim for the ISU club team, lifeguard at the Waukee YMCA, and teach swim lessons in Urbandale in addition to Twigg Swimming Academy. I also am an instructor for school-age kids at Mathnasium. I have lots of experience with kids and LOVE helping them learn and grow! Some of my interests include relaxing outdoors, drawing, playing music, and fishing.