Coach Lauren was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She swam for Northern Lights Swim Club, West Anchorage High School Swimming & Diving Team, and University of Alaska Fairbanks; her first ever swim lesson took place in our home pool at the Anchorage Community YMCA. Her coaching career began in March of 2004, and she has spent time coaching every age and ability level including youth and adult lessons, developmental and competitive club swimming, adult masters swimming, and high school swimming & diving. She began coaching at the YMCA in 2010, she became head coach of the swim team program in 2015, and she became the YMCA’s aquatics director in 2016; she is also the head coach at West Anchorage High School. Coach Lauren is happy to give back at the pool where her own swimming career began, and she hopes to see the swimming lessons and swim team programs continue to grow and become more successful.
Juniors & Age Group
Coach Denise's swimming journey has come full circle; she also learned to swim at the YMCA! As a youth swimmer she participated in competitive swimming and synchronized swimming, as well as springboard diving. She competed with University Swim Club and Hillside Swim Club, she swam for Service High School, and in college she walked on to the swim team and had a successful four year collegiate career at St. Cloud State in Minnesota. Denise began coaching for the YMCA in 2015 and has worked with every age and ability level in our program. Currently she is the primary coach for Age Group and Juniors, and she leads the AM swims for our doubles kids as well. Denise is a vital piece of our puzzle here at the YMCA because she is steadfast, reliable, consistent, and motivating.
Gabby Pierce is a born and raised Alaskan girl, and a product of Alaska Swimming as well. She learned to swim with Coach Lauren at West High's SwimAmerica program and went on to swim competitively for both Aurora Swim Team and the Anchorage YMCA Swim Team before she graduated from high school. She also competed for West High Swimming & Diving and earned a varsity letter in that program during her senior season in 2015. Gabby is an enthusiastic and energetic coach who believes in the positive power of competitive swimming; she is a valuable asset to this program! Gabby is seeking a bachelor's degree in counseling psychology from Alaska Pacific University and is always willing to dedicate endless amounts of time to the swimmers in this program.
Leslie began swimming on a YMCA swim team in Eugene, OR. After moving to Alaska, she continued training and competing with two different clubs teams and as a Thunderbird at East Anchorage High School. Leslie swam for a competitive DIII college in the Midwest, excelling in distance events. Since returning home to Anchorage after college, Leslie has coached beginner swimmers on a local club team and with the masters swim team SWAM. Outside of the pool Leslie works with high school students in special education programs, helping students achieve success in the classroom. She also enjoys running and skiing on the trails around town and occasionally getting back into the pool. While working with novice swimmers, Leslie focuses on technique in all four strokes and encourages hard work, sportsmanship, and fun.
Colleen Hogan grew up in Ohio and began swimming at an early age; she has a special fondness for open water swimming, even in Alaska's chilly waters! She attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a degree in computer programming and robotics. Colleen arrived in Alaska in 1997 to find work in commercial fishing; after spending three summers here, they decided to stay and have been here ever since. They now own their own boat and make a living catching salmon in Alaskan waters. Colleen's family became involved with Alaska Swimming as a safety precaution for their young daughter; they spend so much time on the water, so she needed to learn how to swim! Those initial swimming lessons evolved into participation in competitive swimming for daughter Kayla Alvarado-Hogan who just completed her senior season at West High and who is an active member of the YMCA Swim Team as well. Colleen began coaching for the YMCA in January of 2017 and truly enjoys watching the children learn and grow through swimming and helping them celebrate their individual successes in this sport.