WELCOME TO THE NORWIN AQUA CLUB

Coaches

Coaching Staff
Neil Jones Head Coach

Coach Jones was hired as Norwin Aqua Club's Head Coach in 2001. We are proud to be celebrating his 20 years of service to the club this year. His dedication and commitment to the team has been much appreciated. During his time with the club, Coach Jones has coached novice swimmers in the Aqua Club's Learn-to-Swim program, swimmers who have gone on to swim in the Olympic trials, and everyone in between. Coach Jones' own swim career includes being a four time WPIAL Swimming Championships qualifier as a member of the McKeesport Area High School swim team. His strengths in freestyle sprint and backstroke events allowed him to continue swimming at Grove City College. He swam two years with their college team before retiring to focus on his academic pursuits.

Some of Coach Jones' career highlights include:

  • 1986-1988 - Life Support Coordinator at the Center for Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh
  • 1988-2008 - Director of Prehospital and Emergency Care Services at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • 2009-current - Professor at Community College of Allegheny County where he has taught various medical courses throughout his career
  • He is a nationally registered Paramedic and is licensed in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. He was a flight Paramedic with Stat MedEvac
  • He is an American Red Cross LifeGuard Instructor Trainer
  • He is certified by the American Heart Association and instructs Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support programs

Coach Jones began his coaching career in 1983 as an Assistant Coach at McKeesport Area High School. He was the team's Head Coach from 1984-2000.  He was also the Head Coach of the McKeesport Area Swim Team from 1983-1988. He has been a USA Swimming Certified Coach since 2001, and he coaches our current NAC swimmers in their Allegheny Mountain Swimming division. Coach Jones enjoys the sport of swimming, but more importantly the excitement of the swimmers. Whether it be the upper level swimmer qualifying for a Zones, Sectional or Futures meet, a swimmer achieving a new time standard or the brand new swimmer competing in their first meet. The smile of accomplishment on that swimmer's face is what has driven Coach Jones throughout his coaching career. Coach Jones doesn't expect perfection from the swimmers he has coached, but does expect them to give their best effort at every conditioning session, practice, and swim meet. He believes success is not measured solely by the number of 1st place ribbons or medals, wins vs. losses, or championships won, but by the life lessons learned each and every day on that road to those successes. 

Isabella Condie Coach

Coach Isabella began her swiming career with Norwin Aqua Club at the age of 10 years old. She continued to swim in high school for Hempfield's Varsity team. During her junior year, she began diving and finished out her senior year swimming and diving. While in college, her passion for swimming continued. She coached and gave lessons at the YMCA for four years. Most recently, she competes in triathlons. Isabella is a Special Education teacher. Currently, Coach Isabella is working with Group 5. She hopes to work with all groups when she has the opportunity to do so.

Bennett Dandar Coach

Coach Ben began his swim career with swimming lessons that were sponsored through the Norwin Aqua Club.  He made the NAC team when he was 7 years old. He has a lot of great memories of his years with the Norwin Aqua Club.  Not only the swimming and swim meet memories, but also the friends that over the years have become like family to him.  He is so lucky to say that they are still the people in his life that mean so much! 

During Coach Ben’s Freshman year at Norwin he began swimming for the High School Team.  He swam throughout his high school career, and went to WCCA all four years. During his senior year he qualified for the WPIAL Championships in the 500 Freestyle, his favorite stroke. Other experiences that swimming has offered him include teaching swim lessons through the Aqua Club, becoming a lifeguard, and being the Assistant Pool Manager at Crabapple Pool for almost 5 years. He was also in charge of organizing and conducting swim lessons for children ages 4 to 10 at Crabapple Pool.  In addition to coaching for the Aqua Club since November 2019, Coach Ben also works for a Printing Company called RR Donnelly. He enjoys working out, and spending time with his friends and family. 

Coach Ben’s goal as a coach for Norwin Aqua Club is to make the kids feel welcome, and to be their biggest cheerleader. He wants to help them become the best swimmers they can be, and for them to feel proud of themselves! 

 
Ryan DeLong Coach

Coach Ryan DeLong, better known to NAC swimmers as Coach D,  was a swimmer in High School in Titusville, PA. There he as used as a "utility swimmer", where the coaches would have him swim whatever stroke and event that was needed. This helped him to become a well-rounded swimmer. He then attended and graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where he studied Education/Phys Ed with additional studies in fitness, nutrition, and sports injury. His interest in working with and mentoring youth was apparent as, over the college summers, he worked as a Camp Counselor at Camp Freedom, a camp that is part of the Laurel Highlands Concil of Scouts BSA (formerly known as Boy Scouts of America). He has always wanted to go into coaching. Once graduated, he wanted to move to Southwestern PA and saw an ad for assistant coach at Norwin Aqua Club. He applied and was hired in 2012. He worked with NAC through 2018 and was then hired by Penn Trafford Aqua Club as an assistant coach. Coach D briefly stepped away from coaching swimming to realize his dream of owning a gym of his own, which is in Level Green. NAC is happy to have him back as an Assistant Coach. In the past he has coached both Chestnut Ridge League and AMS meets.

When asked about his coaching style and philosophy Coach D had this to say: 

       I like to think that I try to see the potential in each kid and help them find the passion to build on that potential. I encourage kids to take ownership over their development and help them understand the fundamentals of what I coach. In everything I do, I want my swimmers to understand the purpose and meaning, not just do what they are told because "Coach said to". I encourage the "why" questions. I try to always make sure that I am helping athletes develop not just to be better athletes but better people. So I teach them the value of hard work. I teach them that setbacks don't mean success is unachievable. I want them to always understand that things happen for those who work for it. In actual instruction, I build from the ground up and establish solid basics, then build on them so that athletes can understand how each little addition improves their stroke. But, I also do it this way so we control injury risk. An athlete cannot perform if injured, so teaching them proper biomechanics helps make sure they are at minimal risk while maximizing performance. A coaches job isn't just to guide an athlete to better performance. A coach is a mentor, and that is a responsibility that should never be taken lightly. While it's important to make the sport fun and exciting, it's just as important to make sure the athlete grows to be the best person they can be. 

Courteney Hubert Coach

Coach Courteney was a swimmer for the Norwin Aqua Club for 13 years.  She graduated from college in May of 2019, and became a coach for NAC.  She has a passion for swimming, and has a love for the aqua club. As a member of NAC she participated in AMS swimming, and competed at numerous competitive meets such as Zones and Sectionals. In high school she competed individually at WPIAL Championships three times. She also went to the Pennsylvania State Championships two years in a row with her Norwin relay team. In 2015 she began pursuing her swimming career at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. She spent four years there as a sprint freestyler, and competed individually at PSAC’s all four years. Currently Coach Courteney works mostly with the Seal 2 and Shark groups at practice. She enjoys coaching every group when she gets the chance. She is excited to be coaching this year, and looks forward to seeing what’s in store for the future!

 
Darian Shirey Coach

Coach Darian started her swimming career with Norwin Aqua Club at the age of 12. She spent the next 6 years competing at Chestnut Ridge and AMS meets, often it felt like she was at these every weekend.  During this time she had the opportunity to swim at both short course and long course Zones meets. During high school season she was a WPIAL qualifier in the 200 free and 200 IM. She then went on to swim at Westminster College where her main events were 200 back and 400 IM. Her favorite events to compete in were endurance events, such as 400 IM, 500 free, 1000 free. 

Coach Darian recently received her Associates degree in Nursing from WCCC, with hopes of obtaining a Bachelors degree while working. Her career aspirations are to work on an Oncology floor of a hospital. She hopes that her career in the medical field will help to strengthen her ability to coach. She is very excited for the season to come and to watch NAC continue to grow, but most importantly she’s excited to coach at “home”.

 
Casi Smith Coach

Group: Otters/Seals/ Sharks

Coach Casi has been coaching with the Norwin Aqua Club since 2018. She was a member of the club from 2005-2014. She also swam with the White Oak Swim Team from 2003 – 2014 where she is a record holder in the 100 Backstroke Relay and 100 Butterfly Relay. Casi was a part of the Norwin Varsity Swim team for four years where she was a three time WPIAL Qualifier. Casi swam for Saint Vincent College for four years where she was a Top 10 PAC finalist and currently ranked 7th on their teams Top Times List for the 400 Individual Medley and 10th in the 200 Butterfly. Casi has been the Head Coach of the White Oak Swim Team since 2015 and is the Assistant Swim Coach at Ligonier Valley High School. Casi is currently a Graduate Assistant with Ligonier Valley School District obtaining her Master’s Degree at Saint Vincent College.