Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Mike Blondal Director of Swimming

Mike has been coaching in Calgary at the UofC and UCSC since 1988 and has been the Head Coach/Director of Swimming since 1994. In his swimming career, he swam at Lakeside Swim Club, Pointe Claire Swim Club, CAMO, University of Houston Cougars, Vancouver Dolphins, and UBC Thunderbirds. He also swam internationally for Canada numerous times and was a double silver medalist at the Pan American Games in 1975.

He began his education for coaching at the University of Houston and finished at UBC with a BPE major and a minor in zoology. Mike’s previous coaching before Calgary was in Nanaimo, first as the Head Coach of the White Rapids (summer club) and then as the Head Coach for the Riptides (winter club). Except for his first five years in Calgary he has always worked as a Head Coach and has really enjoyed working with all the athletes and parents over the years.

He has coached the UofC Dino’s and UCSC teams to many national championships both at the club level and varsity, as well as placed many swimmers on Albertan and Canadian provincial and national teams. He has been on staff many times at almost every major International competition including but not limited to the Olympics, SC World Championships, LC World Championships, Pan American Games, Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, World Student Games, Mare Nostrum, North American Challenge, European Champs, etc.

Mike has been voted by his peers as CIS Coach of the Year a few times and works extensively on behalf of coaches in Canada and Alberta by sitting on the Alberta Coaches Council and the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association. He is a coach that believes in quality coaching, and self-reliance for the swimmer. Throughout his career he has had the opportunity to work with great staff, strong boards of directors, and has had the opportunity to build strong relationships with many swimmers. He looks forward to another new season!  

 

Ray Betuzzi Varsity Coach

Ray has been involved with coaching for the last 6 years.  He has worked his way up from an assistant in the age group program to running his own group to now being involved at the University level.  Ray is a former competitive swimmer for UCSC and represented our Club and Canada on the international stage as a member of the Sr. National Team.  He also spent 4 years competing at the NCAA level and then returned to continue swimming post grad.  Being involved with the program as both a swimmer and a coach has allowed him to really grow with UCSC.  He is excited to be coaching the senior swimmers and looks forward to helping them achieve their goals in and out of the pool.

Rick Pelletier Varsity Assistant/Massage Therapist

Rick returns for his 12th season as an assistant coach with both Varsity and senior swimmers. Rick brings over 25 years of coaching experience, having worked as Head Coach and in various Assistant Head Coaching positions in Alberta and Manitoba. Rick is also a Massage Therapist, and his expertise in sport massage has earned him the opportunity to be selected to numerous international competitions as a member of the IST Staff with Swimming Canada, recently being selected to his third Olympic Games. He has consistently been selected to provide massage therapy at a large majority of International games over the past 10 years. 

OLYMPIC GAMES (2008, 2012, 2016)

FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)

PAN PAC CHAMPIONSHIPS (1999, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)

FISU – WORLD STUDENT GAMES (2011, 2015)

COMMONWEALTH GAMES (2010)

WORLD SHORT COURSE CHAMPS (1998)

FINA WORLD JUNIORS (2008)

JR PAN PAC CHAMPS (2009)

Carl Simonson Assistant Head Coach and Gold 15

Coach Carl is the Assistant Head Coach and the GOLD 15 group coach at the University of Calgary Swim Club.  Since his arrival in 2012 UCSC has become a perennial top performing team at both Westerns and Canadian Junior Championships.

Carl is a graduate of the NCCP Advanced Coaching Diploma program delivered through the National Coaching institute – Calgary.  This two-and-a-half-year program is comprised of experts in various fields providing weekly seminars and ongoing course work to be submitted and defended annually. 

Carl’s recent career and volunteer highlights include:

  • Coaching in Alberta since 1992
  • Age Group Head Coach (EKSC)
  • Head Coach of the Olympian Swim Club (OSC)
  • Multiple Junior National and Western Canadian Championship Titles
  • Placed Swimmers on 2010 Pan Pacific Championship and other National Teams
  • National Medalists and Finalists in both men’s and women’s events as well as in every stroke discipline
  • Multiple swimmers on Provincial and National Teams representing Alberta and Canada
  • Head Coach of Alberta’s 2009 Canada Games Team
  • Alberta Provincial Stroke Coach
  • Elected Executive Member of the Alberta Coaches Council
  • NCCP Level 3 Certified
  • Advanced Coaching Diploma
  • Member of the Canadian Swim Coaches and Teacher Association (CSCTA) - Domestic Committee 

As an experienced Canadian Swim Coach with a proven record of building successful teams and an ability to effectively manage a large swim club, Carl is a valuable member and leader of the UCSC Coaching Staff.

Jared Wilson Black 15

Jared is very excited to begin his second season coaching the Black 15 squad! He is originally from Edmonton where he both swam and coached for the Olympian Swim Club. With OSC he held a number of roles over the years, including time as Assistant Head Coach and General Manager. Jared uses lessons learned coaching at all levels to bring a fresh perspective to the pool every day.

With his background as a Chartered Professional Accountant, Jared has a very analytical outlook on swimming. Despite his professional designation, swimming is what he is passionate about and has chosen to pursue. His data analysis skills make him a whiz at stats and a major driver behind his coaching. Jared has high on-deck energy and loves to share his passion for the sport with his athletes. Jared has coached a variety of athletes over the years including many Provincial and National level swimmers. Given his belief in technical foundation he has enjoyed coaching development swimming over the years. However, with his passion for race analysis he really enjoys working with older athletes to find new ways to continue to improve.

Off deck, Jared loves to watch and consume other sports as a spectator and a fan. He is an avid Oilers fan which he hopes won’t be too much of an issue in the new surroundings. He loves being outside and spends his time hiking and skiing with his wife Lauren whenever possible. 

Taylor Mann Black X

Taylor is very excited to be joining UCSC for her first season!

Taylor swam and competed for 7 years. In 2012, she began coaching and has worked with both provincial and national level athletes, both in and out of the pool.

A certified dryland coach, Taylor has diversified her coaching knowledge and experience by coaching both CrossFit and Gymnastics. She is NCCP Level 1 Certified and plans to complete her Level 2 soon. Taylor believes that being a coach does not begin and end on the pool deck. It is important to her that she develops meaningful and lasting relationships with her athletes. She encourages athletes to be well rounded, incorporating different skills, movements, and strengths from a variety of sports to strengthen their overall ability.

Taylor studied Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary. This program led her to work with students and athletes with a variety of abilities.

Taylor is also a CrossFit Athlete and a national level powerlifter. She has competed at the CanWest CrossFit Games and against some of CrossFit’s top athletes. She currently holds 8 national records in powerlifting and plans to continue competing in both CrossFit and powerlifting.

Outside of the athletic world, Taylor enjoys travelling with her boyfriend and their dog Apollo.

Dave Macdonald Gold 14

Dave is excited to be returning for his third season with the University of Calgary Swim Club this fall. Dave is Level 3 (Senior Coach) certified.  Dave’s coaching philosophy is that for swimmers to be successful they need to strive to improve every day. Through dedicating themselves to their training and challenging themselves in the pool every workout, he knows that they can reach great heights in the sport.

Swimmers that Dave has coached over the years have won medals at the Senior, Junior, Age Group, and Western National Championships levels, while breaking many Provincial and National records. These swimmers have gone on to compete on National teams at the World Championship, World Junior Championship, Junior Pan Pacific Championship and various National and Provincial teams.

He has also been named as a coach to National and Provincial Teams including most recently the 2017 Swim Alberta Emerge tour, in addition to the 2014 Junior Pan Pacs and 2013 Canada Games. In 2013 Dave was awarded the Swim Alberta Desperado Award, and in 2010 Dave received the Alberta Age Group and Para-Swimming Coach of the Year awards. For the last six years he has been a member of the Alberta Coaches Council and has acted as Chair for the last three.

Dave began his own swimming career at age 9 in Mississauga, Ontario. He swam there for 9 years before attending the University of Victoria in British Columbia. He competed for the UVic Vikes for five years while completing his Bachelor of Commerce degree. While swimming in Victoria, Dave represented British Columbia at the 2001 Canada Games and won a bronze medal in the 200 backstroke at the 2002 Canadian Interuniversity Sports championship.

Dave is excited to continue as part of the of great swimming tradition at the University of Calgary Swim Club and hopes to contribute to this legacy in the future!

Jan Bidrman Black 14

Jan is really excited to be back in Calgary, coaching for UCSC as part of the Dino swimming family. As a coach for Black 14 he is looking forward to working with excited, young swimmers and watching them improve throughout the season. In each training cycle, the group will build on and progress from general swimming and dry-land fitness to specific emphasis on racing. As a level 4 coach, Jan brings a ton of experience with him:

  • 2-time Olympic swimmer and 5-time Olympic coach
  • Has coached Olympic and World Championship medalists
  • 30 years total of coaching experience
  • Current master swimmer
  • 1992 – 1996 – Graduate Assistant/Assistant Coach, University of Nebraska, Swimming and Diving, Lincoln, NE
  • 1996 – Master’s Degree in Arts – Economics: University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • 1997 to 2014 - Head Coach for the University of Calgary National Swimming Centre/Calgary Academy for Swimming Excellence
  • 2008 to 2014 - Swim Alberta High Performance Coach
  • 2014 to 2016 – Age Group Coach and mentor  - University of Calgary Swim Club
  • 2016 to 2019 – Head Age Group Coach - Lincoln Select Swim Club, Lincoln, NE

 

Thomas Jobin Red 14

Thomas is very excited to be coaching the Red 14 group at UCSC this season! Over the 15 years that he swam competitively for the Cascade Swim Club, Thomas held 20 Club records, 11 Provincial records and 3 National records. He was selected for the Junior Development team 3 times, was a member of Team Canada at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and was a finalist in the 200m Butterfly at the 2012 OIympic Trials in Montreal. After receiving the Jimmie Condon Scholarship, Thomas went on to compete for the UofC Varsity team where he was a CIS medalist many times. He is excited for a new season with the Dinos and specifically the Red 14 swimmers!


 

Jeff Welechuk Gold 12

Born in Hinton, Alberta, Jeff began his swimming career with a local summer club. At the age of 15, he left home and moved to Edmonton and joined the Edmonton Keyano Swim Club. It was there that he first made the national team and then went on to swim with the University of Alberta Golden Bear’s varsity team. In 1995, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, moved to Calgary and began doing technical software support for a geophysical company. Jeff continued to swim for an additional year with the University of Calgary Swim Club. Throughout his swimming career, Jeff had many successes:

• 1996 World Master’s Record Holder – 100 back
• 1988-1993 Varsity Swimmer, University of Alberta Golden Bears, Edmonton, Alberta
• University of Alberta Record Holder, 50 free, 100 free, and 100 back
• 1992 Olympic Trials, Montreal
• 1991 Pan American Games, Havana, Cuba
• 1988 Olympic Trials, Montreal

In 1996, he joined the University of Calgary Swim Club as a coach. Jeff is a level 2 certified NCCP coach who focuses on excellence in stroke development, endurance training, dry land training, meet preparation, parent and coach liaison and using video analysis. In 2015, Jeff left the Oil & Gas Industry to pursue a career in Education. He is currently in his second year of the B. Ed after degree program at the University of Calgary. It was also in 2015 that Jeff won the Alberta Provincial Coach of the year award. 

He encourages the well-being and overall personal and swimming development of each individual swimmer in his group. Jeff also enjoy downhill skiing, mountain biking and having fun.

Personal Quotation: “There is no crying in sports unless you win a Gold Medal at the Olympics. And then I’ll cry with you.”

 

Tao Zhao Gold 11

Tao started swimming in Sichuan Province in China at the age of nine. Since then her life has always been centered around the pool.  By the time Tao was thirteen she was a member of the Sichuan Provincial Team.  During her athletic career she held the provincial backstroke record for several years, won many national medals, and was awarded the title of China's National Swimming Master.  After her athletic career she started coaching and has done so for more than twenty years.  She has helped develop young swimmers into provincially ranked athletes and has sent athletes from the Sichuan Provincial team to rank in China's National Swimming Championships.  Many of her Chinese athletes went on to win national championships, medals, and also the title of National Swimming Master.

Tao has been coaching the UCSC’s Black 12 Squad for the past two years helping many swimmers achieve both Alberta Provincial and Alberta Championship standards.  She absolutely enjoys and loves her career coaching young swimmers in developing their skills and competitive mindset.  She is looking forward to applying her vast coaching experience in her third competitive season at UCSC with the Gold 11 Squad!

Caitlin Kruger Black 12

Caitlin is excited for her third season coaching with the Dinos and for another season with B12! She has a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education, and is keen to get back in the classroom and further her coaching education with plans to enroll in Swimming 201.

Caitlin focuses on building a relationship with each swimmer. She focuses on the technical development of each stroke, aka swimming "smarter not harder." She also spends a lot of time learning about the psychological/emotional aspect, working with swimmers to develop skills that can transcend from sport into other life situations. Caitlin believes that swimming is the main focus, but it can also be utilized as a tool to develop life skills beyond the pool such as critical thinking, working as a team, managing stress/anxiety levels, staying physically healthy, and so on.
 
Off-deck Caitlin enjoys reading non-fiction books, listening to podcasts, travelling, hiking, snowboarding, swimming, and rock climbing.

Caroline Mercier Black 11

Caroline is super excited to be coaching Black 11 this year! Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, she began her swimming career 13 years ago on the island of Bermuda. After returning to BC, she gained her first coaching experience with her high school swim team. Adding to those 4 years, she coached with the Fredericton Aquanauts Swim Team (FAST) for three years while completing her BA Joint Honours degree from the University of New Brunswick. She has coached all ages, but this past year Caroline coached the 12-14 Provincial level swimmers with FAST - with some athletes reaching for their national standards! She is very excited for her first season with UCSC! 

Greg Parsons TREX Head Coach

Greg is excited for his second year as Head Coach of TREX A and TREX C as well as overseeing the TREX program as Lead Coach. Greg is a Level 2 coach (in training) and he strives to build strong relationships with each of his athletes based on trust and respect. Greg believes each athlete must become intrinsically motivated and believe in themselves and the value of sport. He believes that a love of sport develops through a strong coach-athlete relationship. Greg works hard with each athlete to help them build their goals and take responsibility of their swimming while guiding and pushing them to become the best they can be. Greg believes that great swimming is built on a foundation of great technique and makes this a focus in his workouts. Greg swam for UCSC for 8 years at the Provincial and National level before transitioning into coaching and has an immense pride for his team. Greg has coached below TREX in the development program, above TREX in the Red program, and within TREX in leadership positions and looks forward to preparing his athletes for the next level in their swim career.

 

 
Lorna Snow Churchill/Shouldice Head Coach

Lorna Snow is the Head Coach in the Development Program at Churchill pool. She is one of the most experienced and educated coaches of young swimmers in Canada. She has been committed to UCSC for over 30 years. Lorna has a Master's degree in Physical Education from the University of Western Ontario. She taught Therapeutic Recreation at Mount Royal University for 25 years and continues to coach for the joy of the interaction with the children. Lorna is a certified NCCP Level II swim coach. She has a passion and ethusiasm for teaching excellent technique, and encouraging young swimmers to love the sport and have confidence in their abilities. Her swimmers learn the value of respect, commitment and hard work.

When asked, "Who are the most successful athletes you have coached?" Lorna said, "Approximately 2,500 children have gone through the development program at Churchill pool, have learned to swim extremely well, and have grown up to be happy, healthy, contributing citizens. Their lives were enriched because of the experiences they had in our club. These are my most successful athletes."

Jessika Craig Club Manager/Travel Coordinator

Jess Craig grew up in South Eastern Ontario where she started competitive swimming at the age of 7 with the Quinte Bluefins. She also swam for the CFB Trenton Dolphins and the Ernestown Barracudas. At 18 she moved out to Calgary to swim with the University of Calgary Dinos. She represented the Dinos for 5 years and graduated with degrees in History and Communications. Upon graduation she moved to Germany to teach English. In her spare time Jess loves to hike and watch Netflix.

Board of Directors