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 eight 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 17th 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 fourth 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, 2021)

FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019)

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

FISU – WORLD STUDENT GAMES (2011, 2015)

COMMONWEALTH GAMES (2010)

WORLD SHORT COURSE CHAMPS (1998, 2019)

FINA WORLD JUNIORS (2008)

JR PAN PAC CHAMPS (2009)

Carl Simonson National A Head Coach

Coach Carl is the Assistant Head Coach and the National 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 CSCA Board 2020

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.

Dave Macdonald National B Head Coach

Dave is excited to be returning for his sixth 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 Pacific Championship and 2013 Canada Games. His provincial coaching awards include Provincial Age Group Coach of the Year (2019, 2010), Desperado Award (2013), and Para-Swimming Coach of the Year (2010). For the last eight years he has been a member of the Alberta Technical Program Committee and has acted as Chair for the last five.

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!

Jared Wilson Provincial Head Coach

Jared is very excited to begin his fifth season with UCSC coaching the Provincia group this year! 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.

Jared, who is a certified Level 3 coach is excited for a new and unique season with the Dinos!  

Nick Lapointe Provincial Plus Head Coach

While Nick is already a familiar face on the pool deck and the weight room, he is excited to be around a whole lot more in a full-time capacity. With big shoes to fill in Lauren’s absence, he looks to keep the momentum going with the Provincial Plus group and help the swimmers develop to be the best they can be.

Nick was born and raised in Ontario. He swam for fifteen years, including four at the varsity level while studying Sport and Physical Education. He then furthered his education by completing a post-graduate certificate in Exercise Science. He is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and NCCP Level 2 coach. His combination of swimming experience and educational background brings a valuable skill set and coaching perspective to the club. 

He spent four years as a volunteer coach with the University of Calgary varsity swim team and is now in his second-year coaching within UCSC. In the Summer of 2019, he was the head coach of the Golden Dolphins Summer swim club, where he coached all levels and ages throughout the club, and had several swimmers break club and regional records. 

He is excited to be a part of the continued success of UCSC and is looking forward to a great season!

Peter Brothers Regional Head Coach

Peter started swimming in Canmore AB at the age of 9.  At 12 years old he moved to Victoria BC where his national and international swimming career began.  Representing Canada internationally since 2012 Peter had many successes:

  • 34-time Canadian national medalist and 18-time Canadian national champion. 
  • 2021 two-time Canadian Olympic Trials Champion. 
  • 2019 Canadian World University Games Team Member. 
  • 2018 Canadian Pan Pacific Championship Team Member. 
  • 2016 Canadian World Championship Team Member. 
  • 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championship bronze medalist. 
  • 2012 Canadian Youth Swimmer of the Year. 

He recently completed his undergraduate degree in zoology this winter at the University of Calgary and retired from the sport of swimming.  Reflecting on his career, Peter feels extremely fortunate to have pursued something that he loves and in turn has given him so many amazing experiences. Getting the opportunity to compete around the world for Canada, taking on leadership roles throughout my National team and Varsity careers, and being introduced to some of the best coaches, athletes, and friends that I know is why he challenged himself every day in the pool. Peter looks forward to taking his expertise in swimming and giving back to the younger generation of UCSC swimmers as Regional Head Coach. 

Jan Bidrman 12 Stream Head Coach - 12A

Jan is really excited for the upcoming swimming season, coaching for UCSC as part of the Dino swimming family. This season Jan is lead coach for the 12 and under stream with his main group being 12A.  He is looking forward to working with excited, young swimmers, watching them establish and improve technical swimming skills while having fun and swimming faster and faster throughout the season. In each training cycle, the group will build on and progress from general swimming and dry-land fitness to specific emphasis technique. 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
  • 2019 to 2020 – Age Group Coach (Black 14 group) – University of Calgary Swim Club
Jeff Welechuk 12B Head Coach

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
• 1993 World Student Games, Buffalo, New York
• 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. It was also in 2015 that Jeff won the Alberta Provincial Coach of the year award. Jeff is currently in his fourth year teaching with the CBE. He is teaching Grade 4 at Dr. Freda Miller School in the Southwest community of Evergreen.

He encourages the well-being and overall personal and swimming development of each individual swimmer in his group. Jeff also enjoys 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 12C Head Coach

Tao started swimming in Sichuan Province in China at the age of nine. Since then her life has always been centred 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 thirty years. During this time, she also attended numerous training courses, such as those hosted by the National Swimming Association of China. 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 coached UCSC’s Black 12 Squad for the first two years, and the Gold 11 Squad for her second two years with the club. She has helped 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 sixth competitive season at UCSC, and will be coaching 12C for the second year in a row this year. 

Caitlin Kruger 12D Head Coach

Caitlin is excited to be the coach of 12D this season! She has completed her NCCP Swimming 201 certification and is always keen to apply that knowledge to the training/competing environment. Caitlin has completed a Bachelor's of Health and Physical Education and is now pursuing her second degree and Masters in Cultural Anthropology. 

Caitlin's experience as a swimmer includes Ontario Provincial and Eastern level meets, and swimming varsity with the University of Ottawa. 

Caitlin's three main focuses within the training plan include: technical stroke development, emotional/psychological development, and developing life skills. Technical stroke development is focusing on being smarter in the water and creating efficient strokes with impeccable technique. A well rounded repertoire of strokes and distances is ideal. Emotional/psychological development will focus on stress/nerve management, developing a mind-body connection, and being a supportive teammate. Life skills that can be translated from swimming to life include time management, organization and communication skills. 

She is excited to start back in the pool with what will be her fifth season at UCSC! 

Amy Bidrman TREX Head Coach

Amy is starting her second year as Lead Coach for the TREX squads. She has over forty years of experiences around pools as a swimmer, coach, lifeguard and teacher.  She and the talented TREX assistants are excited to lead the squads through training sessions and a season with a focus on technique, fitness, accountability, flexibility, discipline and camaraderie. 

Amy was an age group swimmer in Nebraska USA, a high school state champion and record holder in swimming and cross-country running. She then then continued with her swimming career at UC Berkeley in California in 1987, was team captain and later a graduate assistant coach.  She moved back to Nebraska in 1992 where she coached at the University, and swam and coached masters before moving to Calgary in 1997.  Coaching age group camps and private lessons as well as coaching masters programs and swimming and training herself have kept her up-to-date and inspired by the technical aspects of swimming.  She and her husband Jan have two children who also swam for UCSC.  As a parent, Amy gleaned even more information about the swimming world from the stands.


Amy is an E-RYT500 yoga teacher and teacher trainer, holds an IMI Montessori diploma, has her Bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley and a Masters degree in Education from Loyola University Baltimore. 

She is looking forward to inspiring young swimmers with good habits that will carry them forward through their swimming careers and last them a lifetime.

Lorna Snow Churchill/Shouldice Head Coach

Lorna Snow is the Head Coach of Club Development and coaches at Churchill and Shouldice pools. She is one of the most experienced and educated coaches of young swimmers in Canada. She has been committed to UCSC for over 40 years. Lorna has a BA in Physical Education from Western University and an MA in Physical Education from the University of Alberta. She taught Therapeutic Recreation at Mount Royal University for 25 years and continues to coach for the joy of being with the children every day. Lorna is a certified NCCP Level II swim coach. She has passion and enthusiasm for teaching excellent technique and encouraging young swimmers to love to swim with confidence in their abilities. Her swimmers learn the values of respect, commitment and hard work.

When asked, "Who are the most successful athletes you have coached?" Lorna said, "Approximately 3,500 children have gone through the UCSC development program, 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