Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Coach Rob Riccobon Head Coach

Coach Rob co-founded WHAT Swimming in September of 2007. Coach Rob was a member of the West Point Swim Club and Monroe Woodbury High School Varsity Swim Team.  He was recruited to Central Connecticut State University.  Coach Rob began his coaching career at C.C.S.U. with the Central Connecticut Aquatic Club (1991). Since that time, he has coached the Berlin Dolphins, Rocky Hill Sea Lions, Rocky Hill High School, was assistant coach at Saint Joseph College, co-founder of the New England Saints Swim Team (1996) and Connecticut Aquatic Club (2001).  Coach Rob has been chosen a Connecticut Swimming Eastern Zone coach five times, served a two year term on the Connecticut Swimming Board of Directors as a coaches representative and chosen CT Swiming Senior Coach of the Year in 2016.  He is known for his emphasis on stroke technique and for his motivational style of coaching.  Coach Rob has sent swimmers to Arena Grand Prix, USA Junior Nationals, Eastern Zone Sectional Championship and NCSA Junior Nationals.  He has had numerous USA Swimming Top 16 & 10 swimmers, state record holders and state champions.  Coach Rob is currently the Safe Sport Coordinator for CT Swimming and a certified A.S.C.A. Level 3 swimming coach.

WHAT Swimming Coaching Accomplishments:

  • 2021 United States Olympic Trial Qualifier in the 400 meter freestyle, 800 meter freestyle and 1500 meter freestyle- 2019

  • 2020-2021 USA Swimming Men's National Junior Team Member (Will Gallant- 800 meter freestyle)

  • 2020-2021 USA Swimming National Junior Team Coach 

  • Awarded Bronze Medal Club from the USA Swimming National Club Excellence Program - January 2019; 2020; 2021

  • 2019-2020 USA Swimming Men's National Junior Team Member (Will Gallant- 800 meter freestyle)

  • 2019-2020 USA Swimming National Junior Team Coach 

  • 2019 18 and Under World Ranked Swimmer ( 22nd in the 800 meter freestyle)

  • 2019 Eastern Zone and Connecticut Open Water- Men's Champions; Women's Champions; Overall Team Champions

  • Presenter at 9th Annual ISCA Hall of Fame Coaches Summit- Social Media Marketing for Clubs- July 2018

  • 2018 Connecticut Open Water- Men's Champions; Women's Runner-up; Team Champions

  • Connecticut Swimming Elite High Altitude Training Camp at the United States Olympic Training Center- Assistant Coach April 2018 

  • Appointed to International Swim Coaches Board of Directors January 2018

  • 13-14 Boys Team High Point Winner CT Age Group Championships July 2017

  • USA Swimming Eastern Zone Select Camp Staff June 2017

  • Hosted USA Swimming Regional Coaches Clinic April 2017

  • 13-14 Boys Team High Point Winner CT Age Group Championships March 2017

  • Combined Team Third Place CT Swimming Senior Championship March 2017

  • Men's Team Runner-Up CT Swimming Senior Championship March 2017

  • Elected to Connecticut Swimming Board of Directors January 2017- Safe Sport Coordinator

  • 13-14 Boys Team High Point Winner CT Age Group Championships March 2016

  • Awarded Connecticut Swimming Senior Coach of the Year 2016

  • Hosted USA Swimming Build A Pool Conference June 2015

  • 15-18 Girls Team High Point Winner CT Age Group Championships July 2015

  • 15-18 Boys Team High Point Winner CT Age Group Championships March 2015

  • Appointed Connecticut Swimming Safe Sport Coordinator June 2013

Coach Jim Santiago Associate Head Coach

Jim joined the West Hartford Aquatic Team as the Head Age Group Coach at the beginning of the 2009 Long Course Season. Prior to Joining WHAT Jim was an age group coach on the Charter Oak Coaching staff and previous to that he was the Head Age Group Coach on Connecticut Aquatic Club from 2001-2006.  Jim has been chosen a Connecticut Swimming Eastern Zone coach on three occasions and served one term as the Junior Coaches Representative for Connecticut Swimming. Coach Jim is currently in his fifth season serving on the Age Group Committee for CT Swimming.

Over his coaching career Jim has coached several Regional Champions, Age Group Champions, CT Swimming Open Water Champions, Age Group high point and distance high point Champions, Senior Qualifiers, Sectional Qualifiers, Eastern Zone Qualifiers and CT Swimming Top 16 Age Group Swimmers.  Coach Jim was named the 2016 CT Age Group Coach of the Year.  During that year coach Jim’s swimmers achieved USA Swimming National Top Ten honors, Eastern Zone Swimming Top Twenty honors and his Ten and Under Girls won the team high point award at CT Swimming Long Course Championships.

Jim has attended numerous coaches’ clinics such as the ASCA World Clinic and Eastern States Clinic.  Jim swam for Naugatuck High School and was a member of the 1992 State Championship Team.  While in high school Jim also swam for the Aqua Jets swim club.  Jim was a member of the Men’s Swimming Team at Central Connecticut State University from 1995-1998 where he was an Academic All American for three years. Jim is a certified A.S.C.A Level 3 swimming coach.

Jim is currently employed by the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch as a Chief Adult Probation Officer and has a wife Alexandra and two children Talia and Elena.

Coach Josh Paszczuk Lead Senior/Masters Coach

Coach Josh joined the WHAT Swimming Coaching staff in April of 2017. He started his swimming career as a sophomore while attending Newington high school.  Coach Josh joined WHAT Swimming his junior year of high school until he was recruited to join the ranks of the Colby-Sawyer College swimming program.

As a part of the Colby-Sawyer team, Coach Josh primarily swam backstroke and freestyle. At Colby-Sawyer, Coach Josh set an individual school record in the 100 backstroke and was a member of three record setting relay teams.  Coach Josh was awarded the MVP for the 2016-2017 season. He was an All New- England honors recipient and a multiple event finalist at the New England Intercollegiate Swimming Championships.

While in college, Coach Josh started his career as a swim coach.  He was named the head coach of the Kearsarge Cougars and continued to gain experience valuable age group swimming experience at the Wampanoag Country Club. 

Coach Allison O'Keefe Lead Developmental Coach

Coach Allison joined the WHAT Swimming Coaching staff in 2014.  Coach Allison recently served as the head coach of the Division 1 Sacred Heart University Women's Swimming Team.  Under her guidance, the women's team broke 7 school records at the Northeast Conference Swimming Championships and was named a CSCAA Scholar All-America Team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.  Prior to Sacred Heart, Coach Allison served as the assistant swim coach at Bristol Eastern High School. During here tenure, the 2012 team claimed the CCC South regular season title. She coached seven All-Conference swimmers, as well as an All-State diver.  Before working at Bristol Eastern, Coach Allison was a NCAA Division I swimmer at Siena College where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. While there, she was named to the MAAC All-Academic Team three years: 2008, 2009, 2010. She was named co-captain in 2009-10 season, and finished seventh in the ECAC Championship in the 200 free relay. She also qualified for the ECAC Championship in the 200 freestyle and 50 freestyle.  As a high school swimmer, Coach Allison lettered four years of varsity swimming at Saint Paul Catholic School.  She was named a Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference All-State swimmer her freshman year and selected to the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

Coach Kelly McPherson Senior Premier Coach

Coach Kelly joined the WHAT Swimming coaching staff in September 2017.  Coach Kelly began her swimming career at North Baltimore Aquatic Club and swam through high school where she qualified and competed in the USA Swimming Junior Nationals, Senior Nationals, and Olympic Trials.  She also qualified for the USA Swimming National Junior Team and competed for the United States in Paris, France.   After graduating high school, Kelly was recruited to swim at the University of Southern California by Olympic Coach Mark Schubert.

As her college swimming career came to an end, Coach Kelly became a volunteer assistant coach at University of Southern California and accompanied the swimmers to the 2000 United States Swimming Olympic Trials.  Following college, she briefly coached age group swimmers at her club team, NBAC, in Baltimore, MD.  Coach Kelly also coached a masters swim team in NYC for 8 years and was a USMS Masters swim coach for Worlds in Riccione, Italy in 2014.

Coach Peter Sheldrick Developmental/Age Group Coach

Peter began swimming with the Waterbury YMCA Brass City Barracudas.  Shortly thereafter, he started swimming for Kennedy High School.  He continued to swim at the collegiate level for a time eventually leaving college to become a police officer.  In addition to his swimming team activities, he was also a children’s swim instructor and coached at swim clinics focusing on stroke mechanics as a prelude to the swimmers joining a team. 

After leaving college, Peter periodically returned to the pool training for triathlons.  In 2011, his son, Brett, joined WHAT.  He became an active parent volunteering to help the team and eventually became a USA Swimming official.  Several years after becoming involved with WHAT, he joined the WHAT US Masters Swimming workout group.  He returned to competitive swimming participating in several meets a year including the New England Championships.  He is a certified coach for USA Swimming and US Masters Swimming. 

Peter is married with two children, Brett who is attending Babson College as a scholar athlete and Cate who is in high school.  He is currently the Head of Data Engineering and Analytics at an insurance company.  He looks forward to sharing his passion for the sport with you and your swimmer(s)

Coach Matt Walker Senior/Senior Premier Coach

Coach Matt is joining WHAT for the 2023-2024 season. He will also be assuming the Head Coaching position at Avon Old Farms school in the fall as well. Prior to coaching at WHAT, Matt coached at Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club from 2022-2023 where he was the lead coach of their Senior II and Junior II groups.  Matt also worked at the  Southington YMCA RAYS from 2016-2022 as their Lead Junior Coach.

Over the past 8 years Matt has coached Speedo Futures and Sectional qualifiers, Eastern Zone qualifiers, and YMCA National qualifiers. At the state level he has coached numerous CT Seniors and CT Age Group qualifiers, as well as CT Age Group high point/distance high point champions and event winners. Matt has coached his swimmers to first place finishes at meets hosted by NCAP, LIAC, Scarlet Aquatics, and Eastern Zones. During his coaching tenure Matt has placed  swimmers in the top 3, 25, and 50 in the USA Swimming National rankings.

Coach Matt competed for Southington High School and Southington YMCA. He was team captain of his high school team senior year and was a member of the high school state team all four years. At the YMCA level he was a YMCA New England championship qualifier from age 12-17.  Matt is an ASCA certified Level 2 coach.

Coach Megan Scully Age Group/Developmental Coach

Coach Megan joined the WHAT Swimming coaching staff in 2013 and is the head coach for the Senior program.  Coach Megan swam for Farmington High School Varsity Swim Team and continued her swimming career at Western Connecticut State University. During her collegiate career, she was the 2008 Little East Champion in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. She also became the  2009 NEISDA Division II/III New England Champion in the 50 and 200 breaststrokes. She holds 6 University Records and a pool record at the University of Saint Joseph (West Hartford, CT) in the 50 breaststroke. Coach Megan was rookie of the year her freshman year and an athlete of the year nominee her sophomore and junior year. At WCSU, she was a member of the Omega and Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society. She began her coaching career at Red Oak Hill Swim Club (2006).  Since that time, she has coached Brookfield High School Swim Team (2011) and Western Connecticut State University Swim Team (2011).  As the WHAT Swimming Senior coach, she has developed CT Swimming Regional Champions, CT Swimming Age Group Qualifiers, Eastern Zone All Star team members and Connecticut Swimming Top 16 award recipients.  Coach Megan attended the 2013 American Swim Coaches Association World Clinic in New Orleans.

Coach Alex Albert Age Group Coach

Alex began her swimming career in 1993, becoming a member of the Wethersfield Barracudas swim team. In 1997, Alex  joined the Laurel East Hartford YMCA where she achieved qualification times for the YMCA National Championships.  Alex was a four varsity letter winner and team captain as a member of the Wethersfield High School Lady Eagles swim team. She achieved All CCC-West Conference honors from 2002-2005, a Connecticut Interscholastic State Swimming Championship qualifier and honor roll student-athlete.

Alex was recruited to represent the Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils (CCSU) where she was a part of the 2008 Northeast Conference championship team and was a finalist at the ECAC Championships.  In 2008,  Alex was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year.  She was a top three finisher in the 500 Free, 400 IM, and 1650 Free. Alex graduated from CCSU in 2011, with a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality and Tourism.  

Alex began her coaching career with the Plainville YMCA Tigersharks in 2010. In 2015, Alex began working with Blue Devil Aquatics/GRIT Aquatics in New Britain, CT.  During her time with GRIT Aquatics,  Alex developed many young age group swimmers into national level swimmers.  From 2016-2021,  Alex worked as the assistant swim coach for Central Connecticut State University Lady Blue Devils swimming and diving team.  After joining the program, Alex made an immediate impact, helping the Blue Devils improve from a fourth place finish in 2018 to runner-up finishes in 2019, 2020 and 2021. 

Alex currently works as the Head Coach of the St. Joesph's University Swimming and Diving team.  Alex is married to her husband Dylan and together they have a daughter Freya.

Coach Kyle Brown Age Group Premier Coach

Coach Kyle joined the WHAT coaching staff in 2023. Kyle began his swimming career competing for the Aquabears from 2008-2016. He joined WHAT in 2016 and competed for 6 years. He was a USA Swimming Junior National qualifier - competing for WHAT at sectionals in Ithaca, NY. Also, competing at multiple ISCA Summer Senior Championships and ISCA Junior Nationals. Kyle was named a 2-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American for his academics and athletic achievements. From 2018-2020, Kyle was a Connecticut Swimming Athlete Representative. 

Coach Kyle was recruited by Bryant University to swim Division I. In his time at Bryant, he has helped the team to two Northeast Conference Championship titles. Kyle is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a major in Team and Project Management and a minor in Psychology.
Coach Maks Ugrak Age Group/Developmental Coach

Coach Maks began competitively swimming in 2007 for the Newington Swim Club up until high school where he joined the Newington High School Swim Team. He swam all four years of high school, making varsity and state finals each year. He joined WHAT Swimming in 2017 during the summer season as a sophomore in high school, and has swum for the team up until his freshman year of college.

Maks was recruited to swim at University of Saint Joseph during his sophomore year of college in 2020 and swam for the team for the remainder of his college years. He has qualified for GNACS and NEISDA and has five records on the men’s team: three individual and two relays. His more notable swims were 5th in 200fly at NEISDA in 2022 and 3rd in GNACS in 2023.

Coach Maks Jaremko Age Group/Developmental Coach

Coach Maks joined the WHAT Swimming Coaching staff in April of 2023.

He started his swimming career at the Fox Valley YMCA in Appleton, WI at 6 years of age. He continued his swimming career at WHAT earning several CT Top 16 times throughout his time at WHAT and swam at multiple ISCA-sanctioned meets across the Eastern US. At the high school level, he set the records for the 100 fly, and 500 freestyle as well as being a part of the record-setting 400 freestyle and 400 medley relays at Avon High School. He then walked on the New York University Swim Team as a distance swimmer, primarily swimming the 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle, and 1650 freestyle.


He is currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Intraoperative Neuromonitoring and Surgical Neurophysiology at the University of Connecticut.

Board of Directors