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 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 an ABA Behavior Specialist in Wethersfield, CT and is head of Program Operations for the CCSU Women's Swimming and Diving team.  Alex is married to her husband Dylan and together they have a daughter Freya.

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 Christina Guertin Lead Age Group/Senior Coach

Coach Christina joined the WHAT Swimming coaching staff in 2019. Christina began her swimming career competing for Shuttle Meadow Country Club and the YMCA Tigersharks from 2006-2008. She joined WHAT in 2008 and competed for eight years. She was a SPEEDO Sectional Qualifier - competing for WHAT at the sectional meets in Ithaca, NY and Orlando, FL.  She also competed with the Miss Porter’s School varsity swim team for four years. Christina was a Founders League Champion in 2012 and 2014. She earned a spot on the All Star team all four years.  Coach Christina swam at Loyola University Maryland where she placed in the top 10 for all H2Ounds races. She placed 6th in the 400 free and 9th in the 200 free relay at the 2019 ECAC Championships. She graduated in 2019 with a degree in Mathematics. In 2018, Christina was the recipient of the ALIVE Award which is given to a student who pursues action, loyalty, integrity, values, and excellence as well as the Strong Truths Well Lived award in 2019.

Board of Directors