Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Ellen Johnston Head Coach
Ellen, who was named Head Coach in the spring of 2012, celebrated 30 years with the Water Rat Swim Team in 2016. Ellen joined the team in November 1986 as an assistant coach, working with swimmers at every level in the program. She quickly became a full-time assistant coach and was promoted to Senior Coach in 1990. Prior to working in Westport, Ellen coached at the Bulldog Swim Club in Bowie, Maryland, where she was the Senior II and Head Age Group Coach. She also coached all levels of the South Carolina Aquatic Team in Columbia. Ellen was named YMCA National Coach of the Year in 2015.  She also has been named Connecticut Senior Coach of the Year twice and was nominated for the honor again in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Ellen strives to help her swimmers mature as individuals as they progress from the age group to senior level and she encourages them to challenge themselves physically and mentally every day.
Adam King Head Junior Coach
Adam is the Head Junior Coach.  Adam is a teacher from New Rochelle and began his coaching career in 1998.  He has worked in all facets of the swimming world: summer club, high school and USA club coaching.  Adam spent 10 years as a Junior Team coach at Badger Swim Club, and he has also been coaching New Rochelle HS Varsity boys and girls teams since 2000.  Adam exhibits tremendous rapport, knowledge and patience with his athletes, and he is a great asset to all programs of the Water Rats.  
Robert Urban Head Developmental Coach
Level 3;2 (High School; USA) ASCA Certification
Rob, who joined the Water Rat coaching staff in spring of 2015, currently serves as our Head Developmental Coach. Rob's main practice group is Discovery II, where he transitions swimmers comming out of the 8/under program- which he also oversees. Rob previously served as the Head Coach of the Stratford YMCA (BSY) Swim Team from 2012-2015. During the summer, Rob is the Head Coach at the Black Rock Yacht Club, which competes in Division 5 of the Fairfield County Swim League (FCSL). He also coaches boys High School swimming at Fairfield Prep, where he serves as the Head Assistant Coach. Rob loves working with swimmers of all ages and abilities. In Rob’s free time he enjoy sports such as softball, and cheers for both the New York Jets and Mets.
Omar Cruz Assistant Senior Coach
Level 3 ASCA Certification
Omar joins the Water Rat family as an assistant with the senior practice groups.  Most recently, Omar spent 15 years as Head Coach with the Zeus Swim Team where he has had much success on a local, regional, and national level.  Omar left ZEUS as he has become managing partner of Executive Real Estate Premier Properties, a real estate business in Westport.  Helping with the senior team a couple of days a week allows Omar to continue to follow his passion of coaching, but also to spend the time needed to be successful with his real estate business and more importantly, to spend time with his family.
Kristen Finnegan Associate Age Group Coach

Level 3 ASCA Certification
2015, 2016 Connecticut Zone Team Coach
Kristen, who joined the Water Rat coaching staff in 2012, currently serves as the Lead Coach for our Discovery I group and works with our senior group. Kristen previously served as the Head 8/Under Coach and head of the team's pre-competitive programs. She started working at the Family Y in 2006 as a swim instructor, spending eight summers working at the Y’s Hafaday swim program. In 2015 Coach Kristen was selected as a member of the Connecticut Zone Team Coaching Staff, which she served on for 2 years. Kristen was also an assistant coach with the Staples High School Girls' team for 3 years and currently serves as the Assistant Swim Coach with Sacred Heart University.
Kristen is a 2011 graduate of St. John’s University with a degree in Biology. She began swimming competitively at the age of six and continues to train with the Water Rat Masters and competes annually at YMCA Masters Nationals Championships.

Sara Mesavage 8/Under Coach
Sara Mesavage has been involved in the sport of swimming her entire life. She began swimming for the Stratford YMCA at the age of three and continued on the team until she was 18. She also swam for the Bunnell High School bulldogs. While in high school, she gained her first years of coaching experience at the Stratford YMCA with developmental swimmers. Upon graduating, Sara attended the University of Vermont where she studied English Literature, as well as the University of Kent in Canterbury, England with the Buckingham Overseas Program. She has a MAT from Sacred Heart University and is currently teaching for the Milford Public School district. Sara has coached with the Trumbull Pisces and the Park City Wolfpack, concentrating in developmental and pre-team programs. In her spare time, Sara enjoys spending time with her family, travelling back to England, yoga, and snuggling with her Siberian husky, Snowy.
Marta Taddeo Assistant Coach

Level 4 ASCA Certification
Marta coached with the Water Rats from 2003-2010 and recently returned to the team in 2016. She coaches with the Discovery 3, Challenger 2, and Senior 3 groups. Growing up she swam with the Badger Swim Club in NY and swam competitively through college at Case Western Reserve University. She recently rejoined competitive swimming through Masters and attends Masters YMCA Nationals with the Westport Y team each spring. She has additional experience coaching with Country Club, High School, and College Club Swimming. Marta has 2 Masters degrees in science and recently completed her PhD in Biochemistry from UMASS Lowell. She teaches Chemistry courses part-time at Fairfield University but enjoys still being involved in coaching swimming with the WRATS. Her outside hobbies include training for triathlon, playing video games, ballroom dancing, and tinkering with mechanical devices including her car.

Michele Koubeck Assistant Coach
Michelle joined the coaching staff in the Spring of 2019, working with our 8/unders and 9/10 and 11/12 year olds.  She has a degree in Math from Carnegie Mellon, and then worked at Intel Corporation in Santa Clara before staying at home to raise her three children. Michelle swam and competed at all levels of swimming including with a club, in High School, College and at the Masters level including open water swims.  Michelle was a USA swimming official for 11 years and is currently a High School Swim official for Fairfield County, Certified Masters coach, USA Swim Coach and runs the swim fit group at the Y.
Rich Carter Assistant Senior Coach
Rich joined the Water Rat Coaching staff the Spring of 2019, working mainly with the Senior Group. Rich is a native of New Canaan who swam for the Water Rats from 1988 to 1996 under coach Ellen Johnston. During his swimming career he set multiple team and state records on the way to becoming an Eastern Zone champion and Y National finalist. He began his coaching career with the St. Croix Dolphins Swim Team before becoming the head swimming and water polo coach at Canterbury School in New Milford, CT. Under coach Carter’s guidance saints swimmers broke twenty three school records over four seasons.Rich attended Villanova University where he was a standout defenseman for the Wildcats division I lacrosse program. He is currently the assistant coach for the Ireland Men’s National Lacrosse Team and just completed his tenure as head boys varsity coach at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, FL. He continues to compete in open water and triathlon events. Rich and his wife Leslie reside in New Canaan.
Jamie Gremp Assitant 8/Under Coach
Jamie joined the Water Rats in the Fall of 2009.  Jamie has had a a lot of coaching experience prior to joining the Water Rats.  Following a swimming career in high school at the Badger Swim Club and college at Fordham University, where she graduated in 2004, Jamie coached at American University in Washington, D.C. from 2004-2005, University of Connecticut from 2005-2006, Missouri State University from 2007-2009 and then at the College of New Rochelle from 2009-2013.  Jamie has also coached at several summer clubs, in New York and Connecticut over the years.  Jamie brings her many years of coaching experience to our 8/under group, primarily working with the Blue team but also helping out with the Red Group. 
Colleen Carroll Pre-competitive White Group Coach
Colleen joined the Water Rats Family in 2019 as the lead coach of the pre competitive White Team. She also serves as the Assistant Aquatics Director and the head coach for the WRAT Masters team here at the Y. Colleen has experience coaching all ages and abilities, including age group, high school and Masters swimmers, but her main focus is working with developmental swimmers. Colleen has recently been working as the head developmental coach for the Trumbull Pisces from 2013 –fall 2019. During her time with the Pisces, she also was the head coach of the Masters team for the Woodruff Family YMCA from 2014-2016, and was selected as a member of the Connecticut Zone Team for the long course season of 2017 and 2018. Colleen was also the assistant coach for the Trumbull High School girls’ swim team in 2018. She is originally from Newtown, CT and grew up swimming at the Stratford Y as well as for the Newtown Torpedoes, and competed at both club and collegiate levels throughout her career.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from Southern Connecticut State University, and in her free time enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends, including her Golden Retriever, Griffin.
Adrienne Williams Team Administrator
Adrienne's current role is as the Team Administrator.  She is involved in team registration, meet management, team apparel orders, communications between swim families, the coaching staff, and Y staff, and maintaining the team's website.  She served as Co-President of the Westport Water Rats Parents' Club from September 2011 to August 2014. She served as the Meet Chair from September 2009 – August 2011 and helped managed and planned all aspects of team-hosted swim meets working with the Head Coach and meet managers.  Adrienne’s children grew up with the Water Rats program and one of them swam in college.  Adrienne has her Law Degree from George Washington University and B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She practiced law for thirteen years before staying at home to raise her children and becoming a swim mom.
Board of Directors