Greater Joliet Area YMCA
Illinois Swimming
Level 2

The JETS are proud of our highly experienced and knowledgeable staff, whose passion and enthusiasm shines at every practice. Our coaches work hard to develop confidence, nurture impactful relationships, and teach the right technique, mindset and leadership skills that will make each swimmer successful in and out of the pool. Learn more about our coaches below!

Director of Competitive Aquatics #

Dave Hedden

Dave Hedden

Coach Dave’s Y story starts at the Smith Family YMCA, then known as the Briggs Street YMCA, where he learned to swim as a baby and later swam with the JETS from age 12 to 18. After graduating, Dave went on to coach the JETS for 18 years--6 years as a part-time assistant and 11 years as full-time head coach--before moving to New York in 2017. During his time as the Director of Competitive Swimming with the JETS, Dave oversaw continual growth in program numbers, expansion to 4 practice sites, and continual improvement in performance and ranking at the state and national level. He has coached numerous state champions, state record holders, team record holders and YMCA National finalists in addition to USA Junior National qualifiers. Dave's leadership also extended through his work with the Illinois YMCA state committee and YMCA National Committee.

While in New York from 2017-2021, Dave was the Head Age Group Coach with the Condors Swim Club, a Bronze/Silver medal club just outside of New York City. While he learned a lot through his work with the Condors, and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenery and all the things to do around New York, Dave ultimately found his way back home to the JETS in 2021.

Dave has a strong passion for preparing kids for success by teaching the right technique, mindset and practice habits. He believes that success rests upon a foundation of strong relationships and self-confidence. Dave focuses intently on building a sense of community, and is most proud of the success his athletes experience, in and out of the pool, well beyond the time they spend with him.

Dave graduated Lewis University in 2004 with a Major in Mathematics and Minor in Secondary Education. While at Lewis, he served as the Undergraduate Assistant Swim Coach for two seasons. Dave is a Life-Plus member of the American Swimming Coaches Association, Level 3 certified.

In his spare time, Dave enjoys playing piano, bass and guitar, writing and recording music, and coding. He also loves spending time with his wife, Susan, doing things like hiking, biking, skiing, camping and line dancing.

Administrative Coach

Marissa Solis

Marissa Solis

Coach Marissa started swimming when she was 9 years old, and swam for the JETS for nearly 9 years. She also swam varsity for Joliet Township High School all 4 years. Since 2012, Marissa has been coaching a diverse range of swimmers from novice to top 10 finishers at the Age Group and YMCA state level. Marissa has been coaching with JETS since 2015. She is currently an ASCA level 2 coach. She also has experience coaching the Central Zones Diversity meet for Team Illinois and is involved with the Illinois Swimming Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Marissa is very passionate about coaching, where her philosophy is to have fun and enjoy swimming, not only as a sport but to make lifelong friends. In her spare time, Marissa loves swimming and exercising, listening to music, reading, photography and watching true crime shows. Marissa has two daughters named Savannah and Scarlett.

Lead Site Coach - Avery

Alyssa Vallejo

Alyssa Vallejo

Coach Alyssa swam on the JETS for eight years, and also swam for Joliet West High School for four seasons. She remembers her time swimming with JETS very fondly, making many friends along the way and loving the competition. Her favorite stroke was breaststroke.

Alyssa started coaching with the JETS in the spring of 2015. She brings a lot of energy, positivity and creativity to the pool deck. "It is important that every swimmer is having fun and working together as a team." In addition to coaching, she also worked at the Joliet Park District for five years teaching swim lessons, managing lessons, and lifeguarding. She graduated from Joliet Junior College with an associates degree in arts.

Alyssa has a goofy side and loves to let out her inner creativity through drawing, painting, crafting, and many other techniques. She also enjoys playing video games, swimming for fun, and...eating (she loves food so much, she considers it a hobby!).

Lead Site Coach - Avery

Jessica Crnich

Jessica Crnich

Coach Jessie began swimming competitively at the age of 11 on the JETS. She continued swimming through high school at Lincoln-Way. She was the breaststroke leg of the 200 medley relay that placed 10th in state in 2000. After not swimming competitively in college, she returned to the pool to swim with the Naperville masters swimming club. She participated in the Big Shoulders 5k swim race in Lake Michigan in 2009. Jessie also taught swim lessons at Lockport Township from the age of 15 to 24. She coached on numerous teams prior to having kids, including Plainfield High School Girl's JV Swim Team, Assistant Coach at Naperville YMCA, and Head Coach for the Lemont Dolphins.

Jessie believes that each child should have a fond and memorable swim experience while improving their technique, strength and endurance. Jessie graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics with a teacher's certification. Prior to her third child, she was a high school math teacher. Currently, she is self employed as a math tutor. When Jessie can find the time, she enjoys hiking, camping, reading celebrity gossip and running. Jessie has 4 children, all who she homeschools. Her three eldest currently swim for the JETS. Coach Jessie is our lead group coach for the Zeppelins.

Lead Site Coach - Galowich

Heather Barry

Heather Barry

Bio will be added soon.

Assistant Coach

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Emily Pickett

Coach Emily started swimming at age 10 for the YMCA Westside Silver Fins in Arizona, and went on to swim for Lewis University in college where she served as a team captain her senior year. Some of her proudest moments during her swimming career include competing at YMCA Nationals and also the NCAA Division II National Championships.

Emily started coaching for the YMCA summer league when she was 14 years old. Before joining the JETS staff in fall of 2021, she coached the Lemont Dolphins and also worked with Special Olympics at Lewis.

Emily says this about her coaching philosophy: "My coaching philosophy is detail oriented. I'm a huge believer that the little things in practice from streamlines to proper kick technique is what makes us great!"

Emily is currently a graduate assistant at Lewis in the office of Residence Life. She graduated from Lewis with her undergraduate degree in 2020 and is currently pursuing a masters degree in school counseling.

In her free time, Emily is a big reader and loves to hike, explore new places and go on road trips.

Assistant Coach

Beth Senese

Beth Senese

Coach Beth swam for the JETS for 10 years, and was a college swimmer for 2 years at Lewis University. With the JETS, she was a 4-time YMCA National Team member in the breaststroke events. Beth comes from a whole family of breaststrokers who she shares a lot in common with. All of the Senese kids were long-time JETS swimmers, YMCA National qualifiers in breaststroke events and also swam, or currently swim, at Lewis University.

Beth began coaching with the JETS in the fall of 2014. "My number one goal is to always make sure the kids are having fun. I focus a lot on technique development and education on healthy habits while maintaining a fun environment."

Beth graduated from Lewis University with a BS in Chemistry and a minor in Biology. She currently teaches for the Lockport School District and also coaches the Lockport High School water polo team.

In her free time, Beth enjoys watching movies, sewing, and of course swimming.

Junior Assistant Coach

Ryan Rajaballey

Ryan Rajaballey

Bio to be added soon.