Coaching Staff

Julie Thaden - Head Coach


Julie has over 30 years of head coach experience starting with the Flippers Synchro Club in northeastern Ohio, where she had grown up swimming, then with Indy Synchro from 1986-2002 and again from August 2017 to present. During her time away from Indiana, she spent 12 years in Portland, Oregon as Head Coach of MAC Synchro (the Multnomah Athletic Club,) followed by a 3 year stint in Canada, as the Head Coach of the Olympium Synchronized Swimming Club in Toronto, Ontario. Since her return, her focus has been on rebuilding Indy Synchro by increasing the number and level of our swimmers as well as our coaching staff. 

Julie swam synchro from the age of 8 through her university years in Ohio, where she earned a BS in Recreation & Leisure Services Administration at Kent State University. She then swam masters synchro from 1986-1994, earning gold medals in solo each year at the US Masters Championships and silver at the Pan Pacific Masters Games. Now she is content with just coaching and watching the club develop both in the youth and adult masters programs.

As a member of the National Team pool of coaches between 1993-2010, Julie held various coaching positions at all levels of national team. She’s also placed her athletes on every level of national team, including National Team 1, Team 2, Junior, 13-15 and 12 & under. Her 2010 12U US National Team swept the gold medals at the Pan American Youth Games in LIma, Peru.

As an original faculty member of the USA Artistic Swimming Coaching Certification Program, she has conducted certification courses for other coaches around the US and continues to mentor many of them. She holds the highest level of certification the US currently grants, CCP level 6, and has her SafeSport, Lifeguarding, First Aid and CPR/AED certificates. She has led many national and zone-wide clinics and camps in the US, as well as internationally, in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. As Head Coach, Julie oversees all levels of Indy Synchro. She serves as the Education Chair of the Indiana Artistic Swimming Association and is a USAAS Level 2 Judge.


Ilene Arends - Volunteer Substitute Coach


Ilene was introduced to the sport of synchronized swimming in 1974, during the Oak Park, Michigan summer recreation program.  She swam with the group for the next three summers, cementing her love for the sport.  Ilene spent a season swimming for the Michigan Aquarians, coached by Fran Jones, a famous synchro coach and Hall of Fame member.  Ilene also swam during her Michigan State University years for the Green Splash club.

Upon moving to Indiana, Ilene renewed her interest in the sport when Indianapolis hosted the Pan American Games in 1987. She joined the Indianapolis Synchronettes, the name of the team at that time, and began swimming with the masters (adult) team and helping coach.  Ilene has been involved with local synchronized swimming for the past 35 years.

Ilene has vast experience working with children, having just retired from teaching after 38 years.  She was a teacher for students who are blind or have low vision and is working part time in that field for Alexandria-Monroe Community Schools.  She is also an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 120, the troop in which her son earned his Eagle rank.

Ilene has her SafeSport, First Aid, CPR/AED and Lifeguarding certifications as well as holding a USA Artistic Swimming Level 3 Coach certification. She also serves as a USAAS Level 2 Judge and as the Officials Chair of the Indiana Artistic Swimming Association.  Ilene primarily represents Indy Synchro at competitions as a judge and helps out by substitute coaching when needed. 


Karen Aruta Volunteer Floater Coach

Karen has been involved with the sport of synchronized swimming since 1984. She was an original member of the Indianapolis Synchronettes, which later would became Indy Synchro, swimming for Head Coach, Julie Thaden. She participated in national competitions with the club’s top team before heading to Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where she continued competing on a national collegiate level. Upon graduation, Karen returned to Indianapolis and started coaching with Indy Synchro and has remain involved on and off over the years.

This season she will be a "Floater" Coach, helping wherever needed, but focused on training technical skills for all of the 12U teams and figure skills with the 13 & Over extra routine participants. She is also now a "synchro mom" since her daughter has started with the team this season.

She is a USA Artistic Swimming Level 3 certified coach, a Level 3F judge and has her SafeSport, Lifeguarding, Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED certifications. She also serves as the Technical Chair of the Indiana Artistic Swimming Association. She strives to always be aware of the latest synchro techniques. As a volunteer, Karen brings a very technical expertise to her coaching of all ages and levels. 


Sydney Crane - Seasonal and Summer Camp Coach


Sydney swam with Indy Synchro for seven years during which she competed on a national level. She conducted the Intro to Synchro class program during her senior year in high school and worked our summer camps for several years, including the 2022 camp.

Sydney is pursuing a bachelors in music industry at the University of Southern California. Due to COVID, when her classes were virtual, she coached with Indy Synchro, primarily assisting with the 12U programs.

She is certified in SafeSport, Lifeguarding, Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED. She also has her USA Artistic Swimming Level 2 Coach certification.


Maggie Gill - Volunteer 12U Intermediate Coach and 13 & Over Floater Coach

Maggie has been involved with Indy Synchro since her swimming years, 1985-1993, during which she swam for Head Coach, Julie Thaden. She has coached with the team on and off for these periods: 1995-1997, 2000-2005 and 2020-present. This season she will be the primary coach of the 12U Intermediate Team as well as helping occasionally with the 13 & Over Team, on which her daughter swims. Maggie also swims with our masters team.

Outside of synchro, Maggie loves other water sports, sailing, boating, hanging at the lake and traveling. She loves watching historical fiction and historical documentary shows. She also loves to create delicious charcuterie boards!

Maggie has her SafeSport, Lifeguarding, First Aid and CPR/AED certifications. She also is certified as a USA Artistic Swimming Level 2 Coach.


Julia Grammatico – Masters Co-Coach and Volunteer Substitute Coach

Julia swam on the University of Michigan synchronized swimming team and now swims on our adult masters team. She is a co-coach of the masters with Kristen Wells and is on the sub list of coaches for the youth team. She has her SafeSport, First Aid and CPR/AED certifications as well as the USAAS Level 1 Coach certification.


Maddy Lehmann – 10U Intermediate Team Coach


Maddy has been involved in synchronized swimming since 2009. She swam with Indy Synchro for nine years from age eight; swam one year collegiately for Lindenwood University, and then joined Indy Synchro as a coach in 2018. She has obtained her SafeSport, Lifeguarding, Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED certifications. She is also a USA Artistic Swimming Level 3 Coach and Level 1 Judge.

Maddy has recently graduated from IUPUI with a degree in Sustainability Management and Policy. Along with synchro, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Piper, friends and family, and collecting various different types of houseplants. Maddy loves Indy Synchro as a family and cannot wait to see how everyone improves and grows each season, as well as new faces joining our team. 


Betsy Lynn - Seasonal and Summer Coach

Betsy was introduced to synchronized swimming through a Noblesville Try-It camp the summer of 2012. She swam with Indy Synchro from 2012 up until graduating high school in 2021. She also regularly coached a beginner class and assisted with the 12U intermediate team from 2000-2021. She is now a sophomore at Ball State University majoring in Speech Pathology and minoring in both Spanish and ASL. She still occasionally coaches for Indy Synchro during breaks from school. 

Outside of synchro Betsy has a lot of other experience working in the water and with kids. She worked at a daycare in high school and was a swim instructor for the YMCA and a camp counselor for the JCC this past summer. She currently works as a lifeguard at BSU and will also be teaching swim lessons there. She will be substitute teaching at local schools soon. Betsy also works as a party mermaid through the company AquaMermaid (yes that involves swimming in a mermaid tail!). 

Betsy is certified in SafeSport, Lifeguarding, Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED, and holds her USA Artistic Swimming Level 1 Coach Certification. 


Stacey (Jackson) Patrick - Volunteer Coach



Stacey was introduced to the sport at the age of 2 and was a fixture at the pool with her identical twin sister while her older sister swam and her Mom coached for the Scarlett Knights in Winter Haven, FL. She and her twin sister officially joined the team at age 5, eventually moving to swim for Coach Lorraine Valerino of the Lakeland YMCA Flamingos in Lakeland, FL. During her time there, she won the US Age Group Championships 3 times, medaled many times, and dabbled in the National Team process. She swam her way to a college scholarship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she received her Bachelors in Community Health Educations and Masters Degree in Public Health while competing synchro collegiately. She retired from the sport after 17 years of competing and is forever grateful for what the sport taught her physically, mentally and professionally.

Stacey moved to Indianapolis in 2007 to pursue her professional career. She met her husband, Jeff, shortly after arriving in Indy. They now have 2 kids, busy careers, and a thriving small business. In her spare time, she enjoys anything active- yoga, Pilates, HIIT, weight lifting and cooking! 

Many years ago, she volunteered for a time with Indy Synchro. She says she is "very excited to come back now as a volunteer coach focusing on the development of these fabulous young people- in and out of the pool!" Stacey is currently working on her Coaching Level 1 certification and accompanying Red Cross safety and SafeSport certificates. She will mainly be assisting Julie with the 13 & Over group, but may also be a floater coach.


Sarah Perry Pardue – Volunteer Substitute Coach


Sarah swam synchro for 9 years back in the beginnings of Indy Synchro, with whom she competed on a national level. She was one of Head Coach Julie’s first Indy swimmers. She now swims with our adult masters team and helps out as a substitute coach for the youth team when needed.

Sarah is currently pursuing a graduate degree in occupational therapy at the University of Indianapolis.

Sarah has her SafeSport, Lifeguarding, First Aid and CPR/AED certifications. 


Gwen Ronnau – Floater Coach

Gwen's bio is currently "under construction!" Check back soon.


Kristen Wells – Masters Co-Coach & Substitute Coach


Kristen has been coaching with Indy Synchro since 2014. Her synchro swimming career started as an athlete with the Toledo Flamingo Club in Ohio. Now she swims with our adult masters team and serves as the co-coach and facilitator for this group.

Kristen currently does commercial photography, but is working toward a new profession, with a goal of a new job in the near future. In her spare time, she loves to do crafts and sew. She and her husband are also avid fans of movies and board games.

This season, Kristen primarily serves as a substitute coach with the youth team. She has her SafeSport, First Aid, CPR/AED and Lifeguarding certifications. She is a USA Artistic Swimming Level 2 Coach and a USAAS Level 1 Judge. 


Jasmine Zhang – Novice Coach

Jasmine swam for Indy Synchro from 2015-2018. She progressed to the age group/Junior Olympic level. Throughout that time, she also worked for the Noblesville Parks and Recreation Department’s 3-day Summer Synchro Camp, under the direction of Ilene Arends. 

More recently, Jasmine worked the 2021 Indy Synchro Summer Camp under the direction of Julie Thaden and then volunteered with Indy Synchro during the 2021-2022 season, mainly working with our novice and beginner class swimmers. This season she has joined the staff as our Novice Team Coach. 

She is currently a senior at Carmel High School and some of her many academic achievements include membership in the National Honor Society; being an AP Scholar with Honors and carrying a 4.3/4.0 GPA. She has amassed a large number of volunteer/service hours and is the founder/president of a non-profit called Spice of Life, Inc. which has the mission to provide effective means for better health and lifestyle to senior living community residents. She has over 11 years of piano study and she also works as a swim instructor for the group lessons at the JCC. 

Jasmine has obtained her First Aid, CPR/AED and SafeSport certifications and is currently working on the Coaching Level 1 certification.