Coaching Staff

Julie Thaden - Head Coach

 

Julie has over 30 years of head coach experience starting with the Flippers Club in northeastern Ohio, then with Indy Synchro from 1986-2002 and again from August of 2017 to present. During her time away from Indiana, she spent 12 years in Portland, Oregon as Head Coach of MAC Synchro (Multnomah Athletic Club,) followed by a 3 year stint in Canada, as Head Coach of the Olympium Synchronized Swimming Club in Toronto, Ontario. Since coming back, she has been working on rebuilding Indy Synchro.

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 synchronized swimming from 1986-1994, earning national gold medals in solo each year and silver at the Pan Pacific Masters Games in Indianapolis.

As a long-time member of the National Team pool of coaches, 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, Junior, 13-15 and 12 & under.

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 them. She holds the highest level of certification the US currently grants, CCP level 6, and has her SafeSport, First Aid and CPR certificates. She has led many national and zone-wide clinics and camps in the US, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. As Head Coach, Julie overseeing all levels of Indy Synchro. She also serves as the Education Chair of the Indiana Synchronized Swimming Association.

 

Ilene Arends - Volunteer 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 32 years, including both Indy Synchro and a club she founded, the Shooting Stars, which later merged with Indy Synchro.  

Ilene has her SafeSport, First Aid, CPR and Lifeguardingcertifications as well as holding a USA Artistic Swimming Level 3 certification. She also serves as a Level 3 Judge and as the Officials Chair of the Indiana Synchronized Swimming Association.  Introducing new swimmers to the sport is her primary focus. She is the primary coach of the Novice Team.

 

Kristen Wells – Assistant Coach & Masters Coach

  

Kristen has been coaching with Indy Synchro for 7 years. 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 at the lead coach and facilitator for this group.

Kristen serves as a floater with the youth team, helping wherever needed, plus she coaches our 16 & Over soloist. She has her SafeSport, First Aid, CPR and Lifeguarding certifications. She is a USA Artistic Swimming Coaching Certification Level 2 Coach and a Level 1 Judge. 

 

Maddy Lehmann – Assistant Coach

   

Maddy has been involved in synchronized swimming for thirteen years. She swam with Indy Synchro for nine years since age eight; swam one year collegiately for Lindenwood University, and is now on her third season of coaching with Indy Synchro. She has obtained her Level 1 Coaching Certification Program (CCP 1) through USA Artistic Swimming, as well as obtaining SafeSport, Red Cross First Aid and CPR certifications. She is currently working on her CCP 2 certification. She also serves as a USAAS Level 2 judge.

Maddy studies Sustainability Policy and Management at IUPUI. She also works in customer service at Lowes and has her own dog-sitting business. Maddy loves Indy Synchro as a family and cannot wait to see how everyone improves and grows this season. She works mainly with the 13 & Over programs.

 

Sydney Crane – Assistant Coach, 12U programs

  

Sydney swam with Indy Synchro for sevenyears during which she competed on a national level. She is certified in SafeSport, Red Cross First Aid and CPR. She also has her USA Artistic Swimming Coaching Certification Program Level 1 certification (CCP 1).

Sydney conducted the Intro to Synchro class program during her senior year in high school and worked our summer camps for several years. Last fall she coached for Indy Synchro before starting the winter/spring semester at the University of Southern California, where she is pursuing a bachelors in music industry. Due to COVID-19, she’s home attending virtual classes, during which she is coaching as an assistant with the 12U programs.

Julia Grammatico – Masters 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 certifications and is pursuing her Coaching Level 1 certification.

 

Sarah Perry Pardue – Volunteer Substitute Coach

   

Sarah swam synchro for 9 years back in the beginnings of Indy Synchro. 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. She has her SafeSport, First Aid, CPR and Lifeguarding certifications. 

 

 

Karen Aruta Volunteer Coach

Karen has been involved with the sport of synchronized swimming for 35 years. 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. She is a USA Artistic Swimming Level 3 certified coach, a Level 3F judge and has her SafeSport, Red Cross First Aid and CPR certifications. She also serves as the Technical Chair of the Indiana Synchronized 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.