Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Charles Yourd Head Coach

Coach Yourd is certified by the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) as a Level 5 coach, ranking among the top 2% of ASCA member coaches.  Head Coach from 1998 - 2022, he brought a vision of the possibility of high level success to the community.

Since 1998 he has helped local young people achieve at national and international levels of the sport:

  • 16 athletes developed to USA Swimming National Championships (summer meet):  Anna PeplowskiNoelle Peplowski, Eliot Kennedy, Melissa Pish, Grace Ariola, Justin Wolfe, Jacob Hanson, Lissa Tommerdahl, Lindsay Gendron, Matt Houser, Monica Drake, Caitlin Hamilton, Emily Hanson, Jamie Engan, Colleen McReynolds, Kyle Jackson.
  • The only local athlete to compete at FINA World Championships: Emily Hanson 2009, and 2010 Open Water world championships.
  • The only local athletes to become USA Swimming National Team members since the 1960s: Grace Ariola 2018-2019 season, Emily Hanson 2009-2010, and 2010-2011 seasons.
  • The only local athletes to get on the podium at Nationals - USA Swimming National Championships or Trials meet, (top 8 finish against the best swimmers in the country of all ages): Grace Ariola, Monica Drake, Emily Hanson, Caitlin Hamilton.
  • The only local athletes to compete at FINA World Junior Championships: Grace Ariola 2015 and 2017; Melissa Pish, 2015.
  • The only local athlete to compete at FINA World Junior Open Water Championships: Eliot Kennedy 2016.
  • The only local athlete to compete at Junior Pan Pacific Championships: Grace Ariola 2016.
  • The only local athletes to become a member of USA Swimming National Junior Team: Grace Ariola, 2017-2018, 2016-2017, 2015-2016 seasons; Eliot Kennedy, 2016-2017 season; Melissa Pish, 2015-2016 season; Monica Drake, 2005-2006 season.
  • National Age Group record, Colleen McReynolds, 11-12 800m FS.
  • The only local athletes to be honored as NCAA Division I All American 1st team (top 8 finish at NCAA championships), since the 1960s were developed in the WAVES program: Noelle Peplowski, Indiana; Grace Ariola, Texas; Jacob Hanson, Eastern Michigan; Lindsay Gendron, Tennessee; Monica Drake, Arizona; Caitlin Hamilton, Purdue; Emily Hanson, Michigan.  


  • 8-time Illinois Swimming Senior Coach of the Year: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • Illinois Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year: 2002
  • American Swimming Coaches Association Coach of Excellence: 2018, 2017, 2007

Prior to becoming the WAVES Head Coach, Yourd was an assistant coach with the National squad at the Santa Clara Swim Club, learning from International Swimming Hall of Fame Coach Dick Jochums, and helping them to the 1998 USA Swimming National Championship men's team title.  Athletes in Yourd’s middle distance group at Santa Clara included Tom Wilkens, 2000 Olympic medalist (200 IM) and 1998 USA national champion (200 BS); Tate Blahnik, 1998 ranked 30th in the world (200 BK), and two teenage girls who were sub-1:59 in the 200 yd IM.

As an athlete, Yourd swam at the University of Michigan for USA Olympic Head Coach, Gus Stager.  After being hooked on the sport by coach Rick Han, Yourd was coached as a young swimmer by Olympic 1500m freestyler, Bill Farley (4th at 1964 Tokyo Olympics); by NCAA D-I championships 1650 freestyle finalist Jack Daly; by National High School Team Champion coach Dennis Hill, and by ASCA Hall of Fame coach Jack Simon.  Coach Yourd's vision of the sport was formed by age 8 via his interaction with members of the Ann Arbor Swim Club's 3rd place AAU Nationals women's team coached by RoseMary Dawson (daughter of Matt Mann, 'The greatest coach who ever lived.')  He first purchased and read a swim coaching book at age 13.

Coach Yourd is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a BA in Economics. He enjoys reading out-of-print history books and gardening.

Paul deDianous Coach
Justin deDianous Coach

Justin is a former WAVES athlete, Junior Nationals competitor, and team record holder.  He has one year experience as a scholarship athlete at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and broke team records in the 100 BF and 200 BF.  Justin joined the WAVES coaching staff in August 2019 after three years experience coaching with Puma Aquatics, San Luis Obispo HS JV girls, Harvard swim camp, Longhorn swim camp, and Stanford swim camp.  He received a B.S. degree in Kinesiology with a focus in Exercise Science from Cal Poly in 2019.  Outside of work he likes to run, fish, and watch the occasional cooking show.  He also enjoys a good book now and then. 

Board of Directors