Jersey Wahoos Coaching Staff

 

Director of Competitive Swimming -  Paul Donovan

The Jersey Wahoos are pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Donovan as our new Director of Competitive Swimming. In this role Donovan will have responsibility for leading and delivering the complete Wahoo program from lessons to the Senior National group.

Donovan’s immediate background is in performance swimming, having worked as the Head Coach at the National Aquatic Centre Performance Centre for Swim Ireland for eight seasons. During that time athletes under his direct supervision represented Ireland at every level of the sport, including Shane Ryan (Rio Olympic semi-finalist), Barry Murphy (London Olympian, European Bronze medallist 2013) & countless others who broke more than 50 Irish Records during that time and won more than 100 National titles. Donovan himself lead Irish teams to international meets during this time and travelled to competitions across the world on the Junior, European and World stage. His background is in club swimming having been the Head Coach in Trojan SC (Dublin), previously serving at all levels in the club from 10 & unders all the way up to producing athletes representing Ireland on the World stage. In between these two roles Donovan spent the 2007/2008 season as a Volunteer Assistant at the University of Florida.

 

George Breen

George has been an assistant coach of Junior A since 2002, and Jersey Wahoos is honored to have this former world record holder and two-time Olympian on deck. He retired as coach and manager of GCIT and now is here at Wahoos. George’s swimming career began when he entered college at SUNY-Cortland, NY. He joined the swim team because the school didn’t offer rowing (his sport in high school). At Cortland he met legendary coach “Doc” Counsilman, who later coached George at Indiana University while George studied for his master’s degree. Displaying talent in distance swimming, George set his first world record in the 1500-meter freestyle, lowering the existing record by 13 seconds. At the 1956 Olympics in Australia, he lowered his own world record by another 13-seconds (though he did it in prelims!) He won three medals at the ’56 Game – two individual bronze and one relay silver. During the next four years he won 22 US National Championships, set six world records and competed in the 1959 Pan Am Games. At the 1960 Olympics he won a bronze medal in the 1500 free. George later served as manager of the 1975 Pan Am swim team and the 1980 Olympic swim Team. His vast coaching experience includes Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Swim Team, Team Delaware, and GCIT swim team. George has headed a myriad of swimming organizations such as American Swimming Coaches Association and the USA Olympic International Committee. He is an inductee into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. In 2010 he was inducted into the Great Buffalo Hall of Fame recently he was also inducted into the Bishop Timon High School Hall of Fame. He also is the recipient of many other honors, including the US Swimming Award. 

 

Bruce Brockschmidt

Bruce has coached at Wahoos since 1990, and is the head coach of Junior A1. Bruce was a former outstanding Wahoos swimmer who held the Jersey Wahoos Open Long Course record for the 200 IM. for 25 years until it was broken in 2013. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where he majored in exercise science. Bruce specialized in the 400 IM. and swam both the 400 and 200 IM. in the 1988 Olympic Trials. He presently trains with the Masters program. He won the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, a 4.4-mile swim across Chesapeake Bay in 2004 & 2006. Bruce was nominated for the 2016 & 2017 ASCA National Age Group Coach of the Year.

 

Jeff Clemens

Jeff has been a coach of the Masters’ group at Wahoos since 1995. Jeff is an original Jersey Wahoo who started the sport as a Sea Jay in 1970. His successful swimming career includes competing in AAU, USS, high school and summer club meets. His 13-14 Boys butterfly record in the Tri-County Swim League was one of the oldest standing records in the league. Jeff has taught swimming lessons and stroke mechanics at Wahoos, and has coached all groups from Junior B on up. Jeff is Married to Karen Clemens.

 

Karen Clemens

Karen began coaching in 1976 when Hugh Merkle gave her the opportunity to work with young swimmers at the Gloucester County YMCA. Also in the summer of 1976, she was hired as the head coach of Ramblewood Swim Club. Karen coached in the summers from 1976 to 1990 with Ramblewood, Woodstream, Haddontowne and Deer Brook. She began coaching at Wahoos in 1981 and has been the head coach of Mini A, Junior B, Junior A and for twenty-five years, Junior A-1. She was honored as Middle Atlantic Age Group Coach of the Year four times. At the present time she is an assistant on Junior A-1 and the Safe Sport Coordinator. Karen has been teaching since 1981 and presently is the Department Chair of HPE at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School. Karen has completed 17 marathons, four-time qualifier for Boston and numerous triathlons from sprint to the Ironman Distance. She is married to Masters coach Jeff Clemens.

 

Allison Delany

​Allison is an assistant coach for Mini A. For the past eight years, she served as the head swim coach for the KATZ JCC Swim Team. In the summer, Allison is the head swim coach at Barclay Farm Swim Club, and recently lead the team to a division winning season. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from York College where she was a member of the women's swim team, focusing primarily in the distance freestyle events.  She also has her special education certification and is working on completing her masters degree in this area from Rowan University. Allison is the kindergarten teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Maple Shade.

 

John DiCarlo

John is in his first season coaching the Senior A group and is a former Wahoos swimmer.  John swam for Bishop Eustace for 4 years, was captain his senior year and swam for The Catholic University of America.  He is a first time head coach at Camden Catholic High school coaching both boys and girls teams.  John is owner of DiCarlo Landscaping and Lawn Service LLC.

 

Joe Fitzgerald

Joe is currently a senior at Temple University where he is looking to complete his BA in Accounting with a minor in Management Information Systems and Education. At Temple University, he is the President/Coach of the Club Swim Team and also a 2-time qualifier for Collegiate Club Nationals. He is looking to finish his career with Temple with the plan to acquire his Master’s in Education. Joe graduated from Father Judge High School in Northeast Philadelphia in 2015. He was a 4-year varsity swimmer, and a member of the All-Catholic team his Junior and Senior year. He was elected Captain his senior year and transitioned into an assistant coach for Father Judge High School and St. Hubert's High School under Ed Quarry in 2016, and 2017. Joe is currently an assistant coach at Pomona Swim Club in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. At Pomona, he swam for 13 years and now has coached for 3 years with Danielle Willard, George Willard, and Kim McGonigle.

 

Chris Gaffney

Chris started coaching at Wahoos in the fall of 2015. A former swimmer at Wahoos, Chris went on to swim at Southern Illinois University from 2006-2010 where he achieved Senior National qualifications and was part of the 2010 All-MAC Team. Chris was voted Team Captain for SIU for 3 years and also was awarded the SIU Swimming and Diving Saluki Pride Award both his Freshman and Senior seasons.

A swim coach for 12 years now, Chris comes with a boatload of coaching experience from a variety of levels and parts of the world. He has been a Head Coach at numerous Tri-County swim clubs including Old Orchard, Pheasant Run and Pomona. Upon receiving his B.S. Degree in Physical Education, he went on to be the Graduate Assistant Swimming and Diving Coach for SIU the next 2 seasons while earning his M.S.Ed Degree in Kinesiology with a specialized focus in Sport Psychology.

After college, Chris was the Assistant High Performance Swim Coach, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, and Physical Education Teacher at the British International School in Phuket, Thailand. Some of his achievements include having athletes represented and/or qualify for the Youth Olympic Games, Southeast Asian Games, the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, 2016 FINA World Championships in Doha, and having 2 athletes selected to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. During his time at BISP, his athletes broke a total of 66 National Records across Southeast Asia.

Chris has a Silver License Coaching Certification from the Australian Swim Coaches and Teachers Association (ASCTA), is an ASCA Level 4 Coach, and has been a Personal Trainer for 12 years. He was also a presenter at the 2015 Southeast Asia Heads of Physical Education Conference in Phuket, Thailand. He has a strong background in Sports Nutrition and Exercise Science. He will be the Assistant Coach for Senior A2 this season. Chris is also a Physical & Health Education Teacher at Samuel M. Ridgway Middle School. 

 

Lisa Gutekunst

Lisa coached Training Camp here at Wahoos from 1998-2003. Took a nine year hiatus and returned in 2013 as assistant coach to TCII. Lisa swam high school at Vineland High School, then went on to swim at William Patterson University. Currently Lisa swims with the Masters her at Wahoos. When not at Wahoos she loves spending time with her husband Wayne and their sons at the beach.

 

Rich Henderson

Rich is a former Wahoos swimmer who is returning to the pool deck after an 8 year hiatus from the sport. He is the head coach of the JRA2 group and assists with JRA1 and SRA3. He has coached for Woodbine and Meadowbrook Swim Clubs as well as Camden Catholic High School. In 2008 he shifted his focus to coaching crew, the sport he competed in while at Clemson University. While swimming and rowing are quite different, they do both require a regimented approach to training, commitment to technique, and unrelenting motivation and encouragement. Rich teaches Special Education at Camden Catholic High School. He and his wife Rachel have three children - Gabriel, Lucy, and Cecilia - and a bulldog named Stella. Gabe is a Wahoo swimmer who competes in the summer for Tavistock.

 

Todd Hutchinson 

Todd is a former Wahoos swimmer who has coached at Wahoos since 1990. He has is currently helping Senior A. Todd previously has assisted with Training Camps 1 and 2, and Junior A1. He is a University of Delaware and Thomas Jefferson University graduate and was the captain of the swim team. He has also coached Riverdel Swim Club, and helped at Wedgewood Swim Club. He is a physical therapist and lives in Haddon Township with his wife Amy, and his children Drew, Shelby, and Cali.

 

Doug Mann

Doug works with the training camp I group. Doug is a certified athletic trainer and associate professor in health and exercise science at Rowan University. Doug holds a doctorate in physical education from Springfield College. He has authored several articles and textbooks related to physical education, strength and conditioning, and athletic injury. Doug is a former competitive triathlete having completed over 20 triathlons.

 

Amanda Martin

Amanda coached at Wahoos from the late 80’s through the 90’s working primarily with the 8 and under groups (Mini A and TC II). She came back in the late 2011 to help assist with the swim team prep groups. This is her second year as head coach of the Sterling Jr AB2 group. Amanda is currently working on attaining her ASCA (American Coaches Swimming Association) Level 1 and Level 2 certifications. Amanda’s main philosophy as a coach is to teach the fundamentals and mechanics of swimming early so that coaches don’t have to correct a bad stroke later on in a swimmer’s career. The main emphasis of the Jr AB2 group is mechanics first so that speed and endurance have a foundation to build upon when the swimmer becomes bigger and stronger. Amanda swam at Wahoos under Hugh Merkle and was a high school All-American. She swam at Southern Illinois University becoming a 13 time Division 1 All-American and Olympic Trials qualifier.

 

Kim McGonigle

Kim started at Wahoos in 2015, as assistant coach to Senior Prep. Kim is a seventh grade teacher in Delran. She is the head swim coach at Delran High School. Kim has coached at Riverdel Swim Club and Woodcrest Swim Club. Currently, she is an assistant coach at Pomona. 

 

Allyson Mitidieri

Allyson is a former Wahoos swimmer who qualified for Junior Nationals in the breaststroke. Her senior year at Cherry Hill West, Allyson was team captain. Allyson attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Allyson was an All-American in 2012-2014 while swimming at IUP. She set the IUP team records in the 100 & 200 breast and the 200 & 400 IM.

 

Ann Rychlik

Ann coaching since 2004 is the head of the Pre Team. In the past Ann has been the head coach for the Pre Teams and Training Camp I and assistant for Mini A, Jr B1, and JR A. Ann swam competitively for Wahoos from age 6-18 and also was a member of the Junior National Team. Ann swam at the University of Connecticut where she majored in political science and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. She is currently vice principle at Shawnee High School.

 

Erin Sheehan

Erin is a former Wahoos swimmer who has been the assistant coach of Mini/Jr B, Junior AB2, and Junior A2 since 2015. She swam at Rowan University where she earned a BA in History. She also has BSN and is currently an RN for Bayada Home Care. Erin has been a coach at Stratford Swim Club for the past 18 years. Erin and her husband have 4 children, Kailey, Braden, Reagan, and Shaelin.

 

Liz Spanfelner

Liz swam for Jersey Wahoos for 10 years. She continued her swimming career at The College of New Jersey. During her senior year she was elected captain of the Women’s swim team. Through her four years at TCNJ Women’s swimming and diving were NJAC champions. Liz graduated with a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education and English. She is currently a Reading Specialist for K-2 students in Hammonton, NJ. Liz hopes to continue her passion for swimming through coaching. She previously coached for Eastern Express and was head coach of Hopewell Valley Swim and Tennis’ summer team. This is her second season with Jersey Wahoos Pre-Teams and Jr.Prep groups

 

Kathleen Thompson

Kathy swam for Jersey Wahoos for 10 years and then went on to swim for Rowan University. She was an Academic All-American in the 200 Breast and 400 IM; and Team Captain her Junior and Senior Years. Kathy also taught swimming lessons for Jersey Wahoos for 10 years and coached the Pre-Team.  During college, Kathy coached TNT Swimming at Rowan University and Larchmont Swim Team in Mount Laurel.  Kathy and her husband Matt have 2 children, Charlotte and Parker.

 

Jim Villa

Jim has coached at Wahoos since 1993 as head coach of Junior A, now entering his fifth season as Jr B1 Head Coach, and his sixteenth season as a National Team assistant coach. Jim has swum in the Delaware Valley area since he was an age grouper, under the coaching of George Breen. At the University of South Carolina Jim captained the swim team for two seasons and held records in butterfly and medley relays. He earned “Gamecock of the Meet” honors twice for his performances at conference championships. He received his master’s degree in physical education in 1976. Jim spent many years coaching USA and college-level teams nationwide before returning to Wahoos in 1993. He is currently instructing over 350 Wahoos athletes. Jim is also head coach of the Wedgewood Swim Club. Along with coaching from former Wahoos athletes Dana Stone and James Villa, Wedgewood won their third straight A division Championship, and the Tri-County Championships. 

 

Chris Waggoner

Chris has been coaching at Jersey Wahoos since 1993. He is currently the head coach of Mini A and Assistant coach of Junior A. Chris was also the Middle Atlantic Zone All Star Team Head Coach for four years in 1998-2001. He also served as the Middle Atlantic Age Group Chairman from 1998-2001. Most recently, he served as the 10/under Zone Team manager in 2015 and Long Course Zone Coach during the summers of 2015 and 2017. He is a 1996 graduate of Temple University and 2007 graduate of Rider University, where he received his Master’s degree in Special Education. He is a 1st grade inclusion teacher in the Pemberton Township School District. Chris and his wife, Gwen, have three children, Allie, Maddie, and Gabe. When not on the pool deck, Chris enjoys fishing, bike riding, drinking Starbucks coffee, and driving to Disney World.

 

Gwen Waggoner

Gwen first started coaching with Jersey Wahoos back in the early 2000’s, took a break to raise a family, and returned again in 2015. Gwen achieved four NJ High School State event titles and qualified for Senior Nationals. Gwen has both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia, where she was an All American swimmer and an ACC Champion for the Cavaliers. She had the most exciting opportunity to coach for Jersey Wahoos at the 2016 Olympic Trials! Gwen hopes that all swimmers aspire towards greatness and work hard to meet and exceed all of their goals and ambitions! She is entering her 21st year of teaching adapted physical education and is the Head Coach of the Pennsauken High School Unified Sports teams. Gwen and her husband, Chris, have 3 children, Allie, Maddie and Gabe. As a family, they enjoy fishing, biking, Starbucks, and anything Disney & UVA.

 

David Washick

Dave graduated from Rowan University, where he also swam, with a BA in History. His swimming experiences began when he was 8 years old swimming for the Kingston Estates Seals, and include winning a state championship with Cherry Hill West. David is also a Fire fighter/EMT-B for the Borough of Haddonfield and an EMT-B for Cherry Hill.

 

Danielle Willard

Danielle is an assistant coach for Mini A and the head coach of Training Camp 2. In the summer she is the head coach of the Pomona Dolphins Swim Team in the Tri-County swimming league.   Danielle swam with the Masters group and competed in may open water swims and triathlons. She is a graduate from Lebanon Valley College. In College she was a three sport athlete and was recently inducted into their Hall of Fame. During the school year she teaches 7th and 8th grade special education in Palmyra. Danielle lives in Delran with her husband George and their daughter Campbell and 2 sons George and Sam.

 

George Willard

Coach George grew up in South Jersey and swam for both Jersey Wahoos and Riverdel Swim Club. As a swimmer he set numerous club, Tri-County, and Middle Atlantic Swimming records. George was a BCSL first team all-star all four years of high school and a Junior National and Senior National championship finalist. Coach George was a letterman and ACC scholar athlete at Florida State University. He was captain of the FSU team in 1993. He is now in his 30th year of coaching.

His first coaching job came for the Willingboro Park League while in high school. While in college Coach George assisted in the running of the Nike Swim Camps at Florida State and coached the Maclay School of Tallahassee.

While earning a Master’s degree at the University of West Florida Coach George served as head age group coach and Masters Team coach of the Greater Pensacola Aquatic Club (GPAC). There he coached several Southeastern Swimming Champions and NAG TOP 16 swimmers. During this time he served as a zone All-Star coach for Southeastern Swimming. While still in Pensacola he coached Washington High School to a state AAA  district championship , several individual district AAA champions and Florida State Championships finalists.

Upon returning to New Jersey, Coach George returned to coaching at Jersey Wahoos and Wexford Leas of the Tri-County League. While with Wexford Coach George’s teams earned two division titles and swam to a 19-6 record in five years. Swimmers under Coach George also set several Tri-County records and earned several gold medals. Following hs time at Wexford, Coach George spent 4 seasons with Woodbine of the Tri-County Swimming Association. In 2014 Coach George joined the staff at Pomona. As assistant coach Pomona achieved a 19-1 record, won three division championships, a Burlington County Championship and Tri-County Championship.  In 13 years of coaching tri-county swimming he has a 48-17 record as head and assistant coach. During this time George served as National Team assistant coach and Senior Prep head coach at Jersey Wahoos.

In the Winter of 2014-15, George left Wahoos and coached St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia. His team went 9-3 placing second in the Philadelphia Catholic League. During his first season 9 swimmers made first team All- PCL and 4 swimmers made Scholastic All- America.

In 2015, George returned to Jersey Wahoos to work with senior level swimmers. He has been the head coach of the senior group at the now three year old Voorhees satellite program. He grew the program from 13 swimmers to a group of 40, consisting of four NCSA Junior National qualifiers and over 30 Middle Atlantic Senior Championship qualifiers last season.

Coach George lives with his wife, Danielle , and children, Campbell, George and Sam in Delran. He has taught in the Maple Shade School District since 2001.