AQUAJETS' COACHING STAFF

Aquajets' coaches are here to support your needs!
If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact your swimmer's lead coach. For all questions related to administration, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please email swim@aquajets.com.

 

KATE LUNDSTEN
Head Coach & Head Senior/National Groups Coach

Junior 3, Senior group, National Team

 

Kate joined the Aquajets Swim Team as Head Coach in 2004. In her current role, she is also the Board Chair of Newjets, Inc., the non-profit parent organization of the Aquajets. Coach Kate swam competitively for 10 years and has been a USA Swimming coach for over 20 years. On multiple occasions, she has been selected as an assistant coach for the USA National and USA Junior National Teams. Most recently, Coach Kate was named Head Women's Coach for Team USA at the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships, and has served on Team USA coaching staffs for the 2018 Junior Pan Pacs Championships and the 2019 Pan Am Games.

 

Prior to her position at Aquajets, Kate was a 10-year head coach for the Eden Prairie High School Girls’ Swim Team—winning four state titles! Kate has been the recipient of numerous coaching awards including State High School Coach of the Year while at Eden Prairie high school. She is widely recognized as a superior stroke technician and encourages and promotes strong technique in practice. Her work has been featured by USA Swimming (click here). Swimmers under Kate's watch have achieved significant success—including state and national records, Olympic Trials qualifiers and even an Olympic Gold medalist!

Kate swam in high school for Minnetonka where she was team captain, winner of multiple state championships and a Junior National qualifier. She attended college at Hamline University, where she earned a B.A. in Art. She was the captain of the Hamline Swim Team and a 24-time All-American, a Division III national champion and national record holder in the 200 backstroke. She also was the Division III national champion in the 100 backstroke and multiple relay teams. While in college, Kate was awarded the Hamline Top Athlete Senior Award.

LEAH FOREMAN-KEISER
Assistant Head Coach

Junior 2, Senior group

Email
 

Coach Leah joined the Aquajets’ coaching staff in September 2010, as a developmental coach and co-head dryland coach while coaching high school swimming and working full-time in the corporate world. In September 2016, she left the corporate grind and moved from the dryland gym to the pool deck full-time. She currently leads the Junior 2 and Senior groups, in addition to serving as the team’s primary communications, events, and marketing contact.

 

Leah swam competitively for 15 years, going way, way back to the 90s; she even swam for Coach Kate on the now-defunct Mach III Flyers. Leah was a club and high school state champion, and a Junior and Senior National qualifier in the breaststroke events. She earned Academic All-Big Ten honors as a member of the Penn State Women’s Swimming and Diving Team and graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Kinesiology.

 

When she’s not coaching, Leah is likely in the weight room, obsessively following Nittany Lions' sports, or spending time with her husband, Jeff, and their goofy boxer, Dash.

MEGAN HUGHES
Assistant Coach

GoldSharks, GoldJets, BlueThunder
Email

Megan joined Aquajets as a coach in 2014. She explains that her path to coaching was almost inevitable…she was born into a swimming family, was in the pool by three months of age, and says she spent most of her time growing up in or near a body of water—from Minnesota to California. In fact, she jokes she could very well be an amphibian! “I absolutely love coaching kids and count it as one my greatest joys to watch kids grow as humans, as well as swimmers,” she explains.

 

In her early years, Megan swam for the Edina Swim Club and competed for Edina High School, where she co-captained the girls’ team. She was also an accomplished synchronized swimmer for Edina (note to swimmers: “sculling matters”!). True to form, she says she spent more time trying to make others laugh than actually listening to her coaches and the sets they were leading (again note to swimmers: don’t follow this lead!).

 

While majoring in English at the University of Kansas, Megan said she spent a good deal of time “fostering friendships” (she had a lot of luck on that front!) and “trying to be noticed by the swim coaches” (sadly, not much luck on this front!). But all ends well—she can claim a stint of collegiate swimming on her résumé thanks to a semester abroad—swimming for the University of Stirling, in Scotland (Did you know? The Scots take hot tubs after they swim). During her college years and through most of her 20s, Megan worked for Young Life and other Youth Ministries with her husband, Eric.
 
She has been a U.S. Masters (iSwim) swimmer since 2009 and says “I love swimming just as much today as I did at three months of age. In fact, my family still competes in Masters meets as a way to stay connected with each other—it’s a total joy!”

 

With the help of her dad, Megan taught her husband Eric to swim when he was 25 years old. She quips that her biggest success as a coach to date is teaching Eric to swim butterfly forward, not backward. Megan and Eric have three kids and a deaf cat—who, by the way, absolutely LOVES to swim. No surprise there, eh?! 

CHRIS MAYER
Assistant Coach

Lead Coach - Bluejets, Bluelightning
Email
 
Chris first started coaching with Aquajets back in 2012 with the Gold Groups.  He started swimming when he was only five-years-old for what was then the Edina Southdale YMCA Beavers swim team.  He started his lifetime coaching career in 1994 and has been loving it ever since. “Working with kids is an absolute privilege for me,” Chris said.
 
Chris has been an Elementary Art Teacher in Wayzata since 2000. He has two children, Erik and Emma, three cats and loves anything outdoors. Aquajets is a second family for him and he feels lucky to have the opportunity to be part of such a great organization.
TIFFANY SHERMAK
Assistant Coach

BlueThunder, Junior 2
Email

Tiffany starting coaching with Aquajets in 2013 and says she “loves connecting with the swimmers, meeting them where they're at and providing an opportunity for progress.” She has coached competitive teams in both Arizona and Montana (where she grew up!), and prior to Aquajets, she had a 13-year tenure at Foss Swim School, working with a variety of ages. 
 
Like many, Tiffany began her swimming career as an age-group swimmer. She was also a versatile and accomplished high school athlete—competing in track as an All-State sprinter, and playing volleyball. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy. When she’s not coaching poolside, Tiffany is a local CPA at a public accounting firm and lives in Bloomington with her husband and three kids. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family, running, playing volleyball, and, of course, doing anything in and around water, including swimming, boating, tubing, and scuba diving, to name just a few!

BRIAN KIRKVOLD
Assistant Coach

Blue Groups & Dryland

Coach Brian began coaching Dryland for the Aquajets Blue groups and recently made the leap “across the hall” to coach the Competitive Prep and Blue groups in the pool as well!  

 

Competitive swimming has always played a big role in Coach Brian’s life. He says he’s been fortunate to have had some fantastic coaches throughout his swimming career…including at Foxjets and on the collegiate level at Kenyon College. Brian explains that his coaches, and the sport of swimming itself, taught him “…more than just how to swim fast in the pool, I learned how to be a good person. I hope to pass that along to the kids that I coach at Aquajets” — including his two amazing daughters on the team!

 

In addition to his various coaching duties, swimming remains a big part of Coach Brian’s life. Each year, he tackles an open-water swim across Lake Minnetonka, as well as the Lake Superior “Point to La Pointe” — the ambitious 2.1-mile event from Bayfield to Madeline Island in Wisconsin. 

 

What’s next? “Who knows,” he says. “Maybe I'll swim The Channel one day!”

CHRIS AARSETH
Assistant Coach

Junior 3, Senior groups

 

Chris Aarseth has been coaching for over 20 years and is extremely excited to bring his love for swimming to Aquajets. In addition to his coaching duties at Aquajets, he is currently the head coach for the Boys and Girls swim team at Minneapolis Southwest High School. During his tenure at Southwest, the team has won two section championships and has been named runners-up six times. He is an eight-time Section “Coach of the Year” and was awarded MSHSL Class AA Girl’s “Coach of the Year” in 2016.

 

Chris says he feels incredibly lucky to be surrounded by so many great families who have fantastic kids who happen to enjoy the sport of swimming almost as much as he does. He and his wife Shelby have two girls who swim for Aquajets, Caitlin and Olivia. Chris says he enjoys teaching kids how to become “better, faster swimmers through the influence of purpose, persistence, and passion.” 

HOLLI J. HAWKER
Assistant Coach

Senior, National

 
Holli joined the Aquajets in the fall of 2013, with years of experience to share. She swam competitively in Illinois and Montana for 11 years before joining fellow teammate, and now colleague, Kate Lundsten, at Hamline University. With a BA in Psychology and an excellent swim program, Holli obtained numerous awards including Academic All-American, 17 All-America certificates, Team Captain, and Outstanding Senior Athlete.
 
Holli started coaching in 1985 in Minnesota before moving to Wisconsin in 1996, where she was instrumental in the development of a year-round USA swimming program that produced many State, Zones, National and Olympic Trials athletes.
 
Holli has six kids, five of whom swim/swam competitively. When she’s not on the pool deck, Holli enjoys spending time with her family, running, reading, and playing outside, especially with her not-at-all tiny Newfoundlands! She’s thrilled to be a part of a very special team.

DAVID HAWKER
Assistant Coach

National

 

David started coaching for Aquajets in 2015. A Wisconsin native, he began his swim career at the young age of 10 and graduated from Wausau East High School in 2007. David, an accomplished distance swimmer, capped off his senior year as Wisconsin state champion in the 500 Free—racking up both All-State and All-American designations along the way. Swimming runs deep in the Hawker family; his mom, Holli (also an Aquajets’ coach!), swam for Hamline University and his older sister, Michal, swam for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and younger sister, Maddie, swims for the University of Illinois-Chicago. David chose to head west to Minnesota for college, swimming four years in the Big Ten for the Golden Gophers—and, not surprisingly, was voted “hardest worker” by his teammates 

 

At Aquajets, David spends the bulk of his time on deck coaching Senior and National swimmers, and (quite appropriately) leads the team’s distance-training group. When he’s not coaching poolside, David enjoys anything outdoors and, of course, all Gopher sports. David and his wife, Megan - also an Aquajets coach! - have a daughter, Berit, who will surely be swimming before she is out of diapers.

 

A fun fact: Coach David is also considered the team’s resident water bottle-flipping guru!

MEGAN HAWKER
Assistant Coach

Junior 3, National

 

Coach Megan began swimming at the young age of five and has lived in Minnesota her entire life. She graduated from Edina High School in 2007 and was a 10-time High School State Champion and former All-Time State record holder in the 200 Free. She continued her swimming career at the collegiate level (at the University of Minnesota) from 2007-2011, and it is there that she met her husband, David.

 

At the U, Megan was a 3-time NCAA Qualifier, Big Ten Champion (200 Fly), five-time All-American, school record holder (100/200 Fly), and recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. (Awesome!). As an undergrad, she studied Child Psychology, and then went on to attend graduate school at the U—earning a Master's of Education in Applied Kinesiology.
 
In addition to her current coaching duties at Aquajets (alongside her husband David and mother-in-law Holli), Coach Megan was also the Head Coach of Chaska/Chanhassen High School Swim/Dive teams and has previously spent summers coaching at Edina Country Club. She also teaches Health/Sports Exercise Science at Patrick Henry High School in North Minneapolis. 

 

In her spare time, Coach Megan says she loves traveling and exploring new places—especially National Parks - and spending time with her daughter, Berit.

AMANDA SOLT
Assistant Coach

Blue Thunder and Safe Sport

 
Amanda is a former swim instructor for Foss Swim School and was a USA Swimming Stroke & Turn Official from 2016-2020, before fully switching over to coaching.
 
Some of the things Coach Amanda loves most about swimming are making new friends, watching swimmers master new skills, and cheering on the team. 
 
Coach Amanda lives in Prior Lake with her husband, Coach Jeremy, and their four kids. When she is not at the pool, she writes software documentation. She also enjoys volunteering at school, reading mystery novels, and spending time with her family. She is also Aquajets' Safe Sport liaison for USA Swimming and Minnesota Swimming Safe Sport initiatives. 
 
In her spare time, Amanda swims Masters and loves to walk, read mystery novels, and cross-stitch.
 

JEREMY SOLT
Assistant Coach

Junior 2

 

Coach Jeremy comes to Aquajets from South Metro Storm where he most recently coached 5- to 11-year-old swimmers. Jeremy's own swimming career started when he was seven years old at a summer community program in the state of Virginia and continued through high school. After 12 years of swimming year-round, he says the only evidence is 15 ribbons, a patch from 1985, about 10 pictures, and some certificates of top 16 performances from high school. If you ask him he'll humbly say he was a “decent” swimmer and might tell you what his mother told him: “We wouldn't have kept doing it if you weren't good."

 

Jeremy attended Winona State University where he studied computer science. He selected Winona because of an amazing sunrise he saw driving on the bluffs around the school on his visit there. He's currently applying his degree writing software just down the road from Aquajets in Eden Prairie.

 

Jeremy and his wonderful wife Amanda, who is also an Aquajets coach, have four children who you'll see around the pool deck most days, as they are all Aquajets swimmers! In his spare time, he enjoys laughing with his wife and playing with his kids. Between coaching, work and family, Coach Jeremy is one busy guy—therefore, he says he has "learned to appreciate a good nap and a long night of sleep!"

 

A little swimming trivia from Coach Jeremy… 
In his entire swimming career, Jeremy says he was awarded one trophy (in 1985), which his mother lost the very same day. She replaced it 30 years later on Christmas!

DAN BIELSKI
Assistant Coach

Blue Groups, Senior, National

 

Coach Dan comes to Aquajets after five years of coaching with the Minnetonka Swim Club. He grew up locally, as an age-group and high school swimmer for Minnetonka. He then swam collegiately for UW-Whitewater (Division III), where he specialized in the 100 and 200 back, and is the Whitewater record holder in the 100 fly.

 

Dan graduated with a degree in Human Health & Performance and has utilized his degree to promote athletic improvement and health in athletes; he currently works at TRIA as a Clinical Rehabilitation Assistant. 

 

From his long career in and around the sport of swimming, he says he finds his true passion in coaching. Outside of the pool, Dan enjoys time with family and friends. He is an avid movie-goer, plays guitar, and shoots photos.

ZOE AVESTRUZ
Assistant Coach

Bluejets, Senior


Coach Zoe began swimming at the age of 13 and has been a member of the Aquajets Team since 2011—once as a swimmer and now a coach! She graduated from Chanhassen High School. Throughout her swimming career, she was a 10-time High School State Champion, the Minnesota All-Time State record holder in the 100 free and a multiple Junior National/National champion and performer. Zoe attended and swam for the University of Minnesota where she was a four-time letter-winner, two-time Academic All-Big Ten honor recipient, multiple-time Big Ten finalist, Big Ten Champion (200 Medley Relay), and a four-time NCAA All-American. Wow! 
  
In addition to her coaching, Zoe works at St. Joseph's Hospital (St. Paul) and as a Research Assistant at the University of Minnesota's Department of Psychology. 

 

Coach Zoe's hobbies include reading, learning, watching movies, traveling, and hiking.

JENNA SCHULTZ
Assistant Coach

Gold and Blue Groups

Coach Jenna graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science; she went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law. While in Law School, she helped coach the Eden Prairie High School Boys and Girls swim teams and it was here that she realized that she had a passion for coaching.

Jenna began her own swimming career at the age of six with the Foxjets Swim Team and swam for Eden Prairie High School where she was a co-captain her senior year. (Fun fact: Coach Jenna was coached, at the time, by Coach Kate!

Today, Coach Jenna lives in Minnetonka with her husband and two kids. When she is not at the pool, you can find her on the tennis court where she plays competitive doubles tennis. She also enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, being at the lake and spending time with her family.

 

One of the things Coach Jenna says she loves most about swimming is the life lessons that are learned in the pool and the friendships that are made. She believes swimmers are self-motivators and loves seeing their excitement when they hit new milestones and overcome challenges in the pool.

CHRIS BLUM 

Assistant Dryland Coach

 

Coach Chris is a former youth director, has a Masters degree in Education, and taught Physical Education for well over a decade. Working with a “multitude” of high school athletes over those years, he notes that his focus has always been to “not only prepare young athletes to be as strong and fast as possible, but to prevent injuries as well."

 

Outside of Aquajets, Chris is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach—successfully running outdoor Fitness Bootcamp classes and serving as a personal trainer for clients throughout the Metro area.

FRED ISBELL
Assistant Dryland Coach

Email

Coach Fred brings a wealth of athletic and youth coaching experience to the team!  An Indiana native, Coach Fred was a high school athlete competing in both football and wrestling and working as a lifeguard during the short Indiana summers. Today, he is a certified personal trainer and has been personal training since 2004.

From 2006 to 2015, he had an extensive career in grappling (FYI: grappling, a martial arts term—is the act of gripping or seizing the opponent, as in wrestling). Most recently, Coach Fred has been serving as a youth coach for both wrestling and flag football.

Outside of his love for coaching and all things athletic, Fred holds an AA degree in culinary arts and a BS in hospitality management. He currently owns a food manufacturing business making gourmet sauces that are available in local grocery stores. His hobbies outside of work include video games, working out, cooking, and spending time with family.

 

A Coach Fred fun fact: 
In 2005, Coach Fred played Minor League (semi-pro) football for the Minnesota Valley Warriors!

ERIN HAWKER
Assistant Coach

Junior 1, Blue Groups, Senior 
 
Erin first joined Aquajets as a swimmer in 2012, when her family moved to Minnesota from across the border in Wisconsin. She began her swimming career with the Wausau Tide Swim Club and swam on the Aquajets National Team from 2012-2015 under Coach Kate and Coach Philip. Erin swam for the University of Wisconsin/Whitewater where she accumulated six NCAA cuts and earned First Team All-WIAC honors eight times. She was voted Team Captain and was also WIAC Swimmer of the Year. Erin graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work.
 
At Aquajets, Erin spends most of her time coaching the Junior groups and Blue groups. She enjoys spending time with the kids and getting to know them. Erin’s family has a big presence at Aquajets, as her mom, brother, and sister-in-law are also coaches, and her younger sister, Maddie, still swims for Aquajets when she is home from college.
 
Away from the pool, Erin enjoys being with her family, reading, and walking the family’s two adorably fluffy Newfoundlands.

 

ALEC PITTMAN
Assistant Coach

Junior 1, Junior 2, Senior
 
Coach Pitt transferred to Aquajets in the Fall of 2013 as a swimmer and began to coach during his senior year of high school at St. Loius Park in 2017. Now at Lake Forest College in Chicago, Illinois, he specializes in Distance Freestyle and I.M. and is the current record holder in the 1650 Freestyle. He has also earned All-American Scholar Honorable Mention recognition. Coach Pitt plans to graduate with a Psychology major and a double minor in Business/Entrepreneurship.
 
Coach Pitt’s hobbies include blogging, listening to music, watching movies and going for long walks. “If there’s a song, I’ve heard it!” he says.
ELIZABETH ENGLE
Assistant Coach

Gold Groups, Bluelightning
 
Libby recently moved to Minnesota to begin her teaching career at Avail Academy High School as an upper level math teach, after graduating from Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan in May of 2020. Libby has been surrounded by and involved with swimming for as long as she can remember, beginning with the Beachwood Recreation Association summer swim league team, where she also coached after high school.
 
After swimming for four years at Troy High School near Detroit, and the Birmingham Blue Dolphins, Libby continued her swimming career at Calvin College, where she was an NCAA qualifier and earned All-Conference and All-American honors. She was a co-captain and helped the Calvin women’s team win three MIAA Conference Championships.
 

JORDYN WENTZEL
Assistant Coach

Gold Groups

Coach Jordyn began swimming when she was 9-years-old and joined Aquajets Swim Team as an age group swimmer. She swam for Delano High School, where she was a three-time state champion. In addition, she has achieved an Olympic Trials qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke and has competed at multiple Junior/National level swim meets. Jordyn holds eight school records at St. Catherine’s University in St. Paul, MN, where she is currently a Junior. She is a 13-time MIAC Champion, 2-time MIAC Women's Swimmer of the Year, and 10-time NCAA All-American. Jordyn is also the NCAA Division III record holder in the 200 breaststroke.
 
Coach Jordyn’s hobbies outside the pool include watching movies, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
 

BROOKE EVENSON
Assistant Coach

Bluelightning

Brooke joined the Aquajets coaching staff in the spring of 2020, however, she has been a part of the team since she was just 10 years old. Brooke swam with Aquajets through high school, graduating from Robbinsdale Armstrong, before heading off to swim at Iowa State University where she earned her Bachelor’s in Kinesiology. She received her Master’s from Washington University in St. Louis in Occupational Therapy. When she is not coaching on deck, she is working as an OT.
 
Brooke loves the opportunity to connect with swimmers and encourage their love for the sport. After being a swimmer for so many years, she enjoys the flip side of being the empowering and motivating coach! In her free time, Brooke loves to bake, read, exercise, and spend time with family and friends. 
 
OLIVIA ANDERSON
Assistant Coach

Junior 3
 
 
Coach Olivia has been a member of the Aquajets Team since 2005, making her one of the longest-tenured Aquajets ever. As an age group swimmer, Olivia was a multiple time State and National age group record holder. She was also a three-time member of the U.S. National Junior Team and competed in the 2013 FINA Junior World Championships. Olivia qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials at the age of 14 and was a semi-finalist in the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. She was a multiple time Minnesota High School Class AA state champion and record holder, graduating from Edina High School in 2015. Olivia went on to compete at the University of Texas where she was an NCAA qualifier and two-time Big 12 champion. She graduated in 2019 from UT with a degree in Communication & Leadership.
 
When Olivia is not coaching, she enjoys being active, playing golf, being at the lake, and spending time with family and friends.
 
COURTNEY CARRY
Assistant Coach

Blue Groups, Junior Groups

 
Coach Courtney has been a member of the Aquajets’ coaching staff since 2006 (with just a brief absence in the middle). She grew up swimming in Minnesota and says, “I even began my swimming career with Coach Kate!” Courtney swam through high school and college at Denison, and says that’s where she learned that her “true passion for the sport lies in coaching.”
 
Her favorite part of the job, she says, is seeing a swimmer master a concept. You’ll find Coach Courtney on deck on Saturday mornings.
PHILIP NIELSEN
Assistant Coach
Senior group, National
 
Coach Philip joined the Aquajets in 2004 after spending four years as the assistant head coach for a Minneapolis-based swim club. Philip swam competitively for 15 years achieving success at all levels. He was a Junior National qualifier; Top 16 qualifier; multi-year state champion in the breaststroke, butterfly and individual medley events; and an NCAA qualifier in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. Philip refined his swimming and coaching skills under the direction of several Olympic coaches and he has applied these skills, helping multiple swimmers achieve top national rankings in the breaststroke and butterfly.
 
Phillip attended the acclaimed college preparatory school, the Bolles School (Jacksonville, Florida) and graduated from St. John’s University where he earned a B.A in Peace Studies. Coach Phillip brings a high level of energy to the team.