Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Jeff Rodriguez
HEAD COACH / CEO: LEAD COACH FOR SR. SILVER, SR. GOLD & NATIONAL
Jeff Rodriguez is in his 21st year with the Edina Swim Club.  As Head Coach, Jeff is responsible for the senior program and the overall vision and success of the club, meanwhile, training each senior swimmer to their highest level.

His coaching experience includes developing athletes at all levels. Jeff started within the Edina program in 1997 as an assistant coach and became lead age group coach in 1998.  As age group coach in 1998, 1999, 2000, Jeff led Edina’s Age Group program to three consecutive state Championships. Jeff became Head Coach in 2000 and currently coaches the Silver, Gold and National groups.  Under his leadership, ESC has consistently placed in the top 3 at the Minnesota Championships and has won over 70 plus Top 2 age group awards at the state level.

In the past 10 years, Jeff has coached more than 60 athletes who have competed at the USA and NCSA Junior National Championships and coached swimmers at the Olympic Trials and US Open in 2012 and 2016.  Athletes on the Edina Senior and National Teams regularly place on USA Swimming's top 10 lists and have set over 60 numerous MN state records and 200 plus ESC club records. Jeff was named Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2011, selected as Staff for USA National Select Camp in 2010 and attended in 2014. He was also selected as staff for the USA Central Zone Select Camp in 2015.  In 2016, coach Jeff was nominated for Fitter and Faster Age Group Coach of the year for his age group successes. 

Jeff's coaching philosophy focuses on being a well-rounded athlete and he enjoys seeing athletes continue swimming into the next phase of their careers. He has a strong belief there is a place for everyone on a team and swimming is a lifetime sport.

As an athlete himself, Jeff competed at the Division 1 level for University of Minnesota in 1994-1998.  He was a member of the Big Ten Championship Team in 1996 that won the first championship in over 70 years to start a new tradition for the Gophers.  Jeff came away from his college career being a two time Big Ten Champion (team), received Jerry McCual Award, two time Iron Fish Award, Four time Letter “M” Winner, Hardest Worker and Most Improved and a Member of the Dean’s List and 3.0 club. His events were 200 Breast, 200IM and 400IM during the Big Ten and at the National level.  Coach Jeff earned a Bachelor of Education in Kinesiology with minors in Psychology, Spanish and Coaching from the University of Minnesota.

Away from the pool, Jeff enjoys traveling all over the world and stays active with exercise.

Nicole Helmen-Hendricks

HEAD AGE GROUP COACH: LEAD COACH FOR GATOR 3 / AGE GROUP SILVER 1 / AGE GROUP GOLD

Nicole returns to Edina Swim Club as the Head Age Group Coach after spending the last two years coaching in Tampa, FL for North Tampa Aquatics – a team she established in 2018. In her short time with NTA she developed FLAGS qualifiers and finalists, Sectional Qualifiers and Senior Championship Qualifiers and finalists. In 2019 she was also the Steinbrenner High School Head Swim and Dive Coach.  She led this team to a top 3 finish at the District Championships, and very successful Regional and State Championships.  Their season culminated at the Florida High School State Championships with an Automatic All-American, State Champion, State Runner-Up, Top 8 relay finishes, and several top 16 finishes.

Nicole began her coaching career in 1996 as the Assistant Head Coach for the Mounds View Swim Club and later became the Interim Head Coach.  During her time with MVSC she coached developmental, age group and senior level swimmers. In 1998 she took a senior coach/age group coach position with Edina Swim Club. In 1999, she returned to the club she grew up swimming for – Burnsville Swim Club.  Also, during this time period, she was the Mounds View High School Head Girls Swim and Dive Coach.  During her three years as Head High School Coach she led her team to first place finishes at the Conference and Section Championships, and a 3rd place finish at the MN High School State Meet. In 2002, Nicole joined the United States Navy.  When she arrived in San Diego, CA, at her first duty station - she also took a Head Age Group Coach position with College Area Swim Team.  During her time with CAST she quadrupled the size of the age group program through recruitment. retention and word of mouth. She also helped lead the program to many top 5 finishes at Junior Olympics and Senior Championships. In 2014, Nicole retired from the Navy, returned to Minnesota and took a position with Edina Swim Club.   She began as a developmental, age group and senior coach and then in 2016 became the Head Age Group Coach. During this time period she helped lead the Age Group Program to several top 2 finishes at the State Championships as well as 1st place finishes at the MRC Championships.

During her 24 years of professional coaching she has developed 100’s athletes that have qualified for State Championships, Far Western Championships, Zone Championships, Sectional Championships, Jr National Championships, Sr National Championships, and Olympic Trials. She also led 100’s of swimmers onto individual first place finishes at LSC Regional Championships, State Championships, Far Western Championships, Zone Championships, and High School Section/Regional/District/State Championships. She has also developed athletes to over twenty Top 10 National Rankings, over 10 All-American/All-American Considerations Times. Her athletes have also broken 100’s of Records (Team, Meet, LSC, and State/Junior Olympics).  She has also developed and coached 5 athletes that have reached Olympic Trial Qualifying times.

During her coaching career Nicole has been recognized by her peers with the following awards: 2 x Section Coach of the year, Conference Coach of the Year and while she was Head Age Group Coach in San Diego, CA, she was awarded Age Group Coach of the Year from the American Swim Coaches Association. During her time within the Navy she also received many awards for her leadership abilities to include several Sailor of the Quarter awards, several Letter of Commendations, and several Navy Achievement Medals. She also advanced six ranks within her 12 years of service, before her retirement in 2014.  

Nicole brings an unprecedented level of energy and experience to the role of Head Age Group Coach at Edina Swim Club.  She has spent years honing her skills as a professional coach through experience and continuing education credits via USA Swimming and the American Swim Coaches Association. Her leadership skills, dedication, and passion for the sport of swimming have proven to be a catalyst for fun, growth and championship level swimming in all the programs she has been a part of. She is ecstatic to be back on staff with the Gator Family!!

Nicole grew up swimming for Burnsville Swim Club, Burnsville High School and Saint Olaf College.  She retired from the United States Navy in 2014.  In 2020, she obtained her MBA from Saint Leo University. 

Travis Anderson

HEAD NOVICE COACH: LEAD COACH FOR AGE GROUP BRONZE / AGE GROUP SILVER 2 / SR. PREP / SR. BRONZE
Coach Travis comes to Edina from Phoenix Swim Club, in Arizona, bringing almost 15 years of aquatic teaching experience, and over 9 years of competitive coaching experience. He has previously coached as a developmental, age group, and senior coach at the club level, as well as the assistant and head coach of NDP high school in Scottsdale. 

Travis has worked with swimmers of all ages and ability levels, and has developed many athletes to reach the level of State, Far Westerns, Zone, Sectional, and Futures qualifying standards. His athletes have also achieved individual and relay titles at States and Far Westerns, as well as set many new Team, State, Far Western, and National Age Group records. He has also had an athlete qualify and compete at Winter Nationals, breaking a USMS National Record in the process.

During his time as Head Coach, the NDP Saints had great success in their program. In the first 2 years, both the girls and boys teams earned a 2nd place finish at State, and in the 3rd year the girls team were crowned State champions. The Saints had multiple individual and relay champions and medalists, multiple athletes achieved All American consideration times, and Saint athletes were also recognized as both the Boys and Girls swimmers of the meet.

Coach Travis brings a high level of energy and enthusiasm, an unyielding passion for the sport of swimming, and a constantly growing knowledge base of movement and biomechanics on deck every day. Through all of this, he is able to provide his swimmers with the best environment, techniques, training methods as they work together toward achieving the athlete’s goals.

Coach Travis graduated from ASU in 2010 with a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Philosophy. He is also a ASCA Level 3 Coach, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist.

Chara Bushman

LEAD FOR GATOR 1, GATOR 2, & AGE GROUP PREP
Chara has been with Edina Swim Club since December 2018. She has assisted with every group and is now the Lead coach for Gator 1, Gator 2 and Age Group Prep. 

Chara has been a swim coach for 10 years. She was an assistant coach for age group swimmers on the Green Bay YMCA swim team for 3 years and after that continued to stay involved in swimming by giving private swim lessons to age group swimmers. 

Chara started swimming competitively at the age of 8 and swam at the collegiate level at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where she was a scoring member of the Horizon League conference champions 2 years in a row. Chara specialized in distance freestyle and also had some "fun" events such as the 400 IM and 200 fly. 

When Chara is not at the pool she enjoys spending time with her family, working out, cooking, traveling and flying! 

Jake Stodolka

SENIOR ASSISTANT
Coach Jake Stodolka started with Edina Swim Club for the Long Course season in 2017.  He is a 2009 graduate of St. John’s University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology.  He started his professional career in Ministry and Social Work.  Jake has been working in the swimming industry since 2008 as an instructor and coach. In 2016 he decided to take a break from the world of competitive swimming, but was earning to get back to the pool the day he stopped.

Coach Jake is an ASCA Level 2 Certified Coach, Certified Pool Operator, and American Red Cross Lifeguard.  His goal in coaching is to nurture the athlete both in and out of the pool and to create a positive environment.

He is excited to work for Edina for its reputation as the premier swim club in the state of Minnesota and their staff that shares his values!

John Bushman

ASSISTANT

Annie Fittipaldi

ASSISTANT

Julie McCarthy

TEAM ADMINISTRATOR
Julie grew up in Wayzata and graduated from Breck School in 1987. She spent her college years out in Oneonta, NY at Hartwick College with a major in Psychology. After college, she moved to Seattle, WA and worked in the stock brokerage industry. 1994 brought her back to Wayzata and she began working in her families business of manufacturing and selling electric cattle prods. While sales of cattle prods took her all around the country, she meet her husband, Pete, in Fargo, ND at a trade show. They have 4 kids who all swim. Julie began working at the Edina Swim Club in January of 2012.

Board of Directors