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Don Wagner 

CEO / Head Coach


A former University of Nebraska swimmer, Coach Wagner served as an assistant coach at University of Arizona and University Southern California to former USA national team head coach and general manager Mark Schubert.  

Coach Wagner later became the head coach at Texas A&M and University of Alabama.  Before going to USC, Coach Wagner served as the head coach of Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team (FAST), where he coached 4 time Olympic gold medalist and Olympic Hall of Famer Janet Evans to her world record in the 800-meter freestyle.  

He is an  ASCA Level 5 coach whose accomplishments include:

  • Olympic Coach at Sydney 2000
  • 6 time US National Team Coach
  • Assistant Coach for the Pan Pacific (1989 & 1991) and Goodwill Games Teams (1990)
  • Head Coach for the World University Games (1995)


Michael Gavrilchin

Age Group Head Coach


Coach Michael has joined Phoenix Aquatic Club in December 2016. Throughout these years Coach Michael has had numerous swimmers achieve National top ten rankings in their age group, breaking multiple club records.
Michael’s philosophy is all about inspiring and motivating swimmers to achieve their full potential. He focuses on the development of an athlete’s technical, mental and physical capabilities and he believes that the personal characteristics of an athlete are as important as winning.

Michael's personal athletic experience is; 2014 FINA World Masters Championship 4th Place in 100-meter fly, 2012 U.S. Nationals Qualifier, All-America in 100 Butterfly, 2011 NCAA Division 3 Championship finalist in 100 Fly, 2011 Eastern College Athletic Conference Champion in 100 Fly, 2006, 2005 FINA World Cup Qualifier, 2004 Olympic Trials Qualifier in the Republic of Moldova.

Coach Michael earned his bachelor’s degree in Nutrition & Exercise Science from Queens College with concentration in strength and conditioning. He is an ASCA Level 4 Coach, and certfied by National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Performance Enhancement Specialist.


Ryan Wagner

Age Group Coach


Coach Ryan is a former Phoenix Aquatic Swimmer with multiple records. While swimming in High School Ryan won the State Championship Title in 100-yard backstroke. He attended The Ohio State University and swam for the varsity team. Ryan obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from the Fisher School of Business and minored in real estate. His academic and swimming journey continued at the Redhawks Miami University where Ryan swam for the varsity team and obtained his Master’s in Educational Psychology. 

Coach Ryan has coached since the age of 15, starting his coaching career at the Stonybrook Swim Club where he coached for four years various kids from ages 5 to 18. His coaching further continued at the Greater Columbus Swim Team of Ohio where Coach Ryan worked with 10 & Under age group division. Coach Ryan brings his invaluable athletic and coaching experience to the Phoenix Aquatic Club.


Emre Aydin

Age Group Coach


Coach Emre has been part of Phoenix and working with different age groups since 2018.  Focusing on technique and fundamentals, Emre promotes a fun but challenging workout environment for swimmers to thrive on. 

Growing up in Turkey, Emre swam competitively for 10 years.  He also swam 3 years as part of a masters team in NYC where he competed locally and nationally.

When not coaching Emre works as a full-time computer programmer for a technology and analytics company.   He also swims regularly as part of the Phoenix masters program.


Cristina Paspalas

Age Group Coach


Coach Christina is a Phoenix alum who still holds seven team records, (short and long course) and along the way she was also a New Jersey HS State champion in the 100 back, and Olympic Trial qualifier in 2016.

Christina is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee where she was a four-year letter winner and a member of their SEC championship team. She was also on the All-SEC academic honor roll. Her degree is in nutrition. Christina loves working with kids and share her knowledge and experience as a high caliber swimmer.


Alice Wagner

Age Group Coach / LTS DIrector


Coach Alice has been coaching swimming for over ten years. She swam for Coach Mike Stauffer at the Lakewood Swim Club in Washington State. She was a Varsity letter swimmer at Lake High School. In 1990 she volunteered to work the Good Will Games in Seattle Washington. This is where she met her husband Don Wagner. They have two beautiful children in College. Savannah swam for the University of Nebraska and Ryan is currently swimming for Ohio State University.

Alice has been director of aquatics for several years running swim camps, swim meets, and Learn to swim programs. She managed the University of Alabama and Texas A&M Swim camps where enrollment increased 80% in just two years. She was the director/coach of the Crimson Tide Aquatic Swim Club and managed all operations of the club. Her skills in perfecting running swim meets increase revenue from $15,000.00 to $150,000 annually. Over the last several years she developed a learn to swim program that teaches “swim float swim” water safety swimming strategies. She coaches the stroke development and futures swimmers.

In addition to coaching, she is licensed in General and Special Education, and he holds a Master’s degree in School Building leadership from Mercy College.


John Kilduff

Age Group Coach 


Coach John is a Phoenix Aquatic Club graduate and record holder. He is currently swimming and pursuing his degree at Cornell University. As a coach, his goal is to teach our youngest athletes in 12&under division the foundations of swimming; swim technique, the importance of being disciplined and focused, and race fearlessly. As a role model, Coach John is sharing his love for the sport with young swimmers where he also a student-athlete.


Sofia Landers

Age Group Coach 

Coach Sofi is a proud mom of 3, with a huge passion for sports. She enjoys guiding children into any sport, that will bring the best out of them.

Swimming, gymnastics, dance, figure skating and horseback riding have been a big part of Sofia’s younger years.
Some of her highest sports achievements were the participation at the National Championship of competitive Ballroom/Latin dancing (Washington DC), and the Adult Nationals in Figure Skating (Salt Lake City).

Sofia is a Registered Emergency Room Nurse, RN, CEN in her birth country of Germany, as well as in the US.


Yaron Globus

Age Group Coach 


Coach Yaron is a USA Swimming Level 2 swim coach and certified in Israel as well, where he coached for nearly 10 years from 1985 to 1994.  Prior to relocating to the US, several of Coach Yaron’s age-group swimmers in Israel won the Israeli nationals and made it to the Olympic trials. 

Coach Yaron began swimming competitively at age 12, and became one of the fastest backstroke swimmers in Israel.  He earned a silver medal at the Israeli Junior Nationals and was a finalist at the Israeli Senior Nationals. He has continued swimming since and now swims with the Phoenix Masters Team and periodically competes in swimming events as the swimming leg in team triathlon events. 

In addition to Coach Yaron's coaching certificates, he is a Certified Pool Operator and he holds an MBA and an M.A. in Economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

When not coaching or training, Yaron is the proud Owner and Managing Partner of a financial management consulting company, with past employment as the VP of Operations for a publicly traded, high-techVOIP company.


John Mendenhall

Strength & Conditioning, Rehab 


Doctor John is a former Division I swimmer at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) where he was a conference champion in the 200 breaststroke his senior year. 

He has a background in swim lessons for younger swimmers throughout high school and college years. John's main focus is on proper form to reduce the incidence of overuse injury. 

He graduated with his doctorate in physical therapy May of 2016, works with Next Level Sports Physical Therapy as a PT and trainer, and is one of the dryland and strength coaches for senior prep and senior groups at Phoenix Aquatic Club. John continues to use his swimming skills to compete in triathlons.


Valerie McQuade

Strength & Conditioning 

Coach Valerie is a certified personal trainer & teacher of elementary education. She’s been an assistant coach for sports-specific training programs to improve athletic performance in swimming, tennis, basketball, and football. She has also implemented a health and fitness program for students. Her interests include competing in triathlons and obstacle course races, high-intensity workouts, and program design.


We are here to support you. If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact one of the coaches. 

For all questions related to administrative, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please send us an e-mail via our 'Contact Us' form.