Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Mary Ellen Wiegand Founder, Swimkins Synchro

Mary Ellen has been a member of Swimkins since the club’s inception in 1956.  She started as an athlete under Mildred Moore and took over the club responsibilities in 1964.  Under her coaching expertise, she has created local and national champions and has helped to place swimmers on various national and collegiate teams. Throughout the years, Mary Ellen has instilled in her athletes the importance of dedication and hard work, a love for teamwork and comradery, as well as the establishment of life-long friendships.


Debbie Latchford Swimkins Head Coach

Coach Debbie has been involved in synchro since she was 8 years old.  She was a Swimkins athlete for 10 years, receiving a scholarship to swim for The Ohio State University Synchronized Swim Team.  After graduating from OSU, she coached in Genova, Italy at Sportiva Sturla, where she trained Italian athletes who were new to the sport as well as those who were on the Olympic team for Italy.  Debbie returned to the U.S. in 1992, which is when she began coaching and creating choreography for the top athletes on Swimkins. She was named as the East Zone Coach of the year in 2001 and USA Synchro honored her with the Age Group Coaching Merit Award in 2004. She is also a National Judge and FINA Official, and she travels to competitions around the world with Team USA.

Laura Ehrenreich Coach and Team Administrator


Coach Laura has been a part of the Swimkins family for 42 years. Her love for synchro began when she joined Swimkins as an athlete at 10 years old. She was a part of the team for 9 years.  Laura then continued her synchro career in the collegiate program as a member of the Indiana University’s synchro team. In 1989, she joined the Swimkins coaching staff, training the 13 and over age groups.  Laura soon became an instrumental part of Swimkins. She enhanced that role when she became the team administrator in 2009. She has also served on the East Zone Synchro Board in several positions. She was the Zone president for two years and currently serves at the Officials chair.


Gigi Grizanti 12-U Coach

Gigi started synchro at the age of 8, swimming for the Town of Tonawanda Aquettes from 1973 -1980. As an Aquette, she earned Zone and Jr. National Championships, and in 1980 she was National Team eligible. Gigi’s two daughters, Cassandra and Julia, also swam for the Aquettes and Gigi served on their Board in multiple roles, including Scoring Chair and Board President. In 2009, Gigi joined the USA Synchro staff as the National Team Program Coordinator. As the coordinator, she had the opportunity to work with the National and Olympic Teams, as well as serve as Team Leader and Team Manager for USA Synchro leading up to the London Games. She was instrumental in managing the team for the 2011 Pan American Games, the Dublin Training Camp, and Olympic Trials in London. Gigi has coached off and on since college. She joined the Swimkins coaching staff in 2015 and coaches the 12 & Under Age Group and Intermediate swimmers with her daughter Julia.  Outside of the pool, Gigi is currently the President and CEO of WNY Veterans Housing Coalition.

Julia Grizanti 12-U Coach

Julia began her synchronized swimming career at 6 years old with the Tonawanda Aquettes where she won national champion titles two consecutive years at the ESynchro Age Group Nationals. In 2010, she earned her way onto the 13-15 National Team and won two Pan American gold medals for team and combo. Julia has trained with many Olympic gold medalists throughout her synchro career. She began coaching with the Swimkins in 2014. As a coach for the Swimkins, Julia has had the joy of watching her 10 & under intermediate team win the Zone championship two years in a row. She is instrumental in developing our 12 & under age groups swimmers as well and is excited to see how these young ladies of Swimkins grow to be champions. 


Cindy Ehlers Coach

Cindy is the lead coach of the 12 & under age group athletes. After becoming involved with synchronized swimming as an athlete in 1974, she transitioned to a coaching role in 1981. Her coaching philosophy includes teaching athletes accountability, how to develop a strong work ethic and team unity, while instilling a passion for training and not just practicing. Cindy has been coaching with Swimkins since 2005 and feels blessed to have found her synchronized swimming family




Kristina Sullivan Coach
Board of Directors