Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Adam Blakis Head Coach Water Polo

Adam has been coaching swimmers and water polo players in California for over twenty-five years. He has taught athletes at UC Riverside, St. Monica's, Crespi, Chabot College, Santa Monica College and Palisades-Malibu YMCA. He has coached Senior, Junior, and YMCA Natinal swimming qualifiers. Coach Adam was named the 2012, 13, 14, 15, 16 LA CIF Water Polo Coach of the Year while leading Pali High to the LA City Title. Adam swam and played water polo at Santa Monica High and UC Riverside, where he graduated with a BA in History.

Aly Arsenault Assistant Coach (Synchro)

Coach Aly grew up in North East Massachusetts. She started swimming at age 5 and joined synchronized swimming at age 8. She swam year-round through age 18 competing in summer leagues, winter leagues, and all four years of high school.

Aly represented New England for two years as an athlete representative her junior and senior year of high school, attending USA Aquatics Convention, working/training with elite swimmers/coaches, and helping vote on legislation for USAAS athletes at grass root levels. Career highlights have been qualifying for the USAAS East Zone All Star Team, placing top 8 at USAAS Junior Olympics in 2009, and turning her own passion into a resource for the next generation of swimmers. She eventually swam for a DIII college and graduated with a BSE in Elementary Education and double major in Psychology-Child Development.

 

Coach Aly has been coaching swim and teaching swim lessons for over nine years. She has taught every age and skill level from 6 months to 99+ years, from those who fear the water to elite levels! As a coach, she says it has been especially rewarding to watch her synchro swimmers get their own national qualifications. She is a lead instructor with our learn to swim and precompetitive levels, and assistant coach for Preteam and Artistic Swimming.

 

Aly enjoys painting, teaching preschool, traveling, and hanging out with her cat Aurora! 

Christiana Butera Assistant Coach (Synchro)
JJ Amis Gold & Silver Coach

Coach JJ is from Culver City and was active in several sports since the age of 7. He competed in judo, basketball and swimming, but realized his passion for swimming in high school. He was a Sectional, YMCA National and Junior Olympic Qualifier while representing the Westside YMCA and Pacific Palisades High School. His achievements include MVP and LA City Champion in 100 and 50 free. As a student at UC Santa Cruz, he was a Division III athlete placing 3rd in the 100 breast at the SCAC Championship and earned a top 3 spot in the UCSC Top 10 All time list in the 100 breast.

He graduated with a BA in Biology, and coached for Slug Aquatics during his time in Santa Cruz. He has additional experience coaching judo and basketball, assisting English classes in Japan and working as a summer camp counselor.  Coach JJ believes there is greatness within each of his swimmers, and emphasizes having a positive mindset to become well-accomplished individuals both in and out of the pool. His main goal as a coach is to help guide the athletes to develop a strong work ethic and confidence in their power.

Maya Laaly Assistant Coach (Swim)

Coach Maya grew up in West Los Angeles and joined Westside Aquatics at 11 years old. She moved up from our lessons program to the Varsity group, then joined our staff as an assistant with the lessons program. She is an assistant coach with Preteam & Bronze groups this season.

 

Maya enjoys seeing all the kids and hearing about their day before starting the practice. A highlight she remembers is when Preteam finished their practice with a relay race. Each team was cheering the other swimmers, and how special it is when they understand teamwork and what being a team means.  

 

Maya loves traveling. Prior to the pandemic, she went on a trip around the coast of the Mediterranean and explored countries like Montenegro. She hopes to travel to Europe, Asia and Africa to learn more about their cultures and people in the future.

Miriam Margolis Assistant Coach (Synchro)

Coach Miriam has 8 years of competitive synchronized swimming experience, representing teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2014, Miriam began coaching and performing. She is a USA Synchro CCP 1 coach, and also coaches the LA Sea Stars (Masters team). She continues to perform as a professional synchronized swimmer with AQUABATIX and plans to compete in Masters Championships. 

Peter Fishler Head Coach & Seniors

With no prior competitive experience, Peter began swimming for Palisades Charter High School in 2003. By his senior year, he had helped Pali achieve three City Championships, scoring all 4 years at the LA City Championship in the top 10. He was recognized as All-Los Angeles City Team (1st and 2nd place per event) on 6 separate occasions.  While swimming for three years at Franklin & Marshall College, he was a 12-time Centennial Conference Champion, winning individual titles in the 100 & 200 Freestyles in 2008 and 2009.  He also received two NCAA Championship “B” cuts and 15 time All-Centennial Conference awards.

 

As a Palisades High School senior, Peter coached the Pali JV Women’s squad, where he helped lead the team to the Marine League championship with an undefeated season in 2006. While attending Franklin & Marshall, he helped coach the Trident Swim Club’s senior squad, leading two men to the 2009 PIAA state finals.

 

Peter has been the full-time Assistant Coach for Palisades Charter High School Swim Team since 2011. Since then, the Women's team have claimed the last eight City Championships, won 38 events and turned in 91 CIF top 3 performances and have two CIF City Section Records to speak of. The Men's team have taken the last seven City Championships, ending their seven season title drought. They have won 55 events, been awarded 97 medals and broken 15 CIF City Section records.

 

Peter began coaching for Westside Aquatics in 2011. His swimmers have competed at the highest levels of Southern California Swimming and beyond, turning in record setting performances at the SCS Club Championship "Super JO" meet, winning SCS Junior Olympic titles as well as qualifying for Sectionals, Futures, Junior Nationals and the US Open.

 

Peter was named Head Swim Coach of Westside Aquatics in May 2018. His good-natured, assertive energy compels swimmers from Age Group to Senior to perform to their highest potential. He sets clear expectations and holds swimmers accountable, leading to consistent improvement and exciting achievements. He is beloved by many swimmers in the community, and a proud leader of the Westside family.

Teaghan Skulszki Assistant Coach (Swim)

Coach Teaghan grew up in South Florida. She joined her first team at the age of 4 and was competitive through high school. She remembers the impact her swim coaches had in her life and considers it an absolute honor to do the same at Westside Aquatics. She moved to Los Angeles in September of 2020 to pursue a career in journalism, but was lucky enough to find Westside on the way. During the weekends, Teaghan enjoys hanging out with her cat or escaping the city for some fresh air & adventure.

Valerie Williams General Manager & Head Coach Synchro

Coach Valerie has over eighteen years of coaching experience. She previously coached 12&Under teams at Los Angeles Synchro and the Meraquas of Irvine.  Her athletes have placed routines in Finals at US Nationals, and she qualified a swimmer to the 2011 U.S. National Team. She was the Assistant Coach for the 2012 12&Under U.S. National Team, and will be coaching the U.S. National team in 2016.  She is a U.S. National Team consultant, CCP3 Certified coach, Grade Level Assessor,  and a Regional judge. She is also the head coach of a local Masters team, and performs & choreographs for private shows and film/tv productions. Valerie joined Westside in 2014 to start the artistic swimming program, and is the general manager for the club and oversees all programs. 

Board of Directors