Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
KJ Kroetch HEAD COACH & 13-18s

Hi, I'm KJ, and I'm thrilled to be coaching the Louisville Dolphins! I grew up in Lafayette, California, where I swam in a summer league from age 7-18. I started coaching as a team "Junior Coach" as soon as I could (at 13) and eventually became the team's assistant head coach before moving on to other coaching opportunities, including the head coach of a different summer team. I went to Tufts University in Boston, where I swam and was the team's backstroker. After graduation, I moved home to the San Francisco Bay Area where I started a career in construction management. Despite taking on a "real" job, I continued to coach masters swimming and triathletes as well as compete in my own events. I moved to the Boulder area in May 2021 to pivot back to what I love - coaching swimming and triathlon.

Mary Ellen Ward 8&U SILVERS (Competitive Team)

Mary Ellen was introduced to the BVSSL while she was in college.  She loved how the League promoted Aquatics, since she was always so involved in swimming and diving as she grew up.

Mary Ellen has been teaching Swimming and Diving for more than 35 years.  She's been involved in the Dolphins since her children were young.  Sometimes as a parent and sometimes as a coach.  She loves our dolphins community and feels blessed to be a part of it.

Paul Brunette 9-10s

Swimming has been a part of my life since I joined the Louisville Dolphins at six years old. I was taught to swim personally by Mary Ellen Ward, because I was too unfocused in group lessons to learn and not drown at the same time. At that time, no one thought there was any way I would become a competitive swimmer. I continued to swim for the Dolphins a total of ten years, swam four years with Monarch High School, captaining my senior year and attending State every year, finishing my career with the Dolphins as the BVSSL male Swimmer of the Year, Richard Lacy award recipient, and the Co-Captain of the team.

My own experiences have led me to the conclusion that the difference between mediocrity and greatness in a child can often fall to the people that surround them, including friends, parents and teachers. My hope is to not only create great swimmers, but to create a community of great people that inspire each other and everyone they meet.

I recently graduated with a Degree in Electrical Engineering from CU Boulder, and am employed at Syncroness Product Solutions. When I’m not working, I like to work with music and revel in the fact that I’m not in school anymore.

Carl Diehl 11-12s

A water rat since I was old enough to “bob” in the water in a life vest, I swam my first race at 7 winning against popular belief with an efficient dog paddle against an inefficient freestyle. I began coaching with my summer club team at 12 having a “special status” as the only AAU swimmer. I swam in both high school and college and was captain of both teams . After graduating, I swam and coached the Air Force and age group teams in Taipei Taiwan while in the service. I returned to coaching in 1988 with the High Mar Swim and Tennis Club, then the former Boulder Poseidon’s, North Jeffco Swim Club, and finally head coach of the Brighton Bull Frogs, and the Brighton HS girls and boys swim teams. Now that I am “retired” I am coaching with the Boulder Valley School District boys and girls dive teams, a new and exciting challenge for me.

Karina Plocek ASST COACH

Karina is excited to begin her second with the Dolphins. Prior to moving to Colorado in 2017, she was the head coach at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

She grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, swimming summer league since the age of seven. She went on to swim as a scholarship athlete at Miami University, becoming the Conference Scholar-Athlete of the year and earning Academic All-American honors her senior year.

Karina started to compete again with Masters swimming after moving to Colorado. She has attended various short course and long course Masters National meets. In 2021, she set a new Colorado state record in the 50 LCM fly with a time that topped the FINA world rankings for the year. In addition to coaching, Karina enjoys her job as an Occupational Therapist.

Ben Nickell ASST COACH

Ben began swimming competitively at a very young age in California. After moving to Boulder in 2011, he continued swimming for Boulder Swimming. After a brief hiatus from the sport, he returned and swam for Rallysport Aquatic Club whilst competing for Fairview High School. After transitioning to Elevation Athletics, Ben competed several times at Colorado State Championships and once at the Speedo Four Corners Sectional Championships.  With Fairview, he made two consecutive appearances at the CHSAA Boys 5A State Championships in the 100 yard breaststroke and the 200 yard Medley Relay.  Currently swimming NCAA Division III for the Willamette University Bearcats in Salem, OR, he specializes in the breaststroke events and distance freestyle. He is a two time Northwest Conference finalist in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke and is a program record holder in the 400 yard Medley Relay. At Willamette, Ben is pursuing his undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology.  After falling in love with coaching in high school and coaching briefly in Oregon before returning to Colorado in the summers, he spent several summers on the coaching staff at the YMCA of Northern Colorado before taking the reins as head coach. Ben is incredibly excited to be coaching with the Dolphins!

Sarah Latham-Timmons ASST COACH


Board of Directors