Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Joe Benjamin Head Coach & Aquatics Director

Coach Joe Benjamin is the Head Coach of RSD Swim Team, the Lead Coach of the Senior Championship Group, and the Aquatics Director of our Pardee Aquatics Center. Joe has been with RSD Swim Team since 1995, and his built our program into what it is today. Joe is a level 5 ASCA coach, USA Swimming’s highest designation. During Joe’s tenure as the Head Coach, team membership has increased from 30 members to 500 athletes and a staff of 14 Coaches, many lifeguards and administrators. During this time, RSD has created an unparalelled Team Culture, with a thriving and ever improving competitive program.  Coach Joe has produced many JO, Sectionals, Futures, Junior National, Senior National, and Olympic Trial qualifiers.

Coach Joe started his swimming career at the age of six, and swam competitively through school and college. Coach Joe competed at Junior Nationals, Senior Nationals, and Olympic Trials level, and he was named to the USA National Team during his college years, at the University of Georgia, where he was team captain.

San Diego Imperial Swimming Senior Coach of the Year 2018

US National Swim Team Alumni 

US National Free Diving Team Alumni

Head Coach USA Swimming Southern Zone Select Camp Coach 2018

Assistant Coach USA Swimming National Select Camp 2017

 

 

Pietro Deriu Lead Coach: Sr Champ Prep
Pietro was born and raised in Italy. After two years of University in the Aerospace Engineering program, he denied to pursue his dream in swimming; dedicating his full time and making this sport as his career. 
 
Swimming professionally for 6 years, during which time he achieved top place finished at European Championships and won various medals at Italian Championships. In 2001, he was ranked top 60 in the world in the 50M and 100M freestyle events. 
 
While bringing years of academic education, he is a certified professional Athletic Trainer for top level athletes. His expertise is within stroke development and refinement, core, balance, mobility and functional training (i.e. fit ball, aqua bags, TRX, & kettle bell), efficiency improvement , and video kinetic analysis. 
 
Pietro implements his passion for the sport of swimming into his coaching style and is committed to the constant growth of knowledge and incorporating it int his coaching with enthusiasm, discipline, and compassion. 
 
2006-2012 held the Head Coach position at the world renowned Forum Sports Center Swim Team based in Rome, Italy. While in Rome he worked with members of the Italian Olympic Team, World Championship, and Italian National Championship qualifiers. 
 
Coming to the United States in 2012, from 2012-2014 he worked full time as the Lead Senior Coach for Redlands Swim Team in Redlands, CA. Through his dedication, Coach Pietro has successfully produced a number of top 30 nationally ranked swimmers who have represented Southern California in international competitions.. 
 
In 2015, Coach Pietro, was then hired as Head coach at Calvert Aquatics Club in Prince Fredrick, MD. At that time the team had only been funded for 3 months and had built the program from the bottom up, creating a path for high level swimming. The swimmers have improved their times from B to quadruple A times; also qualifying for MD State Championships, Speedo Sectionals, and Future Championships. 
Gracie Van der Byl Assistant Coach: Sr. Champ & Champ Prep

Coach Gracie Van der Byl was the former lead coach of the White Group. She is currently an assistant with the Sr Champ & Champ Prep groups.  She is one of RSD’s most versatile coaches, having helped with every group on our team. Her deep background and extensive knowledge of the sport is part of the reason she was named San Diego-Imperial Age Group Coach of the Year in 2010. Coach Gracie started swimming at age 7 in Mississippi and is currently continuing her impressive career. She was team captain for her club team, The Woodlands Swim Club in Texas. She swam at the University of Houston. Gracie was a Junior National, Senior National, and Olympic Trial Qualifier. As a Masters Swimmer, Grace is a 5 time All American, she holds numerous SDI records and is ranked top 10 in the world in two events. As an open water swimmer Gracie holds two course records for Alcatraz swims and is in the Hall of Fame.

Richard Contreras Lead Coach: Sr. Blue

Coach Richard Contreras is the lead coach of the Senior Blue Group. He has been with the RSD swim team for 14 years. He has been coaching swimming for over 20 years. He is also in his 14th year of coaching at Torrey Pines High School (7th as head coach). He has twice been voted “Coach of the Year” for the North County Conference of high schools. Richard was a two year starter in water polo at Sierra College in Rocklin. At Sierra College he earned all-conference honors twice in both swimming and water polo. Richard is a graduate of Cal. State San Marcos where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American history.

Armani Kobik Lead Coach: Sr. White, Red, & Fish

Coach Armani is the lead coach of the Senior White, Red, Leopard Shark, and Corvina groups. Armani moved to the San Diego area after growing up in Pittsburgh, PA. Armani developed his coaching skills early on through lesson programs with his childhood club. After attending and swimming for Allegheny College, Armani moved back home and coached for Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics while also being the head coach of the Hunting Ridge Swim Team from 2013-2014.

Rosa Bebi Lead Coach: Sr. Red & Development

Rosa Bebi is the lead coach for Senior Red and Senior Development. She also is the assistant coach for Corvina and Leopard Shark. Rosa has been coaching with RSD since the beginning of 2017. Rosa has been swimming competitively since 2002. She swam for Wave House Swim Team where she trained with swimmers on the paralympic team. She then swam for UCSD and mainly competed in the 400 IM and 200 Breaststroke. Although Rosa no longer swims competitively, she is now happy to pass on her knowledge to swimmers on RSD.

Brandon Staley Head Age Group Coach

Brandon is entering his first fall season with RSD and is looking forward to the success of the program.

Prior to coming to California, Brandon was the Head Coach for Kraken Swimming, in Youngstown, Ohio. Since his start, Staley’s expansion of Kraken Swimming took it from an age group program to one that allows for swimmers of all ages to participate including parent and child, lessons (private and group), age group, middle school, high school, and masters (swimmers over theage of 18). During his time at Kraken, Staley observed the breaking of 74 USA Club Team Records and 14 High School Records He has also coached the team to a victory at the Youngstown Showdown. Some of his swimmers have had top finishes at the Lake Erie 8 & Under Championship and Age Group Championship meets. The high school girls were the AAC High School Conference Championship Runners-Up in (2019). Other notable mentions include top place finishers in the High School Sectional, District, and State meets, USA Zone Qualifiers, an Ironman World Championship Qualifier (masters’ level), and Masters’ National Championship Qualifiers, 2017/18 and 2018/19 Trumbull County High School Coach of the Year.

Prior to coaching for Kraken, Staley was the Head Coach at Poland Seminary High School for one season. During his time with the Bulldogs, four school records were broken, and a swimmer finished in the top eight at the High School District Meet. In addition to coaching for Kraken and Poland, Staley was the Head Coach at Logan Swim Club for five seasons. Under his direction, the team grew from 15 to 75 swimmers, saw its first dual meet win in several years, and had top finishers at the Youngstown Swim League (YSL) Championship Meet.

During the 2018-2019 Season, Brandon was the voluneer assistant for Youngstown State University Womens Swim and Dive. During his time with YSU Brandon assisted with the writing of practices and coaching the sprint group. 

To expand his knowledge and stay up-to-date on the latest swimming techniques, Staley works at swim camps each summer. He has attended the Navy Swim Camp the last four years and recently spent his first summer assisting at the Texas Longhorns Swim Camp where he had the opportunity to work with several Olympians including Ian Crocker, Josh Davis, and Jack Conger.


In Staley’s personal swim career, he is most recently a Masters’ National Qualifier. During his collegiate career, he competed for Allegheny College where he specialized in distance freestyle, while also competing in the 200 butterfly, the 200 backstroke, and the 400 individual medley. At his conference meet, he finished in the top 16. As a graduate of Liberty High School, he was a High School District Qualifier and multiple record-holder. He competed at Y-Nationals with first, second, third, fifth, and eighth place finishes and was also a member of the USA Quads Team and Y-Zones Qualifier. Outside of swimming, Staley studied music and composing at Allegheny College followed by music education at YSU.

Allison de Peralta Assistant Coach: White
Bryan Jacobson Lead Coach: FSS Fish Groups

Creating a safe, fun and friendly aquatic environment sets the culture of Coach Bryan's coaching philosophy. With over 30 years in aquatics and over 13 years with Rancho San Dieguto swim team, Bryan brings creativity to every workout. His coaching experience began with The Dolphins in Portland, Oregon under the premier coach Nacim Bouferrache (100 meter, 18 and under, African Champion). 

Seeking more sunshine and better waves Bryan moved to Southern California. He sought out the best aquatic facility (Pardee Aquatic Center) and the best team (RSD). This is where he has led the entry level swimmers to grow to their maximum potential. Coach Bryan believes the best way to develop a great swimmer is for them to love the sport.

Masako Baron Assistant Coach: Fish Groups & FSS

Coach Masako was born and raised in Omaezaki, Japan. She was always into the water and loved to swim and surf. SHe started swimming at the age of 9 and swam competitively until the age of 18. As a swimmer, Masako, set the city record for the 200 Breastroke. She graduated from Tokai University High in 1996. Masko began her coaching gareer after graduating high school. Masako moved to California in 2005 with her Husband. They have two kids, Miko and Ki, who swim on RSD. Masako began coaching for RSD in 2015 and loves swimming with the kids and teaching them new skills in and out of the water. 

Wesley Whittlesey Lead Coach: FSS Senior

Born and raised in Encinitas, California, Coach Wesley has been involved with swimming since he was 6-years-old. He joined RSD as a swimmer in August of 2009, swimming in Senior Championship Prep for one season, before moving up to swim for Senior Championship under Coach Joe from 2010-2014. After graduating from San Dieguito Academy (Class of 2014), Coach Wesley swam for the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he specialized in the 100 backstroke, the 200 backstroke, and the 200 IM, and is a 3-time school record holder. He would go on to graduate with a B.A. in Psychology (Class of 2018). Coach Wesley began his coaching career in September of 2014 as an assistant coach for Slug Aquatics in Santa Cruz, California, where he coached for four years. After graduating from UCSC, Coach Wesley came home and has been coaching for RSD since September 2018. When asked why he wanted to return to RSD, he replied: "RSD is a place where young swimmers come to succeed. Swimmers from all over come to join this team to get faster, achieve lifelong goals, have fun with each other, work with some of the most dedicated coaches out there, and do it all while enjoying the Southern California sunshine. How could you not want to be a part of that?" Aside from coaching at RSD, Coach Wesley is currently attending California Lutheran University to obtain his doctorate in Clinical Psychology. He firmly believes that swimming is a collaborative process between swimmers and coaches that takes time to perfect, and that swimmers must truly love and have fun swimming in order to be successful. 

Deon Lourens Assistant Coach

                                          RESPONSIBILITIES                                                                                                                

Developed an annual strategic plan and was accountable for short- and long-term program goals. Budget management and reporting. Hired, trained, supervised full and part time staff, developed staff and managed performance team. Successful management of personal training and group exercise programs and departments. Provided mentorship to college interns. Developed, delivered and evaluated the health promotions, incentives and other specialty programs. Performed fitness assessments, determined exercise prescriptions and conducted workouts for a diverse population, including high risk exercise participants. Supervised and monitored exercise floor. Provided administrative support to members, including membership enrollments, terminations and general inquiries. As the Corporate Wellness Coach for PIRCH and now for Near Shore Technology, built a wellness program from the ground up, coached large clientele, bucket list events, grand canyon hikes, boot camps Hawaii, California, Merida and Puebla, Team cycling event fundraisers (CAF, Team Joey), Spinning event Fundraisers (CAF), and Training for 3 day for the Cure group hikes.

                                            QUALIFICATIONS                                                                                                               

Bachelor’s degree in English (Major with a minor in Physical Education, University of Natal, RSA) USA Triathlon Level 2 certified Coach, Iron Man Certified Coach,, USA Swimming Certified Coach, ASCA Level 2 Certified Coach,  American Red Cross Lifeguard, CPR/AED & First Aid Certified, AFFA Group Ex, YMCA Strength and Conditioning, New Leaf Metabolic Physiology Testing/Programming, Electro-Cardiography Technician, Exercise Physiology Proctor, Postural Dysfunction Trainer, Heart Aerobics/Heart Personal Training, Indoor Cycling Instructor(Spinning MDA, Kaiser, Schwinn), Gravity Trainer/Group Instructor                                                                                                              

                                                            EXPERIENCE

I have over 30 years of experience coaching multi-sport athletes and 27 years of experience in the fitness industry and community wellness. Personal Trainer/Instructor for YMCA Encinitas (88-92), Personal Trainer/Instructor Del Mar Workout (93-98), Fitness Manager of Frogs Club One Encinitas (98-03), Co-Owner/General Manager of Core Center of Fitness Encinitas (03-08), Fitness manager, RSD Swim Team Coach at the Boys and Girls Club of San Dieguito (08-current). Corporate Wellness Coach for PIRCH LCC (13-16). Corporate Wellness Dir Experience teaching group exercise, circuit classes, personal training, indoor cycling, multi-sport coaching (running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, paddle boarding, Mountain Biking and the ability to teach a wide variety classes. Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills. Basic computer literacy (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, email, internet, web sites)

                                                        PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS                                                                                

Olympic Hopeful in Olympic Kayaking, Regional and National Ocean Lifeguard Competitor, Regional and National Triathlon Team member at age 16. All American in Duathlon at age 22. First Iron Man, First Marathon, First Ultra Marathon at age 18. Started racing and training for triathlons professionally at age 23 and retired after 20 years. Love training, competing, Kayaking, Ocean lifeguard competition, running, Cycling, Swimming, Duathlons, Aquathons, Surf Ski Racing and paddle board racing for over 34 years and counting. Started training and racing distance paddle boarding in 2009 winning, placing top 3 in many races including 11 World Championships, member of the USA Team 2014 silver medalist. Hundreds of races and hundreds of wins in all disciplines “Goals are Dreams with Deadlines” Immigrated to the USA from South Africa at the age of 21. Became a USA naturalized citizen in 1996. Married to wife Theresa with 3 children, Kevin, Hunter and Halle.

Paul Mazzarelle Aquatics Team Manager

Paul Mazzarelle returned to RSD in November 2015 and brings more than 25 years of competitive swim coaching experience to RSD. Paul started coaching in 1991 with North Coast Swim Club in Arcata, CA while earning a degree in Biology at Humboldt State University. After graduation, Paul worked as an Age Group Coach in San Diego and simultaneously coached high school swimming and water polo for three years. In 1998 Paul returned to Arcata as the Head Coach of Humboldt Swim Club. Paul produced three young Junior National qualifiers in just two years (swimmers aged 14, 15, and 16) gaining team recognition in the area and preparing the local swimmers for collegiate swimming. Paul also coached for Pacific Swimming at Western Zones and was selected by Pacific Swimming to attend the National Age Group Coaches Conference at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY. The clinic was moderated by USA Swimming’s Bill Boomer who revolutionized stroke technique with a scientific whole-body approach to teaching and training competitive swimmers. Paul continues to carry these concepts with him to his daily practices. Paul was also an Associate Professor teaching swimming classes at College of the Redwoods between his morning and afternoon club coaching duties.

Always seeking education and mentorship, Paul spent two summers as a coach with the Stanford National Swim Camp, which reinforced the stroke technique and training philosophies of Bill Boomer/Stanford University with Olympic Coaches Richard Quick and Skip Kenney, 6- and 3-time Olympic Coaches respectively.

From 2000-2005 he joined the coaching staff at the world-renowned Mission Viejo Nadadores in Mission Viejo, CA. During his time in Mission Viejo, Paul was the 13-14 Division Director overseeing a number of assistant coaches and was responsible for coaching the club's elite 13- and 14-year-old swimmers. Paul developed multiple individual and relay NRT (Top 16) swimmers in the 13-14 age group (swimmers earning an NRT time are in the top 1 percent of American age group swimmers). With well over 750-year-round team members, Paul was responsible for almost 150 swimmers in the 13-14 age group. In addition to his coaching responsibilities in the 13-14 age group, Paul assisted with daily National Team practices under the tutelage of Hall of Fame inductee Coach Bill Rose. Paul was fortunate enough to be a member of the Nadadores staff during two Olympic cycles in which Coach Rose placed Chad Carvin (200 freestyle) on the 2000 Olympic Team and Larsen Jensen (silver medalist and American Record holder in the 1500 freestyle) on the 2004 Olympic Team. The Mission Viejo Nadadores have successfully placed at least one athlete on every U.S. Olympic Team from 1976 to the present. Paul served as a coach for numerous Southern California Swimming All Star Teams and served as Vice Chair for the Orange Section and the Program committee.

Paul’s tenure at Mission Viejo was cut short to tend to an ailing family member and moved back to San Diego after only five years with the club. In 2005 Paul was hired in his first-stint with RSD as Head Age Group Coach. At the time, RSD was ever-growing and seemingly becoming better with each passing year. By the time a second pool was built, Paul’s responsibilities increased by overseeing the program and assistant coaches as membership swelled from 100 to 250 swimmers aged 12 and younger. Paul managed the growth and helped create an age group progression from novice to elite swimmers. Paul also worked with the local governing swimming committee and was active in the San Diego-Imperial Swimming Coaches Association and Meet Program Committee.

In 2010 Paul’s then-fiancée Shannon was relocated to the bay area for work. Paul tagged along and while in NorCal Paul secured a Head Coach position for a small team of 60 swimmers working out at Solano Community College. During his tenure, the team swelled from 60 swimmers to 140+ by building a strong age group program and moving the older swimmers to success at the High School Section Championships and Senior levels; with one swimmer achieving USA National times in the distance events. He also was involved in the local LSC Board and committees and was selected to coach the Sierra Nevada all-star training group at the Olympic Training Center Colorado Springs, CA.

In 2012 Paul was awarded a Masters of Sports Science from the United States Sports Academy and is ASCA Level 4 meeting specific education and performance requirements.

Paul and Shannon welcomed their son Rocco in August 2014 and in December 2015 returned to San Diego to be closer to family. RSD was the ONLY team Paul wanted to return to and feels blessed to be back with his favorite San Diego swim team! Paul also assists part-time with San Diego Mesa Men’s’ and Women’s’ Swim Teams and teaches exercise science classes at the college as well.

Board of Directors