SwimRVA is fortunate to have a highly-skilled, experienced team of aquatics leaders from around the Richmond area and around the country. From our front office staff to our water polo coaches, we’re as friendly and welcoming as we are passionate and driven.
Scott Bennett is a Richmond native. He grew up around water and swimming for summer leagues, and has a box of ribbons to prove it! Scott studied Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management at Radford University. He worked as the Facility Coordinator for the Christiansburg Aquatic Center before coming back home. He now enjoys sharing the amazing stories of the clients he serves at SwimRVA as the Director of Communications. He also enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, three crazy young boys and his dog.
Sarah is from Vassalboro, Maine and loves the outdoors. Some of her favorite things about the outdoors include camping, four wheeling, swimming and, bonfires. Sarah’s favorite thing about SwimRVA is the members. She loves interacting with them and seeing them progress and grow. That is genuinely her favorite part of her job.
Coach Ben started swimming at 3 with the Chesterfield Aquatic League (CAL) from 3 until 18, and the Y- League from 3 until 18, where he also coached for five years! He swam while out Kansas for a period before coming to SwimRVA. Being a sprint swimmer, Coach Ben loves swimming the 50 Free and 100 Free. A couple of his favorite locations to swim were at KU and Florida. Ben wants to make sure Rapids swimmers become well rounded teammates, saying, “I want kids to get fun, learning, and a sense of unity from being a member of this team.”
Coach Sarah started swimming at the age of 5 and never looked back! Sarah is a past swimmer for Liberty University and the Dolphin Club, where she first met Coach Jonathan. Her current focus is the Olympic Trials cut in 2020! Her favorite race is the Individual Medley (IM), and often sings AC/DC in her head while she practices. Sarah’s leadership skills have also developed over the years. She taught swim lessons and coached summer league teams throughout her high school career, and started coaching yearlong with Coach Jonathan at the Dolphin Club. Coach Sarah will be around all levels of Rapids swimmers, especially during Class 2(Advanced Novice), Class 4(Junior), Class 5(Senior) practices. “I want the kids to get the family atmosphere; this being a safe space for them, to come here to get away from everything.”
Brad’s love for the water started at age 4, when he began swimming during the summer. At 9, that grew to include year-round swimming which extended through his time as team captain at JMU. Brad began lifeguarding and repairing pools in his teen years and can commonly be found rooting around in a pump room somewhere at SwimRVA. Brad also enjoys snowboarding, cycling, and going on adventures with his daughter and dog.
Tom was born in South Jersey and lived until the age of 18 where he decided to then join the air-force. Tom then later moved to Richmond and started working for the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Tom’s favorite thing about living in Richmond is the excitement of the city its so upbeat and the energy is amazing. The people here are so positive and doing positive things.
Coach Kallie is a Richmond native that found her way back via swimming! Like many budding athletes Kallie started her swimming career in summer league. Her yearlong swimming career began with BACS, then transitioned to Poseidon where she competed in the 2008 Olympic Trials. She would go on to swim for Arizona State University and would again qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials. Coach Kallie’s coaching history successfully complements her swimming experience. Her first coaching experience came when she worked as the assistant coach for a summer league team her senior year of high school. After college she was an assistant coach for Poseidon for a year before attending graduate school, and coached Southampton summer league before coming to SwimRVA! Her personal goal for the SwimRVA Rapids is to make sure each swimmer retains their enjoyment out of the sport. “Success is pushed a lot, and that’s definitely part of it [swimming], but the sheer joy is something important to incorporate.” Catch her helping all the swimmers, especially Class 3(Age Group)!
Jacob is born and raised in Richmond. Jacob studied Biology and Pre-Med at VCU. Jacobs favorite place to eat in Richmond would have to be Burger Bach. He highly recommends the east coast burger, the blueberry chipotle sauce makes the burger. A cool fact about Jacob is he is a competitive baton twirler and ranked 3rd in the nation, and was selected for the USA team for worlds in 2018.
Hollie is from Chesterfield, Virginia and works close with the community she a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She also went on to study Business Administration. Hollie’s favorite thing about SwimRVA is the fun and safe family atmosphere. She loves seeing all of our members achieve their personal goals and strive to do better. Fun Fact about Hollie is she is big into concerts and has been to more than 50. Elvis Presley is included in that list.
A native of Chesapeake VA, Benjamin is a creative strategist and dedicated team-player. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017 with a B.S. in Marketing, Benjamin joined SwimRVA as a Communications Coordinator. He works to promote the SwimRVA mission at every level, both digitally and in-person. Outside of work, Benjamin volunteers as the Chapter Advisor for the University of Richmond Chapter and the Secretary for the Greater Richmond Alumni Colony of Alpha Kappa Psi.
Jacob has been with SwimRVA for two years and serves as the Head Water Polo Coach and Coaching Specialist at SwimRVA which encompasses the SwimRVA Water Polo program, Learn-To-Swim program, SwimRVA Swim School and the SwimRVA Autism Swims program. Jacob has an extensive background in swimming, both coaching, and competing. He joined his first swim team when he was 5 years old and continued until he started coaching at 18 years old. In high school, Jacob was captain of the swim team and the lacrosse team. He played water polo for two summers while helping organize the Lake Ridge Water Polo club. In the summer of 2018 Jacob also served as the head coach for Meadowbrook Country Club.
Jonathan comes to SwimRVA after a very successful two years as the head coach at the Dolphin Club in Richmond. In two years Jonathan grew the club from 63 to 183 athletes. Jonathan believes in each child’s potential and growing relationships one swimmer, one family at a time. While at Dolphin Club, the team improved in USA Swimming’s virtual club rankings from 31st to 23rd in the state and 1955th to 958th nationally. At Virginia Swimming’s age group champs the team improved from 30th (27 points) to 15th (291 points) and his girls team finished 9th overall, while also having a Top 15 team finish (Top 10 Girls) at Senior Champs for the first time in team history.
Prior to Dolphin Club, Jonathan served as the assistant director of competitive swimming at YMCA of Triangle Area. As head coach of the Gold group he tutored 50 YMCA National qualifiers, 5 YMCA national finalists, 12 NCSA Junior National qualifiers, 2 USA-Swimming Winter Junior National and 1 USA-Swimming Winter National qualifier. Jonathan helped YOTA grow to 600 members and earn Top 25 rankings in USA Swimming’s Virtual Club Championship. While at YOTA, Jonathan worked with over 130 athletes with video instruction and stroke analyzation.
Before heading to Raleigh, Kaplan coached in Richmond for NOVA of Virginia Aquatics as the head coach of the Senior Silver group and assistant coach of Senior Gold. Jonathan’s Senior Silver group included 16 NCSA Junior National, 6 USA Swimming Winter Junior National and 1 USA Swimming Winter National Championship qualifier, 1 National Age Group Record participant, and 14 Virginia State Records. While at NOVA the team earned a 3rd place overall team finish at the 2014 Spring NCSA Championships, an overall Virginia State Championship and a 6th place overall team ranking in the USA Swimming Virtual Club Championships. Jonathan help in the organization and create of the first ever Henrico County high school swimming program.
From 2006 to 2013 Jonathan was the head swim coach of the Panama City Swim Team. While head coach the year round membership grew from 65 to 250 members. PCST earned bronze medal club status for USA Swimming Club Excellence. In 2012, PCST had its first ever swimmer compete at the USA Swimming Olympic Team Trials. In addition, Kaplan tutored 3 swimmers who qualified for USA Swimming’s Summer National Championship, 3 qualifiers to USA Swimming’s Summer Junior National Championship, 11 NCSA qualifiers, 1 USA Swimming Junior National Runner Up, 1 US Open Finalist, 5 SES Champions, 2 LSC records, 3 HS All-Americans and 6 Florida High School State Champions. In 2011, PCST won Southeastern Swimming Medium Team Championship. 17 of Kaplan’s swimmers went on to compete in the NCAA. One of Jonathan’s greatest accomplishments includes the fortune of coaching a high school valedictorian in 6 consecutive years while at PCST.
Jonathan is a graduate of Florida State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Sport Management and his Master of Science in Sport Administration. He resides in Richmond with his wife, Jessica, and their two sons Rowan and Finlay. Needless to say, he and his family are excited for the Rise of the Rapids here with SwimRVA!
Debbie is our Director of Programs at SwimRVA and more affectionately known as “The Brains” of the operation. Debbie has her Bachelor’s degree in physical education and business; she studied sports management for her Master’s and received a Doctorate in adult education and human resource development.
Elizabeth Larsen joins the SwimRVA team on July 30, 2018. We are super excited to have her on deck as a member of the SwimRVA Rapids as we start a new chapter of the program!
Elizabeth, a Richmond native, comes to SwimRVA from the Wallingford YMCA Dolphins were she has served as the assistant head coach. She helped swimmers of all ages achieve success in the pool as members of USA Swimming and the YMCA as well as out of the pool. She is passionate about each child learning how to use swimming as a vehicle to goal setting, team building and becoming a great citizen. While in Wallingford, she also served as the head masters coach. During the day, Elizabeth worked as a student affairs assocatiate at her alma mater, Yale University, in the Yale College Dean’s Office. She developed and provided non-clinical, educational services to undergraduates aimed at reducing the risks associated with drugs and alcohol. In her role she also worked to foster a more positive sexual culture within the Yale College community by collaborating with Yale leadership and students.
Prior to her work as an student affairs associate, and immediately after graduation, she was a student affairs fellow in the Dean’s office for two years. She created Yale’s first leadership training for Varsity Captains. She led a team of over 60 student employees to create a healthier, more vibrant campus culture. Elizabeth spent four years at Yale as a member of the varsity swim team. As an undergraduate, Elizabeth spent four years at Yale as a member of the varsity swim team and was captain of Yale Women’s Swimming and Diving during the 2014-2015 season.
Elizabeth was also the head coach of the Summerlake Swim Team in Chesterfield from 2012 and 2013 and an assistant coach in 2010 and 2011. She helped 116 athletes achieve great success and have a blast learning the sport of swimming here in RVA! Elizabeth swam her prep years at NOVA of Virginia Aquatics and Quest Swimming. She is excited to return to RVA and start this new chapter for herself and the SwimRVA Rapids!
Rose has lived in Richmond, Virginia for 42 years and has enjoyed every minute of it. She loves how low key Richmond is compared to NOVA where she use to live. Rose has her B.F.A. in painting and printmaking.Rose loves teaching classes here at SwimRVA and seeing the active older adults achieve their goals.
Danielle was born and raised here Richmond, Virginia. Danielle is pursuing her degree and study Early Childhood Education. Danielle’s favorite thing about SwimRVA is their mission to elevate swimming in the Richmond region making water safety and aquatic fitness more accessible to all, and her time being a swimming instructor for SwimRVA.
Coach Steve has loved being in the water for as long as he can remember. “My older sister was a swimmer, so my brother and I tagged along to the pool,” said Coach Steve. He would follow in his sister’s footsteps, swimming competitively up to his graduation from Penn State. After graduation Steve took time away from swimming to work in the corporate world, but always kept his passion for the sport. “After awhile I realized that coaching was something I wanted to get back in to, and the opportunity to join the Rapids was perfect.” Catch Coach Steve working primarily with the Class 1 (Novice), Class 4 (Junior) and Class 5 (Senior) Rapids groups!
Gerard joined SwimRVA in the spring of 2016 and currently uses his creative skills to execute a wide variety of communication tasks for the organization, such as video production, design, social media, strategy and storytelling. A native of RVA, Gerard graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Creative Advertising.
Alejandra is from Panama City, Panama She has her Bachelors in International Affairs and is working on her Masters in Sports Leadership. Some of her favorite things about Richmond would include the river, running trails, and all the amazing food and places to eat in Richmond. Alejandra actually use to participate in Horse show jumping. She also got to go to the first 2010 youth Olympic games in Singapore.
Rebecca has worked in aquatics for more than half of her life (17 years and counting!). She loves everything about it, but her particular passion has always been to help provide opportunities for people to get in and enjoy the water who would not normally do so. In addition to everything from parent-child sessions to adult swim training, she has also taught lifeguard certification classes to Richmond area lifesavers for 6 years. A dedicated water safety advocate, she also manages our in-house lifeguards and helps to ensure that the day-to-day operations of our complex run smoothly.
Kris was born in Buffalo, NY. His father was in the Air Froce so he grew up all over living in New Mexico, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Las Vegas NV, South Dakota, Maryland, Florida, Chicago IL and now Richmond VA! He studied Phsycology with a focus on child development and research mtheods. Kris also got a minor in Sociology. He fell in love with the samll-town vibes with big city attractions that Richmond offers. He has a passion for helping kids and believes SwimRVA’s ability to educate is what makes it such a great place to work and that desire to teach helps breed an environment the promotes growth and development in everyone thats involved. Also, Kris has performed stand-up comedy and hopes to pursue it professionally one day.
Renee graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Sciences and a concentration in Health Assessment and Promotion. She is currently the Head Wellness Coach at SwimRVA, where she continues to follow her passion of promoting health and fitness by helping others meet their wellness goals.