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Coaches and Staff
Coaches and Staff

Jeff Rodriguez

Head Coach

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Jeff Rodriguez is in his 20th year with the Edina Swim Club.  As Head Coach, Jeff is responsible for the senior program and the overall vision and success of the club, meanwhile, training each senior swimmer to their highest level.

His coaching experience includes developing athletes at all levels. Jeff started within the Edina program in 1997 as an assistant coach and became lead age group coach in 1998.  As age group coach in 1998, 1999, 2000, Jeff led Edina’s Age Group program to three consecutive state Championships. Jeff became Head Coach in 2000 and currently coaches the Silver, Gold and National groups.  Under his leadership, ESC has consistently placed in the top 3 at the Minnesota Championships and has won over 70 plus Top 2 age group awards at the state level.

In the past 10 years, Jeff has coached more than 60 athletes who have competed at the USA and NCSA Junior National Championships and coached swimmers at the Olympic Trials and US Open in 2012 and 2016.  Athletes on the Edina Senior and National Teams regularly place on USA Swimming's top 10 lists and have set over 60 numerous MN state records and 200 plus ESC club records. Jeff was named Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2011, selected as Staff for USA National Select Camp in 2010 and attended in 2014. He was also selected as staff for the USA Central Zone Select Camp in 2015.  In 2016, coach Jeff was nominated for Fitter and Faster Age Group Coach of the year for his age group successes. 

Jeff's coaching philosophy focuses on being a well-rounded athlete and he enjoys seeing athletes continue swimming into the next phase of their careers. He has a strong belief there is a place for everyone on a team and swimming is a lifetime sport.

As an athlete himself, Jeff competed at the Division 1 level for University of Minnesota in 1994-1998.  He was a member of the Big Ten Championship Team in 1996 that won the first championship in over 70 years to start a new tradition for the Gophers.  Jeff came away from his college career being a two time Big Ten Champion (team), received Jerry McCual Award, two time Iron Fish Award, Four time Letter “M” Winner, Hardest Worker and Most Improved and a Member of the Dean’s List and 3.0 club. His events were 200 Breast, 200IM and 400IM during the Big Ten and at the National level.  Coach Jeff earned a Bachelor of Education in Kinesiology with minors in Psychology, Spanish and Coaching from the University of Minnesota.

Away from the pool, Jeff enjoys traveling all over the world and stays active with exercise.

Nicole Helmen-Hendricks

Head Age Group Coach

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Nicole comes to Edina Swim Club with over 30 years of swimming and coaching experience.  For the past 10 years she lead an Age Group program in San Diego, CA.  In that time she developed many Nationally ranked age group swimmers, 3 of which went on to compete at the US Olympic Trials.  She also developed many Junior Olympic Qualifiers/Champions/Record Holders, Far Western Qualifiers/Champions, Zone Qualifiers/Champions, and Sectional Qualifiers.  She was also voted Age Group Coach of the Year while she was in San Diego.  

Before coaching in California, Nicole coached in Minnesota.  She was the Head Girls High School Swimming Coach at Mounds View High School for three years, and during that time she was voted Section Coach of the Year twice.   She was also an Assistant Senior Coach with Burnsville Swim Club, Edina Swim Club and Mounds View Swim Club.

She grew up swimming in Minnesota with the Burnsville Swim Club and then went on to swim at St Olaf College. 

Nicole just retired from the United States Navy and is excited to be the Head Age Group Coach.

Wojciech Palczewski

Lead Developmental Coach

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Wojtek began coaching with the Gators in the summer of 2014. He comes from Poland where he swam from age 7 through all elementary, middle and high school. He graduated from the University of Wroclaw, with a degree in Physical Education and Coaching.  His entire working career has been connected with swimming.  He worked as instructor and coach for the  Vulcans Swim Club Lincoln in England for 2 years. He then opened and managed his own swim school for kids age 2 and over, before coming to America in 2013.  He is excited to bring his extensive experience in swimming and personal training to the team. Wojtek directs the 8 and under swimmers on our team and directly leads the Gator 1 and Gator 3 groups.

Wojtek is a husband and father of 3 young kids, and he loves Minnesota even during the winter time.

John G Wood

Lead Senior Prep/Bronze

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Wilson Josephson

Lead Age Group Prep/Bronze

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Wilson Josephson, a recent graduate of Carleton College, has been swimming since he was ten years old. Since then, he has swum for a number of club teams--most recently Executive Swim Club, in Manchester, NH--as well as varsity programs at both the high school and collegiate level. While at Carleton, Wilson served for two years as team captain and swam the 200 butterfly and the freestyle relays. He also worked as the team's manager, doing everything from meet entries to archival research to scrubbing the starting blocks. He wrote for Swimming World Magazine as a college intern covering Minnesota Division III swimming--niche journalism, to be sure!--but is entirely new to Minnesota club swimming.

Wilson has four years of coaching experience with the Concord Blue Dolphins, and served as their head coach over the summer of 2015. He is thrilled to begin working with the Edina Swim Club and hopes his passion for the sport will prove infectious!

Nora Stauber

Lead Master's Coach/Assistant

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Nora Stauber joined the Edina staff in May 2016 and has been involved in swimming for almost 15 years as a club swimmer, high school swimmer, college swimmer and coach.

Growing up in Hermantown, MN, she swam with North Shore Swim Club and then Proctor-Hermantown High school where she was a 2-time state qualifier and team captain her senior season. Following her high school career, Nora swam for the Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks where she was a 4-time Conference Team member and team captain her senior season. While swimming for the Mavericks, Nora also taught swim lessons, coached club, and was a camp counselor with the Maverick Swim Lesson Program. After graduating from MSU with a degree in Sport Management, she went back up North to coach at the Duluth Area Family YMCA and work in the University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Department. 

In June 2015, Nora began pursuing her Master’s Degree in Leadership at Augsburg College where she also serves as the Swim and Dive coach. She currently resides in Wayzata, MN."

Jason D Smith

Assistant

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This will be Jason’s 8th year coaching club swimming. As a swimmer he found national level success where he swam Backstroke, Breaststroke and IM events.   Some of his highlights include winning USA Junior Nationals in the 200 backstroke, placing top 16 at US Nationals in both backstroke events, selected to the US Olympic Developmental Camp multiple times, 4 time Oregon High School state record holder in the 100 back, as well as back to back state champion in both 100 Back and 100 Breast in his Junior and Senior years (the first in the country to complete this combo).  Jason swam for the University of Florida and then later transferred to the University of Minnesota where he graduated with a BS in Sport Management.  He has trained and been mentored by some of the world’s best swim coaches.

Some of Jason’s coaching highlights include:

  • 15 National Age Group Top 10 times
  • 2 USA Junior National Qualifiers both at the age of 13.
  • Several State and Central Zone Champions as well as state record holders. 
  • Has coached 4 swimmers selected to attend USA Swimming Central Zone Select Camp
  • 4-time lead coach for the Minnesota Zone Team.

Jason’s coaching philosophy is based on providing meaningful experiences to his athletes while enhancing their skills and values in life through sports.  He emphasizes kicking, technique and IM training which allows athletes to develop into well rounded athletes. He believes that in order for an athlete to realize their full potential they must master both the mental and physical side of the sport.

Isaac Rwenzo

Assistant

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Although Isaac is Rwandan, he grew up in Jinja, Uganda and started swimming as a young boy.  He began swimming competitively at age 12.  In his swimming career, he competed for the country of Uganda at the All Africa Games and the World Championships in Italy in 2005.  He graduated with a B.S. degree in Sports Science from United States University in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Over the last 10 years Isaac has taught swimming to children as young as 3 years old all the way up to high school athletes.  He was the Head Coach for the International School of Uganda Swim Team winning 8 conference championships.  In 2013 Isaac became the Athletic Director/PE Teacher at GEMS Cambridge International School in Kampala, Uganda.  Isaac started a swim team at the school in 2013.  By 2015, GEMS ranked 3rd among all international schools in Uganda beating his former ISU team.

Since 2007, Isaac served as Ugandas National Swimming Head Coach.  He has coached athletes to various World Championship games, Common Wealth Games, All Africa Games and the Youth Olympics.  In 2012, one of his swimmers qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.  Isaac was chosen as the Ugandan Head Swimming Coach for the 2012 Olympics. 

Isaac also started a private swimming club in Uganda.  The club had grown to 60 kids ranging in age from 7-18 years old.  Isaac loves to help swimmers reach their full potential and reach the highest level of swimming they can. 

Isaac moved to the U.S. with his wife in May 2015.  They live in Prior Lake and enjoy being outside and being in the water.  Isaac is excited to be part of the Gator coaching staff!

 

 

Taylor Renee Bacon

Assistant

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This is Taylor’s first year with the Edina swim club, although the pool has always been a second home to her. She began competitively swimming with a club team in Mankato at the age of 6. Her swimming career continued into high school where she earned All American honors. After constant pain while swimming, due to an injury she opted not to swim in college.

For the last five years, Taylor has coached with multiple programs both in Mankato and in the Twin Cities. She has worked developing and training kids at various levels including; age group kids for a club team in Mankato and High School boys at Mankato East. Taylor loves helping kids fall in love with the sport of swimming and coaching in a way that allows swimming to be a lifelong passion.

Taylor has her B.S. in Marketing and works during the day for a company in Minnetonka. When she’s not working or coaching, she enjoys being outside and still fuels her desire to compete by running both half and full marathons.

Katy Vandam

Assistant

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James Christenson

Assistant

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Jake Stodolka

Assistant

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Julie McCarthy

Office Administrator

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