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Coaching Staff

Jeff Rodriguez

Co Head Coach

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Jeff Rodriguez is in his 15th year as Head Coach of 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 2002 and currently coaches the three senior groups Bronze, Silver, and Gold. 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 five 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 in 2012.  Athletes on the Edina Senior and National Teams regularly place on USA Swimming's top 10 lists and have set over 40 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.

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.

Denise Carlson

Co Head Coach

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Coach Denise is her 10th year of coaching on Edina Club and her 3rd year as Co Head Coach.  She is one of a few Minnesota Coaches who have achieved an ASCA Level 4 rating, having spent the last 28 years in Minnesota fulfilling her dream of making a difference in kids' lives through the sport.  As one of the Co Head Coaches, Denise's role is create a vision for the club that starts with developing the youngest Gators to the be the best they can be in all aspects of swimming, and inspiring them to continue all the way through college. More importantly she sees the sport as a way to teach valuable life skills that transfer way beyond the pool.  She directs all 12 and under programming and trains the Junior and the Prep groups.

Since starting her career, she has coached every level of swimmer from the very beginner to State Champions, Zone Champions, Nationally ranked swimmers and Junior National qualifiers. Under her leadership, Edina age group swimmers have set over 30 new State Records since 2006, and achieved over 40 Top 10 National times.   Denise was promoted to Co Head Coach in 2013. 

She has been a Minnesota Zone Coach 6 times,  Minnesota ASCA President, Minnesota Swimming Coach Representative, and Minnesota Disability Chair.  In 2011, Denise was awarded the Minnesota Age Group Coach of the Year.

She graduated in 1987 from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Psychology, lives in Woodbury with her husband, and has 4 grown children of her own.   In her spare time, she enjoys working out and spending time with friends and family.

Wojciech Palczewski

8 and Under Developmental Head 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 Warsaw, 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.

Isaac Rwenzo

Senior Bronze Lead Coach

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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!

 

 

Jim Andersen

Masters Coach, Senior Prep Lead Coach

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Jim's not new to coaching; he’s been a swim coach since 1973 and coached full time since 1980.  His passion for swimming has influenced many of his former swimmers who now coach all over the United States, many in Minnesota. 

 

In 2011 Jim received the Jimi Flowers Disability Swimming Coach of the Year Award at the United States Aquatics Convention awards ceremony held in Jacksonville, Florida.  This most prestigious coaching award is named in honor and memory of Jimi Flowers, an incredible coach who developed numerous Olympic and Paralympic champions.  Jim is also a past recipient of the Disability Swimming Outstanding Coach Award (2009).  

 

Over the years Jim has received other awards including Minnesota Swimming Senior Coach of the Year (2005) and Senior Athlete of the Year (University of Saint Thomas) but his greatest reward comes as a coach watching an athlete strive to become the best he or she can be and in being a part of that journey.  

 

Jim was raised in a family where exercise was encouraged and he runs every day, mainly in Edina where he and his wife Diane have lived since 1984.  He completed the first ten Twin Cities Marathons and in 1992 both Jim and Diane qualified for the Boston Marathon.  

Nicole Helmen-Hendricks

Gator 2 Lead Coach, Prep 1 Lead 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.  She assists with the Senior groups on Edina Swim Club.

Nicole just retired from the United States Navy and works as a Sales Manager at Lee Products Company in Bloomington, MN. 

Hailey Potter

Assistant Coach

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Coach Hailey has a combined 10 years of experience in teaching and coaching swimming.  She is in her 5th year on Edina Swim Club, after teaching swimming at Lifetime fitness, and coaching for SEMS and Eastridge High School.  She was a 6 year letter winner at Woodbury High School, and swam at the University of North Dakota.  She has a degree in Elementary Education and is currently a pre school teacher in Edina.  She brings this experience to her work with the youngest Gators. 

Haileyassists with all age group levels.

When not at the pool, Hailey enjoys crafting and photography.  She is married and lives in St. Paul with her husband.

Nicole Hedman

Assistant Coach

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Nicole Hedman joined the Edina staff in September 2012 and has been involved in swimming for over 30 years as a club swimmer, high school swimmer, college swimmer, and coach.  She has extensive coaching experience with a number of metro area clubs (ABC swim club, MVSC, Elk River, and Jetstream Aquatics) and also high schools (Elk River, Anoka, Champlin Park, and Skyview in Montana).  Nicole has had the honor of being a Team MN zone coach for 8 years, coaching the 15 & over girls, 11-12 girls and the 10 & under girls.   

As a swimmer, her personal accomplishments include being captain for her high school and college teams.  She was a High school state qualifier and 2 time NCAA qualifier. Coach Nicole's career coaching accomplishments include:

  • 25 state champions ages 8 & under to senior level
  • 50+ swimmers as zone qualifiers
  • 5 junior national qualifiers
  • 3 team state championships

Nicole loves seeing the faces of the swimmers when they have an “I get it moment” or when they surprise even themselves with their swims.  She assists with the Senior swimmers.

She is married to Mark and has 3 children, Nick, Matthew, and Jacob.  She grew up in Ramsey, MN and graduated from Anoka High School and then graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a degree in Elementary Education.  She recently went back to school and finished her middle school math endorsement.  Nicole currently teaches math at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids.

Jessica Carlson

Assistant Coach

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Jessica has been coaching with Edina Swim Club since 2011, and is also involved with our Masters swim team.  She grew up swimming for Woodbury High School and Twin Cities Swim Team, and went on to swim at the University of North Dakota where she was North Central Conference Champion in the 1650, 4 year letter earner, and NCAA All American, and was named Hardest worker and Most improved during her time there.

She assists with all the age group levels.

Jessica is a CPA and works in finance with Lifetouch.  In her spare time, she enjoys training for triathlons.

Kim Harrod

Assistant Coach

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Kim grew up in Burnsville, swimming on Blackdog and coaching there for years.  She went on to swim for all 4 years at the University of Minnesota.  She has been teaching math at Burnsville High School for the last 11 years and has also been the girl's high school coach there since 2008.  Kim has been a 10 time zones coach as well as the Head Zones Coach in 2012.  She joined the Gator staff in 2008 and works with all groups. 

Griffin Moodie

Assistant Coach

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Griffin Moodie grew up swimming for the Edina Gators from age 6 to 18. The majority of that time he was coached under Head Coach Jeff Rodriguez. Griffin also swam for Edina High School for 6 years, lettered all 6 years and was captain of the team his senior year under Coach Art Downey. Post high school, Griffin attended Boston University and swam Division 1 where he was also captain his senior year and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. After college Griffin moved to Los Angeles where he worked various jobs and continued swimming for recreation with Rose Bowl Aquatics and the Trojan Swim Club at the University of Southern California.

Since moving back to Minnesota Griffin has enjoyed coaching the Gators greatly. Beyond swimming, Griffin enjoys biking, golf, music, movies and reading. He is looking forward to another competitive swim season and is extremely impressed by the team and how it has grown.  He assists with all levels.

Abbey Brau

Assistant Coach

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Abbey grew up swimming for Team Foxjet and Eden Prairie High School before attending the College of St. Benedict. She continued her swimming career into four years of collegiate swimming, finding a love for long distance events. Abbey also swims with the Edina Masters swim team now as she trains for open water swims, completing swims around Key West and across San Francisco Bay in the last two years.

She assists with all age group levels.

Abbey is an account executive for, advertising agency, Periscope. When not working you can find her training for an upcoming event, brunching with family and friends or re-reading Harry Potter.

Rick Dunham

Assistant Coach

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Rick swam for Edina Swim Club, Edina High School and the University of Texas at Arlington, a short lived D1 program with a top finish of 3rd at NCAA's. In between practice times, he earned a degree in Economics.  He held the school record for the 1650, and was carried by three other swimmers to be on the 800 free relay to achieve a team record that was never broken.
 
Sherri his wife of 36 years and he have two children.  Caitlin and Richard exceeded their parents swimming goals of becoming drown proofed. They both were captains for Wayzata High School's Swimming Team and one swam at the Olympic Trials in 2012.
 
Coach Dunham started coaching in in 1972 and has coached in Minnesota for the last fifteen years. He is very excited to be part of the great things happening at Edina Swim Club, and hopes to help every swimmer realize how important they are, and how important to the team.

Rick assists with all age group levels.

When not coaching, his favorite activity is swimming in Lake Minnetonka with people he has been swimming with for over forty years. Swimming is a life time sport. 
 

Board of Directors

Brad Gray

President

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Janel Dressen

Vice President & Secretary

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Jeff Rodriguez

Head Coach- Senior

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Denise Carlson

Head Coach- Age Group

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Andrew Priadka

Treasurer

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Lisa Mellum

Meet Director

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Liz Kniffen

Volunteer Coordinator

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Steven Larson

Member At Large

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Chris Lyche

Member At Large

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