LAST UPDATED JULY 14, 2024

Whether you’re looking for learn-to-swim instruction, help with your form, or just a really good workout, TNYA’s coaches are here to help! Each of our swimming, water polo, and diving practices is led by one or more experienced coaches.

Speed Swim Coaches

Kar Nowakowski (Monday AM at Bedford Armory)

Kar (he/they) learned to swim as a baby in his hometown of Mokena, Illinois. He joined his first swim team, the Homewood-Flossmoor Swim Club, when Kar was six years old. Kar continued competing until he graduated from Iona University in 2013, where you can still find him in a few of the team’s Top 12 Record Book (just remember to check the women’s team!) Kar joined TNYA as a swimmer in the summer of 2021 and began coaching for the team in August 2023.

After swimming for so long while “in the closet,” he has reveled in being on a team where he can be himself—and where he isn’t the only person in the pool with top-surgery scars. Kar brings a love of the water, technical stroke knowledge, and high-energy to each workout, whether they’re swimming or coaching.

Kar is a part-time immigration attorney with Tenreiro Law, a part-time learn-to-swim instructor with Imagine Swimming, and a regular volunteer with the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program at the Queens Public Library. Kar is a certified Level One Coach with U.S. Master’s Swimming.

Brian Cairns (Monday PM at John Jay College)

Brian (he/him) has been swimming since he was 8 years old. He competed as an age-group swimmer and through college at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, but took a long break before joining TNYA in 2003, and these days he’s predominantly a fitness swimmer. Because of that, he takes seriously his responsibility to design workouts that are balanced for competitors and noncompetitors alike.

One of TNYA’s longest-serving and most beloved coaches, Brian’s workouts are renowned throughout the team for giving every swimmer a challenging but invigorating 90-minute practice, no matter their skill level. When not at the pool, Brian runs his own dietary supplements business and is a strategic marketing consultant.

Gregory Stock (Tuesday and Thursday AM at John Jay College)

Gregory (he/him) hails from Saint Louis, Missouri where, at the age of four, he found he was better in the water than on land. As a Division 1 Varsity All-Academic Swim Team member at Saint Louis University and Valparaiso University, he specialized in backstroke and individual medley. His post-college career focused on open water swimming events including a Half-Ironman, Escape from Alcatraz (3x), span of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Bridge to Bridge 10k. 

With a diverse aquatic background, including open water, scuba diving, and triathlon training, Stock’s coaching prioritizes respect and kindness. From Olympians (his favorite being Nathan Adrian) to amateurs, he emphasizes foundational skills. Drawing from personal experiences of high-level competition, injuries, surgeries, and recovery, he guides athletes to adapt to varied conditions, emphasizing body position, strategic pacing, and mental resilience. Going on twenty years of coaching experience, he excels notably as an open water, backstroke, and Triathlon transitions Coach.

In his day job, Gregory brings his passion for swimming and coaching into his role as a Design Strategist facilitating human centered design practices for early stage tech companies, non-profits, and other organizations.

Amelia Possanza (Tuesday PM at Bedford Armory)

Amelia (she/her) has been swimming and coaching with Team New York Aquatics for over 10 years, and was named TNYA’s Coach of the Year in 2015. She began swimming in elementary school at the JCC in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh and continued her career in the pool as a Division III athlete at Swarthmore College. These days, in addition to training with TNYA, she enjoys open water swimming at Brighton Beach and competing in either the 5K or the 10K at Lake George every summer. A freelance book publicist and the author of Lesbian Love Story: A Memoir in Archives, she lives in Brooklyn with her cat.

Jona Bermudez (Wednesday PM at John Jay College)

Jona (he/him)’s swimming journey began at age 3, when he and his mother relocated to New York City from Colombia.

After years of local swim club lessons in NYC, including at the LaGuardia Community College, Jona joined the Baruch College varsity team where he swam breaststroke and IM with a focus on long-distance events.

A dedicated TNYA member and coach since 2013, Jona has won our Newcomer of the Year award and Coach of the Year award in previous years, as well as represented the team as a coach or an athlete at the Gay Games and IGLA almost every year, most recently serving as TNYA’s head coach at IGLA London 2023. Jona believes in making every effort to be a supportive coach to his friends and teammates.

Onesimo de Mira (Friday PM at John Jay College)

Onesimo (he/him) brings a wealth of experience as both a swimmer and coach to the TNYA family. Born in Zambia and raised in Nigeria, Minnesota, and later New York, Onesimo has a diverse background that informs his inclusive coaching philosophy.

Onesimo started as an age group swimmer and competed at the collegiate level for the University of St. Thomas. He later swam for University of Minnesota Masters and currently swims with TNYA.

As a coach, Onesimo got his start as an age group and masters assistant coach at the YWCA in Minneapolis. Since moving to New York, he has coached for TNYA, Asphalt Green Masters, and the triathlon program at Front Runners New York. Onesimo holds certifications as a Water Safety Instructor (WSI) and U.S. Masters Swimming Level 1 Coach.

Onesimo believes in testing sets himself to understand what his swimmers are experiencing. He stays flexible and open to adjusting workouts on the fly to accommodate the needs of the team.

When he’s not on the pool deck, you can find Onesimo sketching menswear designs, creating garment specification documents, and ensuring the perfect fit of the clothes he designs. He is passionate about waste reduction, upcycling, and repurposing materials to save the planet. Onesimo’s favorite Olympic swimmer is Natalie Coughlin, and he would lip sync of his life to “Love Shack” by the B-52’s and “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers.

Emily Fogle (Saturday AM at John Jay College)

Emily (they/them) comes to TNYA after growing up in the Chicagoland suburbs and attending school at Purdue University and NYU. They were a 5x Division 1 All-American swimmer for Purdue and qualified for 2 U.S. Olympic Team Trials (2012, 2016). During their time in the Midwest, they supported over 100 youth swimmers from learn-to-swim programs to elite swim camps. As they transition to coaching master swimmers, they look forward to creating a safe and welcoming environment for TNYA swimmers by providing inclusive workouts and maintaining a space that honors their personal philosophy that the water is for everybody. 

As a non-binary athlete, Emily vehemently believes trans athletes belong in sports. They have worked with several race organizations to open their participation to non-binary athletes. They proudly joined over 400+ NCAA, Team USA, and Olympic swimmers in lobbying for the safety and inclusion of transgender athletes in the NCAA and the USA Swimming community. 

Emily looks forward to bringing this energy to the coaching deck as they support queer and trans TNYA swimmers in future swim races. 

When they are not coaching Emily enjoys swimming & running and is scheduled to swim the circumference of Manhattan (29 miles) in late summer 2024. Their walk-out song is obviously “Sirius” by The Alan Parson Project (à la Chicago Bulls). They live in Brooklyn and work as a licensed psychotherapist in private practice where they enjoy working with the queer/trans community & athletes.

Devin Cecala (Saturday Low Pressure Zone)

Devin (he/him), a New Jersey native, is a dynamic individual with a rich background in swimming, athletics, and creative endeavors. An All-American nationally ranked varsity swimmer in high school and a member of NYU’s Triathlon Team, Devin has excelled both in the pool and on land. From coaching swimmers of all ages and levels since the age of 14 to working as a producer and assistant at a queer/trans-focused film and TV production company, Devin’s commitment to inclusivity and representation is unwavering.

Outside of his professional pursuits, Devin is an avid practitioner of multiple martial arts, surfing, and snowboarding. Through his diverse interests and advocacy efforts, Devin strives to create safer and more inclusive spaces for his community, whether it’s in the water or the entertainment industry.

Jack Shu (Saturday Low Pressure Zone)

Jack has been a TNYA coach for our Low Pressure Zone (LPZ) practices since mid-2023. He grew up primarily in the DC area and swam competitively through college. He has continued to swim in regional and national-level Masters Swimming meets since then. Since he first started watching professional swimming in 2000, his favorite Olympic swimmers have always been Natalie Coughlin and Michael Phelps. 

In high school and college, he coached a 100-person summer swim team that consistently finished each season as one of the top 5 teams in the county and also taught private swim lessons, which deepened his passion for the sport. His coaching philosophy has always been to focus on building strong fundamentals (breathing, body position, kick) for swimmers of all ages and developing them over time through consistent practice. 

Not too long after moving to NYC, Jack joined TNYA as a team member at the beginning of 2023, where he quickly discovered how unique and welcoming of a community the team is. 

Jack works as a Director of Content Strategy at SiriusXM, where he evaluates content opportunities with major music, podcasting and sports partners. 

Lorenzo Di Silvio (Sundays PM)

Lorenzo (he/him) grew up outside of Boston, where he swam competitively for years on a U.S.S. team. He joined a masters team in London for two years after college; founded a masters team while attending law school in DC (barking at his Torts professor in the morning; subject to revenge cold-calling later in class); and joined TNYA when he moved to New York in 2011. On the team, he competed at the IGLA championships in Reykjavik in 2012 and Stockholm in 2015, earning a gold and a bronze medal at each, and has also twice attended swim camp.

In 2023, Lorenzo began coaching for TNYA. A former sprinter and hater of distance (greater than or equal to a 200? That’s distance), Lorenzo likes to break 4,000+ yards into more-digestible (and, fingers crossed, more-enjoyable) nuggets of sets of 50s and 100s, and create a warm, inviting atmosphere for swimmers old and new to come to practice, work out, and have fun (plus, he’s a great on-deck DJ).

Outside of the pool, Lorenzo briefs and argues appeals on behalf of the City of New York and its many agencies in state and federal appellate courts, and also teaches legal writing to first-year law students at Fordham University School of Law. He is in the (slow) process of learning how to sew up his costume game for Mardi Gras, which he attends each year in New Orleans. He is a killer cook and baker, so be nice and cool, and maybe you’ll get a dinner-party invite. And whatever he lip syncs to, it would probably have to be something by Carly Rae Jepsen (also: one of his obviously gay traits is Kylie).

Artistic Swimming Coach: Veronika Orlovska

Veronika (she/her) is a professional synchronized swimmer from Odesa, Ukraine. In her youth, she swam internationally and represented the USA National team at the UANA Pan-American Games receiving three gold medals.

She is a multiple-time Junior Olympic and National Champion ranked 1st in the US at ages 11 and 12. Now she serves as a Masters coach for Team New York Aquatics and coaches children at Imagine Synchro. 

As a coach, she strives to be a leader for her athletes and create an empowering environment for each individual who attends her practices. She strives to instill passion and dedication within her swimmers and pushes them to exceed their expectations. Outside of coaching, Veronika is a filmmaker, underwater cinematographer, Aqualillies performer, and a social media manager. 

Her favorite Olympic Artistic Swimmer growing up was Natalia Ischenko who was a great source of inspiration for her as a child. Now her favorite Olympians are her childhood teammates Megumi Field and Calista Liu who will be representing Team USA at the upcoming 2024 Olympics. The song she would lipsync for her life is Four Friends by Dave Malloy which was written for a song cycle titled Ghost Quartet.

Water Polo Coach: Isaac Rothenbaum

Isaac (he/him) hails from Oak Park, IL and brings over a decade of experience coaching both swimming and water polo to the TNYA community.

As a swimmer, Isaac competed for four years at the collegiate level, serving as team captain and qualifying for the NCAA Division III National Championships. In 2009, he was honored with the NCAA Sportsmanship Award and also qualified for the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III National Championships.

Isaac’s top priority is ensuring that each athlete enjoys their experience. He strives to create an environment that allows every individual to get what they want out of practice, recognizing that not everyone needs or wants a grueling workout every time. He balances this individualized approach with a focus on teamwork, camaraderie, and overall fitness to set athletes up for success.

When he’s not on deck, Isaac works as a software engineer and volunteers his time mentoring college students, primarily in software engineering and entrepreneurship. His favorite Olympic swimmer is Cullen Jones, and his go-to lip sync song is “Washington Square Park” by The Wonder Years.

Occasional and Guest Coaches

Brad Cole

Brad (he/him) is a longtime swimmer and aquatics fitness expert. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, he began swimming and competing at age 8 and continued throughout high school. He moved to NYC in 1991, joined Team New York Aquatics, and began his coaching career. He competed in his first Gay Games in 1994, with many additional Gay Games, Euro Games, and countless swim meets to follow. Throughout the years he has held International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) records in the 100, 200 and 1,500 freestyle.

Brad has coached and worked with all levels of swimmers, from beginners to Olympians, at multiple clubs. In addition to running programs at Asphalt Green, Red Tide, and TNYA, he has presented and demonstrated aquatic fitness at annual international conferences. Brad is presently teaching and coaching at Asphalt Green and Equinox.

As an international flight attendant for American Airlines, he’s had the privilege and flexibility to swim and compete around the world. He says, “Having the opportunity to work with every age and swim ability, from toddlers to seniors, I believe anyone can learn to swim and love the water.”

Isaac Hanson

Isaac (he/him), a native of Middleton, Wisconsin, brings a wealth of swimming experience to his coaching role. Excelling in high school swimming, his journey continued at Hamline University, where he swam competitively at the Division III level and proudly served as team captain for two years. Drawing from these experiences, he transitioned into coaching, guiding swimmers aged 8 to 18, nurturing their skills and fostering a strong sense of teamwork.

During his time as a lifeguard for several years, Isaac got to spend extra time teaching beginner swimmers. Inspired by the 2008 Olympics and Michael Phelps’ historic 8 gold medal performance, Isaac dedicated himself to the sport in that year. Currently, he works as a behavioral therapist, specializing in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Isaac has a passion for helping others and believes that as a team, everyone can benefit from each other’s passion and dedication to improve. He hopes that swimmers will leave his practices feeling empowered.

Ed Roberts

Ed (he/him), originally from Brooklyn, is a certified US Masters Swimming Adult Learn to Swim Instructor, Masters Coach (Level 3), Official, and Open Water Safety Director, Ed ensures a nurturing environment for swimmers of all levels.

Additionally, Ed has earned additional certifications as a USA Triathlon Level II Certified Coach, Race Director, ASCA Stroke School (Level II), and Swimming Strength and Conditioning Specialist (SSCS).

Ed’s journey in swimming began as an adult learner. His involvement with TNYA dates back to 2010 when he joined as a swimmer, preparing for his first NYC Triathlon. Notably, he competed in numerous triathlons and has swum across the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan twice and circumvented Governor’s Island twice.

As a dedicated ally, he has contributed to the organization’s initiatives, including donating to the Fortoul program and serving as a stroke and turn Judge at IGLA (2019) while also fulfilling the role of Safety Director for the Open Water event.

In alignment with his coaching philosophy, Ed believes in creating a supportive and inclusive environment where every swimmer feels valued and respected. Regardless of background, identity, or age. Outside of aquatics, Ed serves as a compliance director for a transplant organization in Manhattan.

Claire Shaw

Claire (she/her) grew up swimming competitively in Anchorage, AK, and is a former state record holder and state champion in the 100m breaststroke. She has been swimming with TNYA since 2022 and began coaching in 2024. Claire is excited to help swimmers of all backgrounds improve their technique, reach their swimming goals, and enjoy the welcoming TNYA community. Outside of the pool, Claire likes to confront her fear of sharks by surfing and open water swimming, and looks forward to one day completing the 20 Bridges swim around Manhattan.

Elliot Silva

Born in Somerset, MA, Elliot began his swimming career at various YMCA teams throughout southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island from elementary school up until high school when he joined Little Rhody Aquatics Club, one of the premier USS teams in Rhode Island under the direction of former West Point swim coach John O’Neill. Although Elliot never swum on a high school or varsity team, Elliot co-captained the Harvard Club Swim Team during his undergraduate years, overseeing its growth during its formative years, and quadrupling practice attendance.

While captain, he enjoyed crafting practices for swimmers of all levels – from new and social swimmers to former Division I swimmers (and even siblings of Olympic swimmers!). Elliot’s previous Masters swim experience includes SwimRI (Rhode Island), as well as a brief pre-pandemic stint on Bearcat Masters, but Elliot is proud to have found his forever-home with TNYA. A data scientist by day, an infamous butterfly swimmer by night, his practices specialize in mathematically beautiful sets, as well as drills, techniques, and plenty of opportunities to swim fly.

Coach with Us!

TNYA is always seeking additional coaches to lead our workouts; coaches are paid per practice and/or receiving a certain number of free swims with us. In addition to possessing appropriate coaching credentials, it is particularly important that TNYA coaches be able to manage a diverse group of individuals with respect, dignity, and understanding, and foster an open and welcoming environment for all swimmers.

People of color, women-identified, transgender and nonbinary people, and people who have a demonstrated commitment to and familiarity with LGBTQ+ issues are encouraged to apply and can do so by contacting us.