WATER RATS COACHES
ELLEN JOHNSTON, Head Coach
Ellen, who was named Head Coach in the spring of 2012, celebrated 30 years with the Water Rat Swim Team in 2016. Ellen joined the team in November 1986 as an assistant coach, working with swimmers at every level in the program. She quickly became a full-time assistant coach and was promoted to Senior Coach in 1990. Prior to working in Westport, Ellen coached at the Bulldog Swim Club in Bowie, Maryland, where she was the Senior II and Head Age Group Coach. She also coached all levels of the South Carolina Aquatic Team in Columbia. Ellen was named YMCA National Coach of the Year in 2015. She also has been named Connecticut Senior Coach of the Year twice and was nominated for the honor again in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Ellen strives to help her swimmers mature as individuals as they progress from the age group to senior level and she encourages them to challenge themselves physically and mentally every day.
Listen to Ellen on the Coaches Corner Podcast
ROBERT URBAN, Head Developmental Coach
Level 3; 2 (High School; USA) ASCA Certification
Rob, who joined the Water Rat coaching staff in spring of 2015, currently serves as our Head Developmental Coach. Rob’s main practice group is Discovery II, where he transitions swimmers coming out of the 8/under program- which he also oversees. Rob previously served as the Head Coach of the Stratford YMCA (BSY) Swim Team from 2012-2015. During the summer, Rob is the Head Coach at the Black Rock Yacht Club, which competes in Division 3 of the Fairfield County Swim League (FCSL). Rob also coaches High School swimming; in the fall he serves as the Head Coach for Fairfield Ludlowe girls’ team, while in the winter he is the Head Coach at Fairfield Prep (boys). Rob loves working with swimmers of all ages and abilities. In Rob’s free time he enjoy sports such as softball, and cheers for both the New York Jets and Mets.
OMAR CRUZ, Assistant Senior Coach
Level 3 ASCA Certification
Omar joins the Water Rat family as an assistant with the senior practice groups. Most recently, Omar spent 15 years as Head Coach with the Zeus Swim Team where he has had much success on a local, regional, and national level. Omar left ZEUS as he has become managing partner of Executive Real Estate Premier Properties, a real estate business in Westport. Helping with the senior team a couple of days a week allows Omar to continue to follow his passion of coaching, but also to spend the time needed to be successful with his real estate business and more importantly, to spend time with his family.
KRISTEN FINNEGAN, Associate Age Group Coach
Level 3 ASCA Certification
2015, 2016 Connecticut Zone Team Coach
Kristen, who joined the Water Rat coaching staff in 2012, currently serves as the Lead Coach for our Discovery I group and works with our senior group. Kristen previously served as the Head 8/Under Coach and head of the team’s pre-competitive programs. She started working at the Family Y in 2006 as a swim instructor, spending eight summers working at the Y’s Hafaday swim program. In 2015 Coach Kristen was selected as a member of the Connecticut Zone Team Coaching Staff, which she served on for 2 years. Kristen was also an assistant coach with the Staples High School Girls’ team for 3 years and currently serves as the Assistant Swim Coach with Sacred Heart University.
Kristen is a 2011 graduate of St. John’s University with a degree in Biology. She began swimming competitively at the age of six and continues to train with the Water Rat Masters and competes annually at YMCA Masters Nationals Championships.
MICHELE KOUBECK, Assistant Coach
Level 2 ASCA Certification
Michelle joined the coaching staff in the Spring of 2019, working with our 8/unders and 9/10 and 11/12 year olds. She has a degree in Math from Carnegie Mellon, and then worked at Intel Corporation in Santa Clara before staying at home to raise her three children. Michelle swam and competed at all levels of swimming including with a club, in High School, College and at the Masters level including open water swims. Michelle was a USA swimming official for 11 years and is currently a High School Swim official for Fairfield County, Certified Masters coach, USA Swim Coach and runs the swim fit group at the Y.
JAMIE GREMP, Assistant Coach
Jamie joined the Water Rats in the Late Fall of 2019. Jamie has had a a lot of coaching experience prior to joining the Water Rats. Following a swimming career in high school at the Badger Swim Club and college at Fordham University, where she graduated in 2004, Jamie coached at American University in Washington, D.C. from 2004-2005, University of Connecticut from 2005-2006, Missouri State University from 2007-2009 and then at the College of New Rochelle from 2009-2013. Jamie has also coached at several summer clubs, in New York and Connecticut over the years. Jamie brings her many years of coaching experience to our 8/under group, primarily working with the Blue team but also helping out with the Red Group.
RICH CARTER, Assistant Senior Coach
Rich joined the Water Rat Coaching staff the Spring of 2019, working mainly with the Senior Group. Rich is a native of New Canaan who swam for the Water Rats from 1988 to 1996 under coach Ellen Johnston. During his swimming career he set multiple team and state records on the way to becoming an Eastern Zone champion and Y National finalist. He began his coaching career with the St. Croix Dolphins Swim Team before becoming the head swimming and water polo coach at Canterbury School in New Milford, CT. Under coach Carter’s guidance saints swimmers broke twenty three school records over four seasons.Rich attended Villanova University where he was a standout defenseman for the Wildcats division I lacrosse program. He is currently the assistant coach for the Ireland Men’s National Lacrosse Team and just completed his tenure as head boys varsity coach at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, FL. He continues to compete in open water and triathlon events. Rich and his wife Leslie reside in New Canaan.
ADRIENNE WILLIAMS, Team Administrator
Adrienne’s current role is as the Team Administrator. She is involved in team registration, meet management, team apparel orders, communications between swim families, the coaching staff, and Y staff, and maintaining the team’s website. She served as Co-President of the Westport Water Rats Parents’ Club from September 2011 to August 2014. She served as the Meet Chair from September 2009 – August 2011 and helped managed and planned all aspects of team-hosted swim meets working with the Head Coach and meet managers. Adrienne’s children grew up with the Water Rats program and one of them swam in college. Adrienne has her Law Degree from George Washington University and B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She practiced law for thirteen years before staying at home to raise her children and becoming a swim mom.