COACHES

About Us

MISSION STATEMENT

The Town of Tonawanda Titans Swim Club seeks to provide its swimmers with an environment that fosters the achievement of individual potentials. Our club is built on a tradition of excellence by teaching and training all levels of swimming, combining life lessons both in and out of the pool, with an emphasis on team unity and family participation.

A LITTLE ABOUT THE TITANS

Club History
The Town of Tonawanda Swim Club was founded in August 1971 as an AAU Club. In 1980 United States Swimming replaced the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) as the national governing body for competitive swimming. USA Swimming is the official name for this national governing body today.

In 1988 the Town of Tonawanda Swim Club merged with the Western Empire State Titans Swim Club, the U.S. Swim club associated with the Sweet Home School District. That’s when the Town of Tonawanda Swim Club became known as the Titans. One constant in the club’s more than 40 year history of competitive swimming is the Town of Tonawanda Youth, Parks, & Recreation Department which has supported the team from the beginning.

The Club’s Name
In Greek mythology the Titans were a race of elder gods that were in power before the Olympian gods replaced them. The Titan Oceanos – the elder god of the Ocean – was never pictured in Greek art but is often confused with Poseidon, or Neptune, who is pictured in art, holding the trident. Today, members of the Titan Swim Club hold the trident – the scepter carried by the god of the sea.

Contacts

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Scott D Vanderzell

Head Coach

Scott Vanderzell has been coaching the Town of Tonawanda Titans since 1994 and Head Coach since 1995. During the time Scott has been here he has produced a number of Olympic Trial Qualifier, Junior and Senior National qualifiers, Eastern Zone qualifiers and has had a team that is consistently near the top of the Niagara District year after year. The program under Scott has grown for a team of 75 swimmers to a team that has been consistently year after year 200 to 250 swimmers. Scott also began coaching Division 1 swimming in 1998 at the University of Buffalo where he remained for 10 years then moving on the Canisius College where he has been since 2008. Scott is a Level 4 ASCA coach who has been coaching club swimming since 1987 beginning his coaching as a Learn to Swim coach, then age group coach before moving to Titans. Scott is a native of Hamburg NY and then spent 1 year at the University of South Carolina Spartanburg playing soccer then after injury transferred and graduated from Buffalo State College where he swam for 3 years and remains in the Buffalo area with his wife Sherri and 4 children.

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Tim Bennett

Age Group Coordinator / Coach Level 4 / Level 6

Tim Bennett has been coaching with the Titans since the summer of 1995. He is a Buffalo State College and University of Buffalo graduate. Swimming for Buffalo State, he set school records in the 200, 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyle events. He spent one year as an assistant coach at each of his Alma Maters. Prior to the Titans, Tim was a coach for the North Tonawanda Swim Club and summer clinic. Since joining the Titans, the team has grown from 75 swimmers to one of the largest in the Eastern Zone. Since 1995, the Titans have won several district championships, sent countless swimmers to the Eastern Zone Championships, Super Sectional Meets, Junior National, and Senior National Meets. We have had Zone Champions, National top 16, National Top 10 swimmers, and broken numerous district records. Tim is proud to have been a part of this and plans on the team only doing bigger and better things. Tim, as part of the Titans staff, has been recognized as the Age Group Coach of the Year by the American Swim Coaches Association three times, and believes that the entire staff is why we are one of the best swimming programs in the Eastern Zone. “I am most proud of how many of our swimmers continue to swim past Titans, the ones that return to swim in the summer from college, the others that return to coach after college, and now they are beginning to bring us their kids.”

Emily Augugliario

Coach SD / Level 1

Lara A MacDonald

Coach SD / Level 1

Lara has been coaching with the Town of Tonawanda Titans since spring 2015, working with stoke development and level 1. Previously, Lara swam for the Titans beginning in 2002 and continued until she graduated from Mount St. Mary Academy in 2012. Throughout her high school years, she swam for Mount’s varsity swim team. During this time she was helping the team continually place in All Catholics, and lead the team after being voted captain her senior year. Today, Lara attends Buffalo state College for Childhood Education/Exceptional Education. She plans on graduating in fall 2016 with her Bachelors, before attending grad school to earn a Master’s Degree in Education. Recently, Lara has also been coaching for Mount St. Mary Academy Varsity Swim Team, acting as the assistant coach throughout the 2015-2016 season.

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Sage Pollack

Coach SD / Level 1

Sage Pollack began competitively swimming at the age of 6, she attended Albertus Magnus High School in New City, Ny swimming varsity for 4 years and holds the record for the 50 free. She currently is a junior at Canisius College studying animal behavior and psychology where she also swims sprint freestyle under Scott Vanderzell for the Canisius College swim and dive team.

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Alexis Agee

Coach SD / Level 1

Alexis Agee began swimming at the age of 10 with her club team in Medina Ohio. She has been workin with the stroke development and level one group since September 2019. She currently swims distance for Canisius college where she is studying journalism and creative writing.

Ben Verdi

Coach Level 4 / Level 6

Ben Verdi is from Buffalo and started swimming in 6th grade and swam with Titans, St. Joe’s, and Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. While at Le Moyne, Ben came second in the North East Conference in the 100 Breaststroke in 2013 and was on the conference winning 200 Medley Relay and 400 Medley Relay in 2015. Altogether, Ben had a career spanning almost 12 years in the pool. While in graduate school at Le Moyne for his degree in Arts Administration, Ben joined the Syracuse Chargers and Christian Brother’s Academy swim teams as a coach, and later on as a meet director. Ben also coaches for St. Joe’s and works at Irish Classical Theatre as the Audience Services Manager.

Sarah E DiMayo

Coach Level 2 / Level 3 / Level 4 / Level 5

Sarah DiMayo began competitive swimming at the age of eight, she attended RoyHart high school in Middleport, swimming varsity for 5 years. She was also part of the Titans swim team for 2 years. Under Scott Vanderzell she specialized in breaststroke and IM at Canisius College, where she just finished out her senior year. Sarah graduated Canisius with a bachelors in psychology and will be joining the AmeriCorps ABLE program this September in Buffalo.

Greg J Staebell

Coach Level 2 / Level 3 / Level 4 / Level 5

Greg Staebell began swimming at the age of nine, growing up in Williamsville he attended Williamsville South High School and went on to swim under Scott Vanderzell, where he specialized in backstroke/IM at Canisius College. He is currently a team captain for the Griffs, holds the 200 backstroke school record, a part of the All-MAAC academic team and was named MVP for the 2016-2017 season. Greg is entering his senior year at Canisius where he is studying Finance and Computer Forensics.

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Kyle Griffin

Coach

Kyle Griffin began his competitive swim career at the age of 6 with Willow Bend Swim Club and Eden Dolphins. He has been a Titans Swimmer since 2015 and Titans Coach since 2018. Kyle graduated from Hamburg High School and swam at the varsity level for 5 years, serving as team captain for the Bulldogs. He was presented with the Director’s Key award for leadership in athletics, recognized as a team MVP and during his time on the team broke multiple school and pool records in both individual and relay events. Hamburg won multiple ECIC, Class and Sectional titles with Kyle as a team member and he was a 3-time State Championship qualifier. As a swimmer for Tonawanda Titans, his relay teams broke multiple records. Kyle is currently a sprinter for the Canisius College swim team where he has placed top 8 in the MAAC conference in the 50 free over the last 2 years and holds the team record. As he heads into his senior year at Canisius, he is looking forward to serving as a men’s team captain for the Golden Griffins. Kyle is currently a Business Management major. Kyle also coaches at Buffalo Seminary.

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Steve Pochatko

Coach Level 7/8

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Miranda Bigham

Coach Level 2 / Level 4 / Level 6

A career with the Titans that began back in 2007, Miranda is happy to come full-circle and be working with the age-group swimmers. She swam both for Titans and at Nardin Academy through high school, then under Scott for three years as a butterflier at Canisius College. She graduated from Canisius in 2018 with her degree in Marketing and English. She currently works in the Marketing department at Catholic Health.

Kenyon Winky

Coach Level 3 / Level 5 / Level 7

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Lucas Kennedy

Coach Level 7 / Level 8

Lucas Kennedy began competitive swimming at Hamburg High School. He was on the varsity team for 5 years. Under Coach Scott, Lucas began to specialize his breaststroke continuing to Canisius College’s team where he now holds the individual college records for both 100 and 200 breaststroke. Lucas is entering his junior year studying Communications with a film and media focus.

France Stephenson

Coach Level 7 / Level 8

France hails from Toronto, Canada and began swimming competitively in the fourth grade. She was a Canadian Olympic trials and U.S. Open qualifier and received a full scholarship to swim for the University at Buffalo. There, she was a member of school record-setting relays and a team captain her senior year. She swam under Scott Vanderzell and Titans during undergrad and through law school.

France graduated magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo School of Law and works full-time as an attorney with Keyhani LLC, an intellectual property litigation law firm. She currently competes in open water swimming. As a longtime Titan, she is excited to be coaching with the team!

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Joe C Wilkie

Strength & Conditioning Level 7 - Level 8

Joe received his M.S. in Health and Human Performance and B.S Physical/Health Education from Canisius College. Joe Currently teaches students personal training at Orleans-Niagara Boces. In addition to his teaching, he has been a working for the Town of Tonawanda as a pool supervisor and a personal trainer since 2006, Stroke Development and level 1 Coach for the Titans, Varsity Soccer and Swimming Coach at North Tonawanda High School, and Varsity Track at Williamsville South High School.