Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

  • Learn to Swim Instructors Learn to Swim Instructors

Meet our Instructors

Rec Sports Learn to Swim instructors are here to help you and your child grow as a swimmer. Whether it is simply becoming comfortable in the water, learning how to float or developing your strokes, we are excited to help you and your child reach that goal. Our instructors all have backgrounds in teaching swim lessons as well as some being Water Safety Instructors, lifeguards and competitive swimmers.

For more information, please reach out to Nick Pangio, Community Programs Coordinator, 614-292-2115.


Meet Our Instructors! 


Abbey Dial

Abbey is a first year Zoology major with a minor in animal pre-veterinary medicine.

Swim and Teaching Experience: Abbey has been swimming competitively since the age of nine, first on a YMCA team and then all four years of high school. She has been a lifeguard at the David YMCA and Clay's Park Resort since the age of sixteen. She also has been teaching swim lessons at the YMCA for two years and has some experience as a youth swim coach.

Life Aspirations: Abbey hopes to attend veterinary school here at Ohio State and eventually pursue a career as an exotic animal veterinarian in order to pursue her passion for helping animals.

Hobbies: Abbey enjoys anything that has to do with water or the outdoors including sailing, jet skiing, water skiing, snorkeling, hiking, camping and much more!

Fun Fact: She spent 10 days in the Bahamas last April, snorkeling and studying marine biology and hopes to pursue an internship there in the near future.


Akiva Wernick

Akiva is a Graduate student majoring in Aerospace. 

Swim and Teaching Experience: Akiva was on his high school's swimming and diving team and began teaching swimming for the Learn to Swim program in 2012. He has been working in child care and child development since 2006.

Life Aspirations: Akiva hopes to run his own S.T.E.M. outreach program for primary and secondary school aged children in addition to performing research in aerospace applications.

Hobbies: In addition to swimming and diving, Akiva is active in the sport of gymnastics. Other hobbies he enjoys includes programming and cooking.

Fun Fact: Akiva went sky diving as part of a class at Ohio State University.


Allison Kinross

Allison is a first year undecided major.

Swim and Teaching Experience: Allison has been swimming competitively since she was eight years old. She has been a member of the Countryside YMCA club team, her high school team and now is now club swimming at Ohio State. She is a swim instructor at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon Ohio as well as a swim camp counselor.

Life Aspirations: She hopes to have a career in the medical field that allows her to work for children with special needs and travel the world.

Hobbies: She loves any kind of outdoor activity from kayaking to hammocking.  She also loves travelling, dancing, movies and trying new things!

Fun Fact: She wants to study abroad in Africa before she graduates.


Amanda Petro

Amanda is a fourth year Early and Middle Childhood Studies with minors in Disability Studies and Developmental Psychology.

Swim and Teaching Experience: Amanda has been a part of competitive swimming since she was six years old. She started off on a summer league team when she was young, and then gradually moved her way up to the club level year round in high school where she also swam all four years. She started teaching swim lessons when she was a sophomore in high school at her nearby park district pool, and is going in to her second year with Ohio State swim lessons. She has also started to dip her feet in coaching with her first experience this past summer.

Life Aspirations: After she graduates this spring, she is planning to pursue her teacher licensure and Masters in education in order to become an upper elementary or middle school teacher with possible coaching on the side.

Hobbies: Amanda loves to find new recipes to bake/cook, visit family and enjoy living an active lifestyle.

Fun Fact: She has four brothers and two sisters.


Ashley Cotnam

Ashley is a second year Health Sciences major. 

Swim and Teaching Experience: Ashley has been a lifeguard and taught swim lessons for the past five summers in Boston, Massachusetts

Life Aspirations: After she graduates, she hopes to go to medical school and pursue a career working in pediatric sports medicine.

Hobbies: Ashley enjoys playing soccer, traveling and baking

Fun Fact: She has traveled to four countries in Europe (England, Ireland, France and Spain).


Ashley Saba

Ashley is a third year Civil Engineering major.

Swim and Teaching Experience: Ashley swam competitively for 13 years before coming to Ohio State. She was a lifeguard and taught swim lessons this past summer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Life Aspirations: She hopes to attain a civil engineering job in Pittsburgh after graduating. She would love to continue coaching in addition to being a professional engineer.

Hobbies: Ashley is a member of the Varsity rowing team and involved in the Women in Engineering sorority, Phi Sigma Rho.

Fun Fact: She went on an Engineering Service trip to Paraguay this past August.


Breanna Schafer

Bre is a fourth year Human Development and Family Science major. 

Swim and Teaching Experience: Bre has been coaching for four years back in her home town. She coached the Vacaville Swim Clubs Novice and Summer Swim teams for the past three years and ran the program last summer. In addition, she helps coach masters and writes workouts for masters. Bre has been swimming since she was an infant, and competitively since the age of three. She swam with the Vacaville Swim Club from the age of six to 18 and has returned every summer to swim in the master’s program.

Life Aspirations: Looking past graduation in May, Bre hopes to either move on to grad school or to explore possible career options in the fields of occupational therapy or kinesiology. She would like to continue coaching as well.

Hobbies: Bre enjoys playing piano, cooking and baking, spending time in the pool and exploring the outdoors. Bre also enjoys crafting and creative writing.

Fun Fact: Bre has traveled to over 40 National Parks/Monuments and has visited over 35 of the United States.


Brendan Lulow

Brendan is a first year Data Analytics major.

Swim and Teaching Experience: Brendan has swam competitively for eight years. He has been lifeguarding and teachiing swim lessons for the past three years.

Life Aspirations: Brendan hopes to become a data analyst for one of his hometown sports teams.

Hobbies: Brendan enjoys swimming, listening to music, hanging out with friends and being outdoors.

Fun Fact: Brendan has vacationed to 10 different states.


Emily Huber

Emily is a second year Medical Dietetics major.

Swim and Teaching Experience: Emily swam competitively in high school and has taught swim lessons for the past four years in her hometown. She was also a Special Olympic assistant swim coach for three years.

Life Aspirations: She wants to attend grad school for sports nutrition/exercise science and work as a sports dietician.

Hobbies: She likes to swim, hike, cook and spending time with friends and family.


Erika Santolalla Sanchez-Diaz

Erika is a third year Strategic Communications major. 

Swim and Teaching Experience: Erika was born and raised in Peru a block away from the ocean, which made swimming a big part of her life. She took swimming lessons throughout her life and had the opportunity to really practice those when she started surfing. She started teaching swim lessons on Fall Semester 2016.

Life Aspirations: She already has a Bachelors in Psychology and hopes her new degree in Strategic Communications will allow her to be an effective worker in the marketing and/or human resources field.

Hobbies: She likes traveling, learning about different cultures and getting time with friends.

Fun Fact: Erika has traveled to six different countries in South and Central America and 9 in Europe


Julia Brooks

Julia is a third year Logistics Management major. 

Swim and Teaching Experience: She swam competitively in high school and has been teaching swim lessons for the past three years.

Life Aspirations: After graduation she hopes to get a job here in Columbus that is fun and fulfilling. She also hopes to travel and help others in need.

Hobbies: She loves traveling, trying new restaurants and baking.

Fun Fact: She often gets mistaken for Candace Parker



Mitch Dreisbach

Mitch is a fourth year Accounting major. 

Swim and Teaching Experience: He swam with the Ohio State Swim Club growing up and has been teaching swim lessons for the past four years.

Life Aspirations: To be happy and healthy. To positively influence the lives of others.

Hobbies: He loves swimming and playing volleyball with friends. He also enjoys cooking, singing, and taking care of pets

Fun Fact: He is the Private Lesson Coordinator.


Natalie Horrigan

Natalie is a second year Health Sciences major.

Swim and Teaching Experience: She has swam non-competitively her entire life, been a lifeguard for five years and a swim instructor for three years at two different pools and a lake.

Life Aspirations: To become a physician assistant, help others and see the world.

Hobbies: She loves anything in the water, but swimming and sailing are her favorite two! She also enjoys traveling, hiking/camping, reading and DIY projects.

Fun Fact: She is exceptional at pogo-sticking.


Nichole Miller

Nichole is a fourth year Psychology and Criminology major. 

Swim and Teaching Experience: She has swam competitively for 12 years and has been a lifeguard for 7 years. She also has had her WSI and has been teaching lessons for four years, and recently earned her LGI (to teach lifeguard classes).

Life Aspirations: Professionally, Nichole is working towards becoming a criminal profiler. But, outside of work, travel is a huge priority and she aspires to visit all 7 continents.

Hobbies: She is currently involved in the club swimming team at Ohio State and is a huge fan of science fiction television. Nichole is also trying to teach herself how to play guitar, and loves classic rock music.

Fun Fact: She was a competitive Irish dancer for six years in middle school.