Coaching Staff

Check out the JAC Coaching Staff!  

Our future's "so bright!"

Peter Barry  - Head Coach 
Peter Barry began coaching in 1978. He served as Assistant Women's Coach for Columbia University from 1983-1986. Upon matriculating, from Columbia University, with a bachelor's degree in Architecture and Building and Development, he became Head Age Group at Morris Center YMCA, eventually becoming Head Coach from 1989-1993. In 1993, Peter took on the role as Junior Coach at the Somerset Hills YMCA, eventually becoming Director of Competitive Aquatics from 2001-2015. In 2012, he was named YMCA Coach of the Year, by his swimmers, parents and peers. In his tenure, he has coached Olympic Trial, USA Junior National, National qualifiers, and Junior Pan Pac's finalists, and YMCA National Champions.

Marlene Curtis 
Assistant Coach (age groups: 11/12s and 13/over)
Coach Marlene has more than 25 years of experience coaching atheletes of all ages. She is an ASCA Level II Coach and has been selected as a NJS All Star Zone Coach. Outside of JAC, Marlene is head coach at The Kent Place School and during the summer is head coach and pool director at Echo Lake Country Club. She is a Professor in the Health and Human Performance Department at Kean University. Marlene serves on the NJ Swimming Board of Directors as the Registration Chair and Safe Sport Chair. Marlene is also our in-house lifeguard certification trainer and Omega guru! 

Dave Kessel
Dryland Coach 
Assistant Coach (age groups: 13/over)
Coach Dave's coaching highlights include training swimmers to NJ State Swimming records, YMCA and NAG top 16 swimmers, members on the US National Junior Team, USA National Team members, Olympic Trial qualifiers as well as being picked for a High Altitude Training Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Dave has coached swimming in the NJ area for over 20 years and uses his experience on the pool deck to train athletes in the weight room, as well as in the pool. Dave’s goal is to give swimmers the competitive advantage by tapping into what makes them “an athlete who swims, rather than just a swimmer”. 

Laura Riddell
Assistant Coach (age groups: 13/over)
Coach Laura has over 30 years of coaching experience, much of which was spent as Head Coach at Summit Area YMCA, where she trained a multitude of atheletes to YMCA Nationals and beyond. JAC is excited to welcome coach Laura back on the pool deck! 

Chris Swenson
Head Age Group Coach (age groups: 11-12s) 
Assistant Coach (age groups: 13/over)  
"Train the way you want to compete!"
Coach Chris began his coaching career over 25 years ago, starting as an assistant coach at Willow Grove Swim Club in 2019. Currently Coach Chris is head women's swim team coach at Kean University, in addition to working with the 6th/7th grade group at JAC. Coach Chris grew up swimming at FSPY and for Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS, before continuing on to swim at Rowan University. At Rowan coach Chris was named MVP, team captain, and made multiple NCAA B cuts in 100/200 Breaststroke, before completing his MBA in 2008. "Swimming needs to be fun, and I always feel that the harder you work the more fun swimming becomes."

Vlad Popel
Assistant Coach (age groups: 13/over) 

Coach Vlad began his coaching career after graduating from the Physical Culture and Sport University in Kiev – capital of Ukraine in 1981.
Vlad served as the age group coach for  a variety of swim schools in East Ukraine and his swimmers became champions at the national age group level. His swimmers also represented the Ukranian National Team in international competitions at prestigious meets like the European Junior Swimming Championships.
From 1991, Vlad coached at the National Swim Center in Donetsk, Ukraine. Swimmers from this center went on to compete at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain in 1992 and in Atlanta, GA (USA) in 1996. Vlad also served as the Head Coach for United Arab Emirates National Swim Team and as a coach-consultant for many teams across Asia and the Middle East.
Vlad’s coaching career in the United States:

1999-2002 Age Group Coach, Raritan Valley YMCA, East Brunswick, NJ.

2002-2004 Coach, X-Cel Swimming, Princeton, NJ.

2004-2010 Head Coach, Clifton Boys and Girls Club, Clifton, NJ.

2012-2023 Director Competitive Swim Team, Wayne YMCA, Wayne, NJ.
Many of Vlad’s swimmers have won medals at Eastern Zones Championships, NJ Junior Olympics, State YMCA Championships, National YMCA Championships, and Boys and Girls Club Nationals. He has coached swimmers who were in the top 10 of age groups swimmers in the country. Some of these swimmers then qualified for Junior and Senior National Championships. More than 20 of Vlad’s former swimmers are continuing his legacy by coaching at teams throughout New Jersey.
Coach Vlad is member of American Swimming Coaches Association and has Level 4 USA and Level 5 International Coach certifications.


Stephanie Judge
Head Age Group Coach (age groups: 10/under) 
Assistant Coach (age groups:13/over)
Coach Steph is co-head coach of our 10 and younger atheletes and assists with our older atheletes. Coach Steph began her swimming career at Scotch Plains Fanwood High School and the Jersey Gators. Steph continued on to swim for University of Mass. Amherst. Coach Steph also currently serves as assistant coach at The Kent Place school and Kean University. 

Patrick Savidge
Head Age Group Coach (age groups:10/under)
Coach Pat is one of our two 10 and under age group head coaches. Outside of JAC, coach Pat can be found teaching math at The Delbarton School, as well as serving as head varsity swim coach. In his free time coach Pat enjoys living an active lifestyle including competing in Ironman Traithlons. Coach Pat graduated from University of Delaware with a degree in mathematics and competed on the swim team. 

Steve Husch
Power-Velocity Trainer
Coach "Scuba" Steve is our Power and Velocity Trainer. You will find him next to "Steve's power towers" on deck! He works with our older athletes in small groups focusing on their technique and power. Coach Steve began his swimming career at the Westfield YMCA, Cougar Aquatic Team, and Westfield High School, before continuing on to swim for Indiana University, where he specialized in breaststroke. While at Indiana, he majored in exercise science and was a research assistant for The Counsilman Center for The Science of Swimming for 4 years. The Counsilman Center has provided the swimming community with valuable research to advance the sport of competitive swimming.               
The Jersey Aquatic Center  -   629 Central Ave  -   New Providence, NJ  -  07974