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Coaches & Directors

We are here to support our members. If you have questions relating to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact your group coach. All administrative questions, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please contact Coach Robert at headcoach@gatorswimclub.com or 319-471-5054 by text or call.

Coaching Staff

Robert D. Pinter

Head Coach - Elite Group, International

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Robert started his swimming career at an early age in his native Romania. Over 13 years of competitive swimming in Europe, he won many national and international competitions including becoming European Junior Champion in the 200 butterfly in 1984 in Luxembourg. From 1990 to 1994, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison on an athletic scholarship as part of the men’s swimming team. While at UW he accumulated many accolades, including multiple All-American honors, multiple school records (one of which lasted 17 years), and Big Ten runner-up standing in several events. In 1992, Robert represented Romania at the Olympics in Barcelona, where he was a finalist in the 200 butterfly (7th place) and ended the year with a ranking of seventh in the world in that event.

Pinter started his coaching career in 1999 as the head coach of the Oregon Community Swim Club in Oregon, Wisconsin. In 2002 he moved on to be the Co-Head Senior Coach of the Badger Aquatics Club in Madison. It was at Badger Aquatics that he received the Wisconsin Senior Coach of the Year award in 2004. During his time as a club coach in Wisconsin, he also coached a successful master’s swimming program.

In the fall of 2004, Robert attained his first collegiate coaching position at the University of Iowa, coaching the Hawkeyes until 2008. In 2008, Pinter returned to Madison as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin, where he coached for three seasons. For the 2011–2012 season, he was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.  

In July of 2012, Robert became the Head Coach of the Iowa Flyers Swim Club in Iowa City, Iowa where he also worked as the Assistant Aquatics Director until April 2016 when he came to Gainesville to coach Gator Swim Club. During his time with IFLY Robert led the club to unprecedented results including five State Champoinship team titles, placed 12th at the 2015 Winter Junior Nationals, placed one swimmer on the Junior National Team in 2015-2016, had one swimmer ranked in the top 100 in the world, coached dozens of Iowa state record holders and state champions, coached one paralympic swimmer who achieved 4 american records, and won the 2013 Speedo Sectional Team title among other things.  

Robert still enjoys competing. He has participated in and completed in Ironman, half-Ironman and other triathlon competitions. He has also competed in marathons, ultramamrathons, half-marathons, and other running events, as well as open water swimming races.

Robert and his wife Christie have an eleven-year-old son Lukacs (Luke), who is a member of Gator Swim Club.

 

Alexander Wray Dehner

Assistant Coach - Gold, Sectional

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Joe Scafuti

Assistant Coach, Senior Group

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Nikita Denisyako

Assistant Coach, Orange Group, Masters

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Nikita was born in Riga, Latvia, raised in Moscow, Russia. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 2011 with bachelor degree in Agriculture Leadership and Development. A 4 time NCAA and Big 12 Conference All-American. School record holder in 200Back, 200IM and 400 Medley Relay. After graduation Nikita spent a year training under sprint guru coach Coley Stickels at Canyons Aquatic Club in California. Nikita also participated in many international swim meets such as World Cup series, European Championships, and Grand Prix. He had pleasure to work with multiple top level coaches around the world. Currently trains with the international group at Gator Swim Club. On the road to Rio 2016! 

Bernadine Anne Pegues

Assistant Coach

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Annie is a southern New Jersey native with a heart meant for Florida. She was destined for the swimming world, as both of her parents and older sister swam competitively through college and continued on into coaching shortly after. She began swimming at 3, teaching swim lessons at 13, and officially coaching at 18. She began attending the University of Florida in January 2016, and plans to finish with a Bachelor's in Food Science spring of 2017. She loves the going down the shore, baking, and is a mermaid in her spare time.

Meaghan Helene Fenn

Assistant Coach - White, Orange

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Meaghan joined our staff in January 2015. She is currently a Graduate Student at the University of Florida, and graduated from Northwestern University in 2013. She competed for four years during her time at Northwestern for their swimming and diving team. Meaghan is the funniest member of the coaching staff.

Sue Halfacre

Assistant Coach, Masters and Substitute

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Lauren E Finley

Assistant Coach, Substitute

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Coach Lauren was born and raised in North Pole, Alaska. She started swimming at age 13 and it quickly became one of the most important parts of her life. In 2009, she joined the Minnesota State University swim team where she swam all 4 years as a Maverick distance swimmer. Her favorite event was the mile. In 2013, Lauren graduated from MSU with a psychology degree and a minor in child development. She spent one season coaching with the Mankato Marlins YMCA Swim Team who grew in success to one of the top teams in Minnesota under the coaching staff. She is currently working on her Master’s in Occupational Therapy at UF. She has one cat and one dog, loves Harry Potter, coffee, and cheering on the Gators! :)

Austin Robert Goldstein

Assistant Coach - Blue, Silver, Sect.

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Emily Katherine Nemecek

Assistant Coach - Green, Orange

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Coach Katherine grew up in Jacksonville swimming competitively for 10 years. She swam for several club teams in Jacksonville including Bolles, North Florida, and Episcopal. Katherine has been coaching competitive swim for 6 years now and hopes to do it for the rest of her life. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Sport Management and a double minor in business and mass communication. She aspires to one day open up and coach for her own club swim team. Until then, she spends her days with the intention of instilling the same love and passion that she has for this sport into the swimmers of the Gator Swim Club.

Angelina Ballatore

Assistant Coach - White, Blue

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Angelina Ballatore grew up in Gainesville Florida. Her family has been a big part of the swimming community for many years. Both her mother and father coached swimming at the Age-group, College, and Olympic levels. She joined Gator Swim Club at the age of six while her father "Sticks" was coaching the UF Men's Swimming Team.  Angelina's hard work ethic and competitive spirit boosted her to the elite level of competitive swimming. She swam for the Florida Gators from 2008-2012.  She majored in Telecommunications with a specialization in Production. Swimming in college did not hinder her academic performance. Ballatore received academic honor roll all four years.   After finding her three best events, the 500 freestyle, 400IM and the 1650, Angelina was able to excel and surpass her goals each year. Her   stellar performances included making   NCAA's as a freshman and junior and was part of the 2009 SEC and 2010 NCAA Championship Teams. She was also   named co-captain both her Junior and Senior years.   Prior to the University of Florida, she was a team captain of the Buchholz High School squad. Racked up 2007 high school All-America honors in the 200 IM, 400 free and 200 medley relay events. Placed third in the 200 IM at the Class 3A Florida State meet. A member of the Buchholz 2005 State Championship Team, and the 2005 meet-winning 400 free relay team. Angelina's passions include, exercising, filming, and helping up and coming swimmers become the best people and athletes they can be. Coach Angelina is also a Real Estate Agent for Berkshire Hathaway Trend Realty in Gainesville. 

Erin Condon

Assistant Coach - Sr, Sec, Masters

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Erin has been a member of the Gator Swim Club staff since the spring of 2014, and works with the Senior and Masters groups. A native of Pound Ridge, NY, Erin came out of the nationally acclaimed Wilton YMCA Wahoos program in Wilton, CT. She was named to the United States Swimming Open Water National Team in 1994, 1995, and 1996, and was a USS Junior National qualifier in the distance and backstroke events. She competed for Princeton University during her undergraduate studies, and after a break came back to swimming to compete for the Gator Swim Club Masters program in 2012. In 2014, Erin achieved five USMS National Top Ten rankings in the 35-39 age group, and attained a FINA Masters World Top Ten ranking of 9th in the 1500.

When she’s not at the pool, Erin chairs the City of Gainesville Plan Board, birdwatches, and enjoys time with her husband, Jose Huguet-Tapia, a microbiologist at the University of Florida.

Johanna Mellis

Assistant Coach - Green, Orange

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Johanna comes to us from Richmond, VA where she swam for Poseidon
Swimming for 10 years. She continued her career at the College of
Charleston in Charleston, SC from 2004-2008. After coaching summer
league teams in Richmond and Charleston for five years, Johanna
coached the last five years for club teams in Gainesville. More
recently she coached at High Tide Aquatics from 2012-2016, working
mainly with the 11 & unders in the Bronze and Silver groups.
 
Johanna is now completing her PhD in History at the University of
Florida, combining her interests in history and sports. Her passion
for swimming continues to thrive. Johanna's knowledge and enthusiasm
for swimming will contribute to Gator Swim Club’s continued success in
the pool.

Marc G Shahboz

Asst. Coach - Silver

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