OUR TEAM

Kutay Agardici
Pronounced KA-TIE, Kutay joined the SwimJim team in early 2016.  As a Childcare Professional and Developmental Psychology major at Hunter College he’s a perfect fit for the SwimJim team.  Kutay excelled on his high school swim team and has worked with children in different capacities his entire life. Kutay is a patient, understanding and motivational instructor we are proud to have him on our team.

Gabe Atkinson
Gabriel is a native Brooklynite and attended Catholic school for the major of his schooling.  Though Gabe loves the water and was a member of the varsity swim team in high school, he also enjoyed playing the trumpet and was on the robotics team.  Being on the robotics team was the spark that caused him to study Mechanical Engineering and Automotive Technology at Farmingdale and Penn State University. He is currently studying Mental Health at Kingsborough College to one day become a Guidance Counselor.  Gabe has been lifeguarding and teaching swimming for 8 years. An avid sports fan, you will mainly find him enjoying outdoor activities such as camping and sailing.

Dylan Avila
Dylan is a NY native born and raised in The Bronx. He is the eldest of 4 children. He discovered his passion for swimming on a family trip to Ecuador when he was 5 years old.  Dylan says it was on family trips while racing his siblings in the water that built his passion for swimming which later led him to compete on his high schools swim team. Dylan became the team captain and would enjoy teaching others how to swim and love the water as much as he does.
Photo: Got it

Brandon Bergeron
Brandon joined the SwimJim team in 2018. An Austin native, he has been swimming since the early age of 4 years old and has fond memories of learning to swim with his father in hotel pools and on Texas road trips. Brandon moved to New York City in 2013 to study for his Master’s degree in Trumpet Performance at the world renowned conservatory, Juilliard School for the Arts.  Even with a hectic schedule as a student at Juilliard, Brandon continued to swim recreationally when not performing or teaching his SwimJim students. While Brandon enjoys teaching music for the past 8 years, he looks forward to getting out of rehearsals to teach swimming to his SwimJim students.

Olivia Bishop
Olivia joined the SwimJim team in 2017. She learned to swim at the expert hands of her parents, both long-time competitive swimmers who encouraged her to do the same. Olivia was raised in Tennessee and spent a lot of time being active outdoors. As a child, Olivia says she tried every sport she could think of before falling in love with swimming competitively for her school team.  It was a preventable drowning during practice that motivated her to start teaching water safety at a swim school in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Olivia is a gentle yet firm instructor who helps to instill a love of swimming in her students. Now living in New York City, Olivia has joined our team as a Swim Instructor.

JR Chansakul
JR joined the SwimJim team in 2016. Born and raised in New York, New York, JR is
a city boy who loves eating and playing sports. JR learned how to swim at the tender age of four at the Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics Center on the upper west side before joining their swim team at the age of eight. When JR was eleven, a friend told him about SwimJim and he had the privilege of being taught by SwimJim Founder and C.E.O., Jim, himself.  While swimming with Jim, JR developed a liking for the breaststroke and loved swimming the IM’s.

In high school, JR enjoyed other sports such as basketball and running, but swimming remained his favorite. He continued to swim competitively at the state, regional and national level. JR went on to compete on the Bowdoin College swim team in the NESCAC Conference. While at Bowdoin, he developed a passion for teaching both in and out of the pool. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College in May with a major in Biochemistry and minor in Sociology. JR is interested in education as well as public health and hopes to continue into this career path. JR is a motivated and dedicated individual who is eager to meet new people and excited to teach kids the life-changing skill of Swimming.

Diane Chen
Diane joined SwimJim in 2017, and has been teaching and mentoring children for many years in a variety of roles. She was a competitive swimmer, and is a film and theater actor who holds a dual degree in Developmental Psychology and Theater from Dartmouth College.  Though she loves the screen and theater work she does, her utmost passion is creating a safer more supportive world for the next generation – and part of that is making swimming fun and safer. We are proud to have such a wonderful person on the SwimJim team.

 Antonio Cupid
Antonio was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He learned how to swim in his sophomore year of high school by what Antonio describes as an “amazing coach”. Antonio loves art! On his spare time he plays the guitar, piano and he even draws.
Antonio joined the SwimJim team in early 2017 as a lifeguard. During his time as a lifeguard Antonio showed his dedication to our clients and his desire to teach safer swimming.  His hard work paid off. He is now one of our amazing instructors. His sweet nature and drive make for a warm but challenging educational experience!

Dahkota DeBold 
Dahkota (pronounced like the state of Dakota), joined the SwimJim team in early 2018. Dahkota is a competitive swimmer from Prattville, Alabama. She is a college student, first degree black belt and musician who has been working directly with children in and out of the pool since 2012.

Betty Huerta
Betty Huerta is a Head Instructor at SwimJim. She joined the SwimJim team in 2015. She discovered her passion for swimming while taking swim classes in high school. She volunteered for two years with the Red Cross teaching in the very same High school she graduated from. Betty understands the importance of swimming as a survival skill and loves to teach those skills to children as well as adults. She believes in patience and repetition- so that everyone can learn no matter how young or old.  Betty also takes pride in her Spanish heritage and is fluent in Spanish.

Samuel Humphreys
Sam began swimming at 2 years old in North Carolina and moved to the city at 17 to study classical dance. He has worked with SwimJim as an instructor since spring 2017. He enjoys how swimming and ballet illuminate each other and is thrilled to pass on SwimJim’s biomechanically and psychologically grounded practice. When he’s not in the pool Sam is a freelance dancer, pianist, composer and actor.

Sylvia Inocent
Silvia was born in Yonkers, New York . She began her swimming career as a young child where her parents enrolled her in lessons. Throughout elementary school Sylvia was a member of the Yonkers Tsunami Swim Team.  Entering the eighth grade she moved to Tampa, Florida with her family where she continued her swimming career by joining the Brandon Blue Wave Swim Team, which later became USA Swimming. She was also a member of her high school swim team, Durant Cougars, where she was the captain by her senior year. Following high school, Sylvia attended Barry University in Miami, Florida. There she did Intramural Swimming and was also given the opportunity to swim 5Ks. She graduated in 2016 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management with minors in Business and Art. She started with SwimJim Fall, 2018 and enjoys teaching her passion to the children of tomorrow.

Renee Johnson
Renee was born in Brooklyn, New York but grew up in New Jersey.  Her parents, who both work in the aquatics field passed that love of the water to Renee, who was a lifeguard for three years before becoming a SwimJim instructor.  Renee is currently an undergraduate student studying Nutrition. She is also fluent in Spanish.

Nicola Leopold
Nico, as he is usually called by the people who know him is from Brooklyn, New York and is one of our youngest, most passionate instructors.  Nico has been teaching children how to swim since he was 16. He was a Boy Scouts instructor until he moved on to teaching competitive swimmers.  Nico loves working with children because he enjoys the feeling of teaching someone a lifelong skill and how to success. He believes that children are our future and they deserve to be prepared for any situation. Nico also believes that teaching children about swimming is more than just teaching a stroke—teaching is about helping young people build character.

Lily Passaretti
Lily is currently attending Columbia University, working toward her Masters in Social Work and has been a swim instructor for over five years. Outside of class and the pool, she loves hiking, kayaking and live music.

Solange Perez
Solange is one of SwimJim’s longest team members- joining the SwimJim team in 2010. She originally started at as a Lifeguard and has worked her way up to Instructor Trainer and now SwimJim’s Director of Operations. Her swimming career began at Lehman High School on the swim team at the age of 16.

Solange Has walked the walk when it comes to showing her love of education.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in who majors, English and Early Childhood Education.  She minored in Pyschology. After college, Solange taught elementary school students in both public and Charter schools.  Solange loves combining her professional experiences in education and at SwimJim as an Instructor, making her students feel safer and have fun in and around the water.  

While balancing her busy duties as SwimJim’s Director of Operations, she is also pursuing her Master’s degree in Business Administration.  

Shannon Ryan
Shannon joined the SwimJim team in April of 2018. She is originally from Gun Barrel City, Texas where she grew up swimming and boating on Cedar Creek Lake. Shannon was a competitive swimmer and dancer and has been teaching students from the ages three and up how to dance and sing since she was 14. She later pursued a degree in education until finding her true passion of Musical Theatre.  Shannon is an energetic, patient and kind instructor who can’t wait to begin teaching your kids!

Kyle Shaw
Kyle joined the SwimJim team in 2015 as an Instructor and since then has become the Head Trainer. He was born and raised in New York, New York.  Kyle describes himself as energetic and active child. He was always enrolled in various sports including Baseball, Soccer and Ice Skating. Kylenow practices and competes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He learned to swim at the age of three at the McBurney YMCA. He further devolved his passion for swimming after joining the Chelsea Blue Dolphins at the Parks and Recreation Center.  Kyle became captain of the swim team where he was responsible for teaching and guiding his younger teammates. He enjoyed competing and his expertise in butterfly has awarded him serval medals. Kyle is proud to bring his patience and persistence to his role at SwimJim. He says: “I enjoy helping a child overcome fear and struggles to learn to swim”.

Kelli Stryker
Kelli joined the SwimJim team in 2008.  At the age of 3 Kelli was taught how to swim by her uncle and SwimJim Founder and C.E.O, Jim himself. Growing up on a swim team she was awarded many purple participation ribbons but never got gold. Though competitive swimming wasn’t for her, in the long run her love for swimming always remained intact. She obtained a BFA in Musical Theatre from Webster University Conservatory of Fine Arts. Kelli can be seen not only in the pool but in the office as SwimJim’s Director. She has received her Infant/Toddler and Special Abilities certification from the United States Swim School Association as well as trained at AquaPros in San Diego with their Special Needs program.  When Kelli is not at SwimJim she can been seen around the country speaking at conferences, educating other about teaching or management techniques. Teaching swimming and educating people on water safety are some of Kelli’s greatest passions. There is no greater feeling than knowing that you have taught someone a skill that makes them safer in and around the water.