Meet the SwimJim New York Team

Kutay Agardici
Pronounced KA-TIE, Kutay joined the SwimJim team in early 2016. He excelled on his high school swim team and has worked with children in different capacities his entire life. As a childcare professional and Developmental Psychology major at Hunter College, he is both invested in and fascinated by child development. Kutay is a patient, understanding and motivational instructor we are proud to welcome to the team. 

Ariel Brito
Ariel joined the SwimJim team in May 2019. He is currently a student in college majoring in business. During his free time he likes to play basketball. Ariel has been swimming since he was 10 and as a kid his favorite activities were going to the pool or water parks. He enjoys teaching his students the importance of safe swimming. He believes it’s important to learn how to swim because you’ll never know when you’ll need it to help yourself or others.


Jennifer Buckley

Jennifer is a native of Brooklyn, NY and has been swimming since she was very young. She was on her first swim team when she was 9 years old and swam competitively all the way through college.  Besides swimming she loves volleyball, track and field, as well as football and baseball. She has achieved many swimming trophies and medals over the vast years of swimming and is also Lifeguard/CPR trained. She has lifeguarded for many years of her life as well. She loves being a swim instructor because she can help save children from being scared of the water and turn them into confident swimmers for life.

Dakota Candiloro

Dakota is originally from North Carolina. He swam in high school, and his favorite stroke is freestyle. He has been a kids program orchestrator with 5 plus years of experience. He likes to draw and paint during his free time. He believes swimming is important because it’s a great activity to exercise your body and mind.


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!

Fabiano DeOliveria

Fabiano is a student studying video arts and technology at Borough of Manhattan Community College. His favorite pastimes include sports, family, & vacations. He began his swimming journey at a young age starting with swimming classes and later on getting into competitive racing for swim teams.He first joined the SwimJim Team as a lifeguard but then ventured on to pursue teaching as it sparked joy to be able to help others on their swimming journey.

Kelsey Doherty

Kelsey is originally from Pittsburgh PA and currently pursuing her master’s degree at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She swam competitively the majority of her life and is excited to be back in the pool!

Rosemary Ghigliotty

Rosemary is a Swim Instructor and Lifeguard Director with SwimJim as well as an American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor.  She joined our team in November 2018.  Rosemary discovered her passion for swimming while in High School and swam for the Varsity Team in 2007-2008. While in High School, she was introduced to Lifeguarding as a gym class and found her passion. She understands the importance of swimming as a survival skill and loves to teach those skills to everyone.  She works patiently and gently to build and develop those skills to help the students progress to the next level.

Sera Knobler

Sera is an instructor at SwimJim. She has been swimming competitively for 13 years and lifeguarding since she was 17. She swam on Asphalt Green’s swim team starting at the age of 10 and then went on to swim for Hunter College where she recently graduated. Outside of SwimJim she is currently training to be an EMT. Sera has had a love for the water ever since she was young and is excited to bring that energy to the pool.

Alize Morris

Alize has always loved swimming, she joined many swim teams in Puerto Rico back when she was a kid for several years. When she moved back to NY, she wanted to continue swimming so she decided to become a lifeguard. From there she worked her way up to becoming a swim instructor. She is an outgoing and friendly person. As an instructor, she is nurturing and patient, but stern when needed. For example, if she has beginner students, she will ease their fears, encourage them to try new tasks and have fun while learning in the water. For her more experienced swimmers, she will push them to improve their swimming abilities so that they can reach their goals. She encourages parents to communicate with her about their child’s progress and/or goals that they would like their child to meet. She currently holds her Lifeguarding, First Aid, and CPR-AED certifications.

Zuleyka Perez
Zuleyka is a lifeguard and swim instructor at SwimJim. She has been swimming ever since she could remember and even took swim lessons with SwimJim until she was 12. She has always loved swimming and the feeling of swimming freely. She believes swimming is an important life skill that everyone should have the opportunity to learn. Besides swimming, she loves to read during her free time.

Leo Rivas
Leo has always loved swimming because it’s a great workout and believes it is a necessary life skill. When he is not in the water he is either playing basketball or baseball. He believes that learning to swim is very important and will take that skill with them wherever they go. Not only do kids interact with each other it also helps them become socially active. They get to have fun while learning something new!

Pamela Smolinski

Pamela, who also goes by Pam, was born and raised in Queens, New York.  She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in sociology. Her swimming career started on a swim team at age 7 until age 18. During her freetime she likes to sing, write music, do makeup, and dance. Pam loves children and is excited to teach them!

Rebecca Strauss

Rebekah Strauss is currently a film student at NYU and, in her free time, she can be found traveling around the city shooting her next project. She has fond memories of swim lessons from when she was young and is passionate about paying it forward to the next generation. What she loves most about swimming is how versatile it is: whether it’s for sport or just for fun, swimming is an important life skill both for positive development and survival.

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.

Skylar Weidert

Skylar is an education/psychology student with a passion to teach and work with children. Since 2015, she has been a tutor, camp counselor, and mentor towards children. Knowing how important it is for children to learn water safety, she has leaned into her love for swimming to both swim and teach children! It’s most rewarding to teach confidence not only in the water, but in any challenge/and or skill children want to conquer.


Rivers Whiting

Rivers is excited to be in the pool! Growing up, both her parents were kayakers and shes grown up rafting, surfing, paddle boarding, and swimming pretty much every day. She swam competitively in Hawaii for a few years and has done a few triathlons during her spare time. She is very passionate about being in the water and wants to help everyone get comfortable with their own skills in the water.