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.

Sophia Chevez

Sofia is a recent college grad from Brandeis University. She graduated with a B.A in English and Creative Writing and minor in Art History. She was a competitive swimmer for 15 years and swam all four years of college for Brandeis’ swim team. She has a passion for teaching children how to swim as it was (and still is) a huge part of her life. She is very excited to be a part of 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!

Sarah Decker

Sarah is from Texas and has loved swimming from the moment she was born. She joined her neighborhood team at age 3 and never looked back. She has been a competitive swimmer since she was 7 and currently swims for Hunter College, where Sarah is getting her bachelor’s degree in Education. She has been teaching kids how to swim since she was 17 and has been invested in making swimming safe, exciting, and confidence-boosting ever since!

Naomi Distant

Naomi is 23 years old and a recent graduate of Aveda Esthetics Institute. Naomi grew up in Jamaica and joined a swim team when she was just three years old! Naomi competitively swam from ages seven to eleven before moving to New York, where she continued to swim for fun and participated in several triathlons. She joined SwimJim in 2019 and after a brief hiatus, she’s back and can’t wait to get back in the pool to teach!

Emily Eikeseth

Emily Eikeseth is an undergraduate from FIT majoring in Fashion Business Management and is very passionate about creating an experience for any customer. Her favorite sport is beach volleyball, and loves to work with kids. Emily has mentioned that connecting with the kids and making them realize their capability is her favorite part about being an instructor! She is looking forward to meeting all of her future students.

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.

Gaby Greenhill

Gaby has been a swim instructor and lifeguard with SwimJim since we reopened in October 2020, but her passion for swimming began at an early age. She was a competitive swimmer all the way through high school and has been a lifeguard for over 5 years now. While Gaby is no longer competing and is currently a student at The New School, she is still excited to share her love of swimming by teaching kids. Gaby believes that swimming is a vital skill that everyone should learn and is honored to be a role model for her students. She thinks that attending swimming lessons teaches kids more than just the skill of swimming, but also the importance of listening and respecting others.

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.

Averie LeRoy

Averie is currently attending her second year of college and is majoring in civil engineering. She’s been swimming since she was a child and was on her highschool swim and water polo team. As well as her love for being a swim instructor she loves reading, painting, and running.  Water safety is important to her because when she was around the age of 8 a friend of hers pulled her under the water to support herself as she was struggling to swim. Luckily, everyone was okay but that experience led her to understand from an early age how important learning how to swim is.

Julia Mamone

Julia Mamone is from Astoria, Queens and has been swimming since she was nine years old. She swam in high school and at Hunter college. She recently graduated with her bachelors in human biology and is currently getting her masters in childhood special education at Hunter College.

Madison Ojeda

Madison Ojeda is a swim instructor who’s worked with children in music, the arts, and sports since early 2016. With experience in both classical and contemporary methods, she approaches teaching on a case by case basis, and believes in tailoring lessons based on individual learning styles. She dedicates her off time to figure skating and family, and is working towards passing her United States Figure Skating tests in order to compete in ladies singles.

Cera Perry

She is originally from Dallas, Texas, she swam competitively for six years and was captain of the swim team her senior year of high school. She is a Public Relations major at St. John’s University and a member of Phi Sigma Sigma. She’s always enjoyed swimming and teaching, having previous experience as a nanny and a student teacher. There’s a joy that comes with teaching children and she’s so honored that I have the opportunity to do so.

Nina Ryan

Nina. is CPR, AED, and First Aid certified by the American Heart Association. She swam competitively for 12 years and has a passion for the water. She loves being a swim instructor because she gets to continue to do what she loves and show others why she adores the activity of swimming so much. 

Danny Sanchez

Danny joined SwimJim as a lifeguard about two years ago and quickly moved up to becoming one of our lifeguard managers, so you may or may not have already seen Danny around the pool. Danny loves working with kids and making sure they are having a fun experience in the water. Danny’s passion for working with kids started when his little brother was born. Having the opportunity to help raise and teach his little brother new skills showed him how important it is to be a positive influence and role model. Danny hopes that he will help kids want to become strong swimmers in the future. Danny has a passion for swimming and water safety, which is why he decided to join SwimJim Team. We are excited that he was chosen to join the teaching team!

Cece Smith

Cece joined SwimJim’s team in August of 2021. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Pace University in Mental Health Counseling. Cece grew up spending her summers at the beach where she discovered her love of swimming and all things water. Originally from Maryland, she loves to spend her time outdoors running, hiking, and really anything that gets her outside! Cece loves working with people of all ages, and believes that water safety is one of the most valuable skills you can learn and she is excited to help anyone learn!

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.