Masters Swimming Coleaders

  • Name: Jennifer Cunningham
  • Years in Triathlon: 1 Year
  • Favorite Stroke: Freestyle
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I’m originally from Florida, so I grew up spending a lot of time in and around the water and started swimming competitively around the age of 10. I went on to swim at Denison University, where I was a distance freestyler. I’m new to triathlon, I just completed the 2016 NTP program, which I got involved in as a way to improve my running and biking.

  • Name: James Chu
  • Years in Triathlon: 6 Years
  • Favorite Stroke: Butterfly/Individual Medley
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I started swimming in Massachusetts in 3rd grade and pursued competitive swimming all through my grade school and high school years, going to state, regional and YWCA nationals. I returned to swimming after a long hiatus though triathlon and have enjoyed teaching swimmers the physics behind freestyle since 2015.

  • Name: Damon Bowe
  • Years in Swimming: 35 Years
  • Years in Triathlon: 9 Years
  • Swimming History: Damon Bowe, Ph.D., J.D. is a U.S. Masters Level III and Adult Learn to Swim certified coach and has helped lead the techniques clinic for DC Triathlon Club since 2015. Originally from South Louisiana, Damon attended Bates College in Lewiston, ME, where he was inducted to the Athletics Hall of Fame. As a two-year captain of the Bates Varsity Swimming & Diving Team, Damon led the team in points scored for all four seasons, setting school records in the 200 and 400 yards IM, the latter record standing for 19 years. Damon has competed at all levels of swimming, including the NCAA Championships. In triathlon, Damon has also participated at all levels of the sport, representing LSU at the collegiate level, and competing individually at USAT National Championships and the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI. His dream race is Ultraman Hawaii. Damon’s coaching philosophy is to find what drives each person and use that as a source of motivation for athletic achievement, while building a network of community within the team. Damon’s life passion is improving community health, which is directly related to coaching swimming. His professional background comprises expertise in breast cancer research including study at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, pharmaceutical drug development with Nobel Laureate Andrew Schally, CBRNE detection for US government and military, and development of intellectual property. As co-owner of Rose Physical Therapy Group with his wife Claire, Damon is working to improve community wellness. They live in Navy Yard.

Masters Swimming Coaches

  • Name: Claudia Blackburn
  • Years in Triathlon/Adventure Racing: 14 Years
  • Favorite Stroke: Freestyle
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I have been around water my entire life including sailing, white water kayaking, wave boarding, and swimming. I always thought I was a strong swimmer until I came dangerously close to drowning in a rip current; this led me to seek swim lessons. I developed my love for swimming in my mid 40s after entering a sprint triathlon wearing a wetsuit for water skiing. I enjoy longer distance swim races, and have participated in all triathlon and multistage distances. US Master Swim Coach (level 3), Adult-to-Learn, and, lifeguard certifications. Additional training in stroke development and Lifetime Master’s coach.

  • Name: Tom Colicchio
  • Years in Triathlon/Swimming: Too many to count
  • Favorite Stroke: Freestyle
  • Swimming/Coaching History: is an American celebrity chef. He co-founded the Gramercy Tavern in NYC and formerly served as a co-owner and as the executive chef. He is also the founder of Crafted Hospitality, which includes Craft, Riverpark, Fowler & Wells, Craftbar, Craftsteak, Beachcraft and Heritage Steak restaurants. Colicchio is the recipient of five James Beard Foundation awards for cooking accomplishments.

  • Name: Brenda Cordero
  • Years in Triathlon:  2.5 Years
  • Favorite/Specialty Stroke: Breaststroke
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I have swam for about 5 years previously before trying triathlons, and I started coaching with the D.C. Masters Swim Program in 2015 when I also joined the club and was doing NTP myself. I’ve learned a lot from many of the great coaches on staff and enjoy being able to give back to D.C. Tri.

  • Name: Katie Giles
  • Years in Triathlon: 1 Year
  • Favorite Stroke: Breaststroke
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I lived on a boat on the Chesapeake Bay as a baby-anyone who knows boats, the converted kitchen table makes for an excellent crib-moral of the story, I was actually swimming before I could walk. My older sister was on a swim team and I was kicked out of the baby pool for diving like she did into 1.5 foot deep water at age 18 months. The swim coach caught sight of me swimming around just before my 3rd birthday and asked me if I could swim 25 meters-voila, my swimming career began! I swam very competitively when I was young, later in life field sports took more of a priority and swimming began something I just did because what else are you supposed to do at a pool? In college during an aquatic soccer practice I realized how much I missed swimming competitively and joined the college team after a 6 year retirement. I swam freestyle and breaststroke at Gallaudet University earning conference records and being selected as a two-time two sport Academic All American. When I entered grad school, the only logical next step was to become the graduate assistant swim coach. During that same year I got into triathlons and when the opportunity to coach with DCTRI arose, I jumped on it!

  • Name: Marisa Harrington
  • Years in Triathlon: 3 Years (NTP class of 2014!)
  • Favorite Stroke: Backstroke
  • History: I lived the hard life of a Foreign Service kid and joined my first swim team around 5 years old in sunny Barbados. I swam competitively through high school and competed in the ISST Championships in Brussels, Belgium my senior year. I dusted off my cap and goggles when the tri bug hit me in 2014 and have been coaching with DC Tri MSP since 2015. My coaching goal is to help swimmers relax and let the mechanics of their stroke do the work for them.

  • Name: Tom Kish
  • Years in Swimming: I started swimming at age 5 and competed through college in 100/200 breaststroke and 50 free.
  • Favorite/Specialty Stroke: I love freestyle, but was built for breaststroke.
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I got hooked on triathlon in grad school and it took me 10 years to learn not to blow up on the swim leg. Qualified for 70.3 WC’s many moons ago  and finished IMLP 3x and IMChoo 1x. Loved learning so much from racing that I got my USAT coaching cert. to properly pass along my passion. Family vacations are usually based around a race of some sort.

  • Name: Daisy Letendre
  • Years in Triathlon/Swimming: Years in Triathlon: 2, Years in Swimming: 21
  • Favorite/Specialty Stroke: Breaststroke and Individual Medley
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I have been swimming competitively since the ripe old age of 5 going on to swim in both highschool and in college. After a year out of the pool post-college I decided it was time to get back in shape and looked to both running and masters swimming. I have competed in numerous road races and masters swim meets over the last four years and finally decided in 2016 that it was time to get a bike and become a triathlete. I have grown up in and around the pool and have taught and coached swimming since high school; I truly believe that helping individuals become stronger, more efficient swimmers leads to better overall triathlon performance. I have coached with the DC Tri Masters program since 2015.

  • Name: Catharine Myung
  • Years in Triathlon/Swimming: 6 Years
  • Favorite/Specialty Stroke: Doggy Paddle
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I started actually swimming swimming (aka more then swimming up to a pool bar) when I started triathlons. I was unhappy with the masters programs that were being offered in the area for swimmers that learned to swim as an adult and started the DC Tri Club Masters Swim Programs to address that need. You know what they say – those that can’t do, teach. But I am USMS level 2 certified coach and enjoying teaching adult triathletes that they can also be swimmers.

  • Name: Kimberly Orsulak
  • Years in Swimming: 17 Years
  • Favorite Stroke: Freestyle
  • Swimming/Coaching History:  I started working with swimmers since 2000, focused first on teaching children to swim and stroke refinement before transitioning to adults in 2007.  I’ve been a part of D.C. Tri’s Masters Swim program since spring 2014.

  • Name: Emerson Padiernos
  • Years in Triathlon: 9 Years
  • Favorite Stroke: Freestyle
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I hate writing bios but I got into triathlons in 2009, but I’ve been racing running events for years. Since then I’m often seen on deck coaching mornings and swimming at Wilson in the evenings. When I’m not training for a race, I’m often found on the volleyball court injuring myself. I always injure myself. I also like cats. Meow!

  • Name: David Payne
  • Years in Triathlon: 6 Years
  • Favorite Stroke: Freestyle. Though learning a new fondness for breaststroke.
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I’m an “adult onset swimmer” who basically learned how to swim when I began NTP through DC Tri Club in 2011. I spent a lot of time in the pool, watching videos online, and getting yelled at by other coaches to work on technique and learn what good technique consists of. I began coaching with the DCTC Masters program in late 2013.

  • Name: Beth Plewa
  • Years in Triathlon: 4 Years
  • Favorite/Specialty Stroke: Freestyle long distance- love to swim 1000 straight, especially when someone else is counting!
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I started swimming as a freshman in high school, and more than anything really came to enjoy swim instructing, which is why I love clinics, and working with our beginners.  There are so many ways that proper swimming technique can make stronger in the water, such as strong streamline and flip turns- ask for tips anytime!

  • Name: Liana Rosen
  • Years in Triathlon: Too many!
  • Favorite Stroke: I ♥ all strokes!
  • Swimming/Coaching History: Swimming was the gateway sport that lured Liana into the triathlon world. She swam competitively as a kid on both club and varsity teams and was captain of her high school swimming and diving team. Liana picked up cycling in college and after too many years of simply dabbling in the separate disciplines, she decided to put them together and join the DC Tri Club. Liana views coaching for the DC Tri Club’s masters swim program as a way to give back to the DC triathlon community. Through coaching, she hopes to share her passion for the water and develop a new generation of lifelong swimmers!

  • Name: Katie Tobin
  • Years in Triathlon: 5 of actually training, 7 if you count the dabbles
  • Favorite/Specialty Stroke: Breaststroke! Plus anything open water or evoking water polo
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I swam competitively in elementary, middle, and high school, burning out after hitting the 20 hour/week mark at age 15. I couldn’t stay away from the water, though, and kept swimming for fun and played water polo in the Swiss national league as an exchange student. I joined DC Tri Club Masters when it first started in late 2011 and began coaching in 2012. I enjoy helping triathletes learn to stop worrying and love the swim.

  • Name: Laurie Wei
  • Years in Triathlon/Swimming: Triathlon: 1 Year; Swimming: 13 Years
  • Favorite/Specialty Stroke: Butterfly, IM
  • Swimming/Coaching History: I started swimming competitively when I was 9 and swam all throughout grade school, high school and college. I did my first triathlon in 2015 and was hooked ever since. I also enjoy coaching swimming for triathletes and have been a coach here at DC Tri since 2016.