Meet the instructors!
Wendy Lawrence: Wendy was born and raised in Asheville, NC and has been with the JCC aquatics program for two years now. She is a certified lifeguard through the American Red Cross, has completed the Water Safety Instruction Class (WSI) at American Red Cross, and is currently completing a certification with Swim Angelfish to enable her to work with children of all abilities and special needs in the lifelong development of comfort and safety in the water, as well as confidence and independence in recreational activities. In addition to working with kids in the water, Wendy holds an AAS Degree in Early Childhood Education and has over 20 years of experience in the classroom working with children from birth to high school.
Matt Cook: Matt grew up in Indianapolis and participated in the city’s dynamic competitive swimming culture. He swam for McDaniel College, a division 3 school, eventually becoming team captain. Matt was the assistant coach for a large age group swim team in Carol County, Maryland, and after moving to WNC, he became the YMCA’s Aquatics Director. Later, Matt started his own business, Newton Aquatics Incorporated, which provided swimming instruction and personal training. Teaching primary age children to swim led him to be a primary school educator at Carolina Day School in 2007. In 2017, Matt decided to focus on his life-long passions for swimming and training, and we are very excited to have Matt be a part of the JCC Aquatics program! Matt is available for private lessons for children and/or adults. He has experience with and a wiliness to work one-on-one with beginners as well as with advanced swimmers seeking to improve their stroke development.
Ann Sims: Ann, affectionately known by her students as “Mrs. Swims,” grew up in North Asheville and learned to swim in the Old Manor Pool, which was practically across Charlotte Street from the JCC. Swimming has been a big part of Ann’s life as she’s been an age-group swimmer, triathlete, master swimmer and coach. For 5 years Ann was the swim coach for the Country Club of Asheville. For 30 years, she was a nationally ranked masters swimmer, and for 25 years she has been a triathlon age-group competitor, placing on the All-American Team. Most recently in a 2018 triathlon, Ann placed 2nd in the nation in her age group. We are thrilled to have Ann join our JCC instructional aquatics staff; she is available for private instructions for both children and adults.
Springboard Diving, Thomas Gertsch: “I began my diving journey as a recreational diver trying tricks and flips without much attention to aesthetics, but a few years ago I wanted to take my skill to a higher level and began training with a masters diving program, and it has been incredible. I hope to bring my drive and interest in being a better diver to teaching others about diving and helping others grow in this sport. I have coached water sports including swimming and surfing and currently coach boys and girls gymnastics at Asheville Gymnastics. The wise coach knows the strengths and stretches of each athlete and provides each learner a customized plan of development. This is the diving coach I seek to be. The one who can teach these skills at the right time.”