MEET OUR STAFF
Approximately 15 years ago, I began weight lifting and fitness training to improve my athletic abilities in various sports. I loved the results I experienced. My curiosity in the world of fitness overwhelmed me so I began researching body mechanics. My research led me to the term “Kinesiology” which is the study of body movement. During this time, my passion for fitness flourished. I thrive on watching my clients reach their goals. In addition to the use of Psychology, biomechanics, exercise physiology, and motor learning I am able to create unique exercise routines based on individual goals, values, and abilities. My philosophy is to help others achieve excellence through education, aspiration, and living without regret.
- American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer
- Bachelor’s of Exercise Science & Health Promotion from Pacific Lutheran University
As your wellness and fitness professional, my aspiration is to foster an environment of empowerment and enjoyment for people of all ages and abilities. My passion for wellness is displayed by the lifestyle I lead and encourage. I enjoy experimenting with cooking, hiking in the Pacific Northwest and spending time with my three German Shepherds. My scientific background combined with my infectious passion for wellness will make our journey a truly rewarding experience unlike any other imaginable. If you can dream it, my passion and dedication to your health and fitness goals will guarantee success! For more information on how other’s JUST LIKE YOU have changed their life, read my client testimonials available at the front desk!
- Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion California University of Pennsylvania
- Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science Pacific Lutheran University
- National Academy of Sports Medicine: Corrective Exercise Specialist, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Women’s Fitness Specialist, Weight Loss Fitness Specialist, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Golf Fitness Specialist
- American Fitness Professional Association Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist
As an Olympia native and graduate of Capital High School I have a special place in my heart for impacting the Olympia community. After graduating from the University of Montana I was drawn to a career in the health and fitness industry after working in a hospital for a short time. I saw first hand the health struggles that were facing our society and wanted to work proactively to help people get the most out of their health and life. I have been blessed to enjoy an active life through the support of my family and want to share that experience with others. I love participating in winter and water sports as well as playing and coaching volleyball. Outside of the gym I enjoy spending time with my husband, friends, and family, cooking, crafting, and expanding my knowledge of fitness and nutrition.
- B.A. Psychology, Minor Communication Studies, University of Montana, Missoula CPT
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
My life as an athlete began when I was very young. When I was 11, I trained for hours every day to compete and medal on a national level in Tae Kwan Do. From there I competed as a swimmer in junior high and high school. Currently, I train in ballet and work as a contract dancer in contemporary dance and ballet throughout the Pacific Northwest. I am a Certified Fitness Trainer by the International Sports Sciences Association. I am also a certified YogaFit instructor with a personal yoga practice that spans two decades. In 2016, I became certified in Tai Ji Qwan: Moving for Better Balance. I have an integrated and practical approach to fitness and health. For me, training and movement are very therapeutic. It is essential to have a goal to work toward whether it is training for an event, cross training to improve upon your sport, or to lose a few pounds and gain muscle mass, to increasing flexibility and strength for a better quality of life.
Nutrition Coach & Personal Trainer
Tricia is a health and lifestyle coach that works with individuals and/or groups on how to reach your health goals, including stress reduction, losing weight, increasing energy and improving confidence. As a coach, she accomplishes this by supporting you with your food and lifestyle choices. Tricia has been a Group Fitness Instructor here at the Valley for eight years. She is also a mother of two children and has been married for almost 20 years. She has had close family and friends that have had major diseases that have either taken their life or has seen how food and lifestyle choices can extend their life. With these different aspects of her life, she has always had an interest in health and nutrition and enjoyed sharing this knowledge with family and friends. Tricia decided to increase her knowledge and learn, in a formal training program, how to live a better life through eating well and taking care of herself and family. She is not only learning to improve her life, but received very detailed and careful instruction on how to coach others around food and lifestyle choices. It’s an exciting time! Tricia looks forward to sharing more with you and all the benefits of this work. She invites you to a free health history consultation to have the opportunity to support you to create a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.
- Health Coach Institute of Integrative Nutrition
- Group Fitness Instructor Instructor in LesMills BodyPump, BodyCombat, CXWORX, BodyStep, BodyJam, BodyAttack and BodyFlow
Nelson is a self-described “people-person.” He pursued his degree and personal training certification with the desire and goal of helping people. He focuses on helping people improve their lives through achieving their health and fitness levels. He domonstrates exercises to prevent knee, shoulder, and back injuries, along with working with diabetic and special needs clients.
- International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) Certified Personal Trainer
- ISSA Trained Guide to Diabetes Type 1 & 2
- ISSA Specialist in Performance Nutrition
- ISSA Sports Safety Trained
- A.A Sports & Fitness Management
Dana believes in making the most of TODAY! She is a definite go getter who makes sure her clients succeed at whatever fitness goal they have set for themselves. Dana was born and raised in Ellensburg Washington, so naturally she completed her college education at Central Washington University! There she earned a B.A. degree in Biology and a minor in Athletic Training. Whether you are a beginner or a conditioned athlete, Dana can make sure you maximize your results with the time you have. Dana’s health and fitness experience started with teaching a variety of group exercise classes at her local gym. Some other highlights include working as a fitness specialist for a corporate fitness center, nutrition counseling for a women’s fitness center, and manager for a vitamin supplement store. Dana has also competed in about 7 bodybuilding/figure shows. She definitely knows how to make your goals become a reality! Challenge yourself and come get a workout from Dana TODAY!
- B.A. in Biology & Athletic Training
- A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
- VTS CPT TRX Suspension Certified
I have personally experienced the positive, life-changing benefits of making fitness a key part of my lifestyle. It has changed my life and I want to pay it forward. I’m innovative and think outside the “workout” box. I’ll work with clients to create individual exercise plans that are challenging and fun! My areas of expertise include TRX Suspension training, core and balance, HIT training, and youth fitness. My hobbies include cooking and spending time with my family, which usually includes a big, yearly road trip.
- Les Mills BodyStep
- ISSA Personal Trainer
- TRX Suspension Certified
Sonja was born in Texas and grew up in Germany as a military dependent where she learned to speak fluent German. She graduated from CWU in 1990 with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology and shortly after began her internship at The Valley where she has been ever since. She felt at home as soon as she walked in the door. It’s the heart-warming aspect of training that Sonja loves most, seeing so many life long conections made as we get fitter, happier and wiser! Sonja works with all age groups with emphasis on stretching, good form when exercising, and cardiovascular conditioning. She has a background in nurition and learned much when she competed in bodybuilding contests in the past. She’s an avid runner and has a very special place in her heart for all animals.
- A.C.E Certified Personal Trainer
- B.S Exercise Physiology Central Washington University
- VTS CPT
The book “Pumping Iron” was Swede’s inspiration at age 11 to begin the trip down Iron Lane. He spent many years developing his strength in body and mind to become a formidable power-lifting competitor. He is a four-time and current State Champion and holds numerous regional and state records including an impressive 600 lb bench press. You couldn’t meet a gentler person than Swede. Swede enjoys working with a variety of clients, from the high school athlete looking to improve his or her performance to the weekend warrior just looking to get into shape. He employs a variety of training methods, specializing in compound movements and plyometrics to increase his client’s strength and power.
- ACE Certified Personal Trainer
- IFPA Certified Personal Trainer
- National Fitness Personal Trainer VTS CPT
Fitness is my passion and I thrive on finding new ideas and concepts that encourage others and myself to be healthier and fitter. I believe in being efficient and effective in my approach to designing personal training programs for my clients customizing them for results to meet each client’s individual needs and goals. I believe exercise should be fun, challenging and well rounded.
Angela grew up in Seattle swimming and ice skating and has spent the last 15 years in Shelton. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Business and Accounting from Evergreen State College and has a diverse marketing and customer service background. She has two children and enjoys hiking, dancing, running, martial arts and hanging out with friends and family. She has continued to expand her fitness experience for the past 10+ years and continues to expand her education as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer.
I vividly remember what it’s like to start a new exercise program and to be 30-40 pounds’ overweight as I was for many years. I also know how good it feels to never give up and to continue to progressively improve one’s level of fitness. Exercise is amazing medicine and the natural anti-ager. One of my favorite quotes from Joseph Pilates “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. In order to achieve happiness, it is imperative to gain mastery of your body. If at the age of 30 you are stiff and out of shape, you are old. If at 60 you are supple and strong then you are young.”
- ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
- NETA Pilates Certified
- AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional
- Zumba, Les Mills Sprint, & VTS
I have worked as a personal trainer and fitness manager for a little over two years in the Olympia and Seattle area, although my friends and family might say they have been subjected to my torture since I was quite small. My inability to sit still and competitive spirit are what originally landed me in the fitness world, but my real passion began when I discovered how I could help others to become excited about their own fitness. Toward the end of my study at Western Washington University, I took a course in personal training and was immediately enthralled. Soon after, I became certified through the American Counsel on Exercise and the rest was history. I was raised in Olympia and was a member of the Valley for a long time, and I feel honored to be a part of such a talented team and a wonderful community of people. Being a personal trainer has been a very rewarding career thus far, and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many people and help them to achieve their goals, and most importantly have fun in the process. Though my formal education ended years ago, my goal is to never stop learning; that is how I feel I can best teach others.
- ACE Certified Personal Trainer
- NCSF Certified Personal Trainer
- Boot Camp Instructor
- Bachelors in Community Health from Western Washington University
I grew up in Olympia where I graduated from Black Hills High School and attended South Puget Sound Community College where I earned my Associates Degree in 2007. Throughout my childhood, my passion for sports and fitness was expressed through an assortment of athletics including football, basketball, and track and field. I attained my personal training certification in 2008 through N.F.P.T. and have been working at L.A. Fitness as a personal trainer for 3 years. My enthusiasm for living a healthy lifestyle and compassion for people has formed committed bonds with my clients as we work together as a team. My humorous personality and promise to fit my client needs will allow my clients to feel accomplished, satisfied, and confident in their level of fitness. I have had the pleasure of working for a diverse range of clients including young male and females yearning for improvement in a specific sport or just to educate themselves on how to stay fit. Also, men and women with a plethora of needs including injuries,weight loss, fitness competitions, medical needs, and also to educate themselves on how to stay fit. My goal as a trainer is to improve the quality of life with every one of my clients, and to ensure that every personal goal is being addressed.
- N.F.P.T. (National Federation of Personal Trainers)
- Fire Fighter 1
- CPR Certified
- Developing Agility and Quickness
- Strength Training Anatomy
- USAPL 148lb Weight Class Bench Press WA State Record Holder
Nutrition Coach & Personal Trainer
My passion for health and fitness began at a young age, in a family that stayed active gardening and hiking with our Labradors. This was later fueled by a love for sports: basketball, fastpitch softball and volleyball, all of which I played throughout my childhood. Basketball was my true passion and first love. I played at Pullman High School then continued for four years at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, ID. I was involved with basketball camps and coaching youth basketball, but it wasn’t until late in my college education that I realized my passion for helping others reach their health and fitness goals. My friends, who were subject to my workouts, and my exercise prescription professor encouraged me to pursue personal training. Although I’m new to the area, I’m quickly growing fond of Olympia and Tumwater and I am incredibly excited and honored to be a member of the team at The Valley. I believe that to have long term success, we have to keep it fresh and fun. An important part of health and fitness is new research and exciting developments that I aim to bring back to you, right here at The Valley. My philosophy on helping you get results is one that includes making improvements that will facilitate lifestyle habits to ensure long term results. Your goals are within reach; let’s work towards them together!
- National Academy of Sports Medicine CPT
- Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Lewis-Clark State College
- Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM
- Behavior Change Specialist, NASM
Growing up in Olympia, my parents taught me to be active and enjoy outdoor activities. This translated into playing sports throughout school. I started training college athletes as a college athlete myself, working with the training staff at my first university as a trainer and instructor. After school, and a Bachelors degree, I had the opportunity to move around the United States and to Europe while being a military spouse. Moving to Europe, I was a contractor working to improve the health and fitness of all active duty Army personnel, spouses and civilians living abroad throughout Europe in every single post; as well as aiding in the recovery and reintegration of Wounded Warriors while working closely to stand up the first Army Wellness Center to support their transition.
- Bachelor of Arts, Arizona State University
- Masters in Business Administration, University of Phoenix
- Personal Training Certification, National Foundation of Personal Training
- Les Mills Certifications: BODYPUMP ™ BODYSTEP ™ BODYCOMBAT ™ BODYATTACK ™ SPRINT ™ RPM ™ CXWORX ™ BODYFLOW ™ BODYJAM ™ SH’BAM ™
- TRX, BOSU, BUMP- Pre/Post Natal (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology), Heart Zones
- Oiselle sponsored runner/athlete
- USA Track and Field Level 1 Coach
Mind & Body Instructors
Yoga & Pilates Instructor
Kari has been working in the fitness industry since 1985. A strong dance/cheer background growing up hooked her on fitness classes when she turned 18. She started teaching group fitness classes at Western Washington University and has continued over the past two decades. During that time, Kari spent 5 years teaching in the classroom before opening her own Scrapbook Store in 1997. She also returned to the Valley in 1997 as a group fitness instructor with a focus on Yoga. Kari’s passion for fitness is contagious and she is eager to see members attend classes and enjoy the group dynamic that a fitness class brings! Kari’s keen awareness of the abilities and limitations of participants helps Valley members become physically able to achieve their goals. Her focus is strength from the inside out- core training as well as a good amount of cardio to keep the heart healthy. Joint mobility, flexibility and balance are all areas that need focus to maintain health and Kari wants to help members stay strong while improving range of movement.
I jumped into Bodyflow as my first instructional training for Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi, but soon discovered that wasn’t enough. I began studying yoga all the time, attending retreats, advanced instruct tor modules, becoming certified in the fitness based “YogaFit” training system and I am now working towards my Yoga Alliance certification through “Go Deeper” training. Yet one of my biggest accomplishments in learning asanas, is the release of trying to fit my body into the postures the way I see them in magazines or the yoga books. I’m learning to let the postures and breath serve my body so that I can cultivate my mind and spirit, and In essence “rediscovering” myself every day. No, every moment. As an adult coming into yoga not being able to touch my toes or lift up into a wheel and maybe never getting into scorpion pose, I understand the struggles that getting into a “pretzel” can cause, not just physically but mentally. It takes courage to step into your first yoga class, or face plant onto your mat and get back up to try again. It takes patience and acceptance to advance from where you are today to where you are going tomorrow. And I also believe it takes a lot of strength to connect with who we truly are and let go of “how or who we should be” to just feel good.
Hi there, my name is Yomalix. I am a young adult full of dreams and big hopes. Two of my biggest hopes are as I get older to never forget where my roots came from and who I am, to never stop appreciating the people who helped me get where I am today. I have a passion working with others and building relationships. I learned a lot about myself in high school, especially when I joined the high school’s dance team. While my senior year in high school I took a training for BodyJam (a hip hop class) and got certified as a LesMills instructor at 17 years old. I began to teach at the Valley Athletic Club. Soon enough I graduated from high school and began to work. All the while, my interest as a yoga instructor grew bigger and bigger. I took a mind and body training course at The Valley and got certified. I also took a training through the 8 Limbs of Yoga school and that got me to where I am, RYT 200 certified. Yoga has been big part of my life. I want to keep doing yoga for my own good.
When I was 20, I journeyed on my own to India for 6 months, found a teacher named Swami Santhi Prasad, and through his instruction became a serious meditator and a certified yoga teacher. Santhi’s teaching gave me a well-rounded education about various traditions throughout yogic history, the majority of which are meditation techniques and unlike much of what we see in the West. It was an in credible experience that deepened my relationship to Life. My journey as a yoga teacher began in 2010 with programs I created for adolescents and children. I’ve been teaching hatha yoga classes to adults regularly since last spring. In designing my classes, I draw from many styles, especially the alignment principles of Iyengar and Anusara Yoga. This past summer I became certified at the 500-hour level with Nathan Hayes of Living Spirit Yoga, which really expanded my knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and this science complemented what I had learned in India really nicely. This training also helped me to fully step into a teaching role, and to stay earnest and excited in my \continuous study and practice.
“The art of Pilates is looking at the body and knowing the most direct way to address it”
This is how Holly approaches each and every session with her clients. She provides an individually tailored, balanced, full body workout. What Holly loves about Pilates is that literally every body can benefit from it! Her goals for her clients include core strength, flexibility, mobility, and muscular balance. She treats every client’s body based on its uniqueness and tailors the workout to not only enhance the body’s strengths, but also to address specific injuries and limitations. Holly’s attention to detail and alignment provide a safe and effective means for recovering from and
dealing with injury.
Holly also values the versatility of this method. Pilates can provide a very balanced and gentle way to strengthen the body, yet also provides specific vigorous training to give the advanced athlete an edge. Holly enjoys pushing her clients and watching them enjoy the gains in their strength and flexibility. She teaches and encourages her client’s own body awareness. This is a valuable skill they can take and apply toward other sports and activities. Holly began her own Pilates practice 8 years ago. She discovered it as a means to cross train for long distance running. She was hooked after she saw gains in her speed and endurance. She also found extreme value in the muscular balance it provided her body and the body awareness it provided her mind. Muscular balance and body awareness are key to injury prevention. Holly has been teaching Pilates at the Valley since 2013. She holds a 500 hour comprehensive apparatus and mat certification from BASI Pilates and a springboard certification from Core Kinetics.
Yoga & Pilates Instructor
Mike holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from The Evergreen State College and works as an Environmental Engineer for the Department of Defense specializing in public health. After twenty years of extensive travel and working in austere environments Mike was searching for a way to be committed to health and well-being when he discovered Pilates. As an engineer Mike was lured by the symbiotic relationship of art and science in BASI Pilates methodology and decided to pursue his Teacher Training. In addition to his civil service and Pilates practice, Mike has published articles on environmental contamination and established first ascent rock climbs at Frenchman Coulee, Vantage, Washington.
Head Tennis Pro
As a tennis professional it is my belief that players of all ages, experiences and backgrounds can have a positive challenging experience. I will bring out the best in you by teaching you fundamentals, strategy, and drills designed to improve your game. But most importantly, I will help you achieve your goals in the tennis world.
- USPTA Pro Certified for over 10 years
- #1 Singes Player at PLU 2000
- Ranked Top 10 in Singles in Pacific Northwest
- Ranked Top 3 in Doubles in Pacific Northwest
- 5.0 Team Sectionals Qualifier
- Competitive Training Coach for top ranked juniors
Thomas has enjoyed a life-long love of tennis beginning in the early 1970’s. His engaging and creative teaching has made him successful in private instruction with juniors and adults in the Yelm/Rainier area, including his own children and step-children, one of whom is now playing College Club-level tennis at CWU as well as open tennis tournaments. His love, skill and enthusiasm for teaching people of all ages and abilities has made the experience inspiring and enjoyable for all his students. While encouraging focus, technique and discipline with a valuable sense of fun, Thomas always creates a well-rounded approach to learning, instilling the love of the game in all who work with him.
- Played Junior Tournaments in San Diego and Junior College Tennis
- Former Assistant Tennis Instructor at the Aspen Club
- Participated in the Vic Braden Tennis College
- Former Assistant Tennis Instructor at the Valley Athletic Club with head pro Briscoe Eisendrath
- Assisted tennis pro Doug Ruffin with tennis summer camps at North Thurston High School & Valley Athletic Club
- Attended National Championship in Tucson
- Former Assistant Coach at both North Thurston and Yelm High Schools.
Throughout my career as a tennis pro hundreds of different players have stepped on to my court and every single one of them has been different. Each individual has their own way of learning and developing. Each individual has their own way of being motivated to be better. My passion is to discover these ways so that we can work together towards achieving your goals on and off the tennis court.
- Certified through the Professional Tennis Registry(PTR)
- Received full athletic scholarship to play Division 1 tennis at Appalachian State University
- Selected and served as team captain for back to back NCAA seasons
- Top ranked at the state, sectional, & national level for entire junior career (1998-2008)
- Coached many national ranked & high performance juniors
- Coached numerous adult players and leagues through USTA sectionals
Alice has been a member of The Valley Athletic Club for more than 30 years. She works out at the club 5 days a week and plays tennis 5 days a week. Her USTA experience includes; winning sectional championships seven times and going to Nationals twice, winning national championship once, and second place once. She has played on women’s flights for several years. Before retiring, Alice worked in banking for 20 years. She has lived in several states and Tokyo, Japan for 3 years. She was born in Indiana and has been a resident of Washington since 1966.
After an 18 year hiatus I took up tennis again in 2010 and it’s become my passion. I have since been studying under Hao Nguyen. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor and teacher. I have learned and help teach the ins and outs of singles and doubles play, court awareness and stroke analysis. I am very excited about being part of the team of pros at the VAC and look forward to seeing you all on the courts.
Karan grew up a Badminton and Soccer player, but after moving to WA in 2013 he didn’t get to play any of it. He decided to pick Tennis as his game at Valley and started to love it because of its dynamic nature, the social aspect of meeting amazing people and developing positive personal characteristics. Since then it has become his passion to get better in the game. He has greatly appreciated his fellow comates/teachers Hao, Loi and Mario and all his friends who have guided and helped him become better in the game. He feels he couldn’t ask for better mentors and tennis friends. Karan is very excited about being a part of tennis team at the VAC and looks forward to seeing you all on the courts.
As a swim instructor, I believe it is important to teach a child both to have fun and respect the water. My teaching approach includes a balance of games and fun along with working hard to develop skills. I believe I am a more effective instructor as I come to personally know your child and his/her interests outside of swimming to enhance my teaching approach. As a mother of two little boys, I know the value of mixing laughter, fun and work in building a good relationship. My hope is that your child will leave a private lesson with me excited about water and swimming. While I am certified to teach all levels, my personal strength is Preschool through level 3. I have been teaching swim lessons at The Valley Athletic Club since October of 2014. In November 2015 I obtained the American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor (WSI) certification.
I have always been in and around the water from a very early age, having taken swim lessons myself from the age of 2…moving from swim fundamentals on through competitive swimming in high school and beyond. In many ways, water has always influenced me and my career decisions in my life, first in the Coast Guard and now as a maritime archaeologist, diver, and historian. As the father of two rambunctious boys, I felt it was important to teach them not only how to enjoy the water and have fun, but also how to be safe and respect it. I do my best to focus on those same ideas while teaching at the Valley, regardless of age.
American Red Cross USA Swimming Certified Instructor
In-house Valley Teaching Certification
All ages, beginners to adults, competitive swimming
I have been teaching swim lessons for nearly a decade and am a certified Elementary Teacher. I have been recently going through the Valley instructor certification training. I believe in adjusting the lesson to the need of each swimmer in order to provide them with the best advantage possible. I am comfortable teaching all levels and ages. I am not only a certified teacher, but have recently graduated with my Computer Science Degree from the University of Washington in Tacoma.
I’ve been a swim instructor since 2009, and have worked with a wide range of children. I teach 8th grade Social Studies at Tumwater Middle School. I feel I’m best with students that are levels 2, 3, and 4. I have an outgoing personality, but am able to work with all temperaments, including those that may have special needs. If you’re seeking a swim instructor that can assist your child in finding confidence in the water, I can definitely help!
I’m married to my awesome husband, and I’m a mother of two young boys and a stepmother to my daughter. I enjoy being active and learning new skills. In 2012, I completed my first sprint triathlon, and it was a great experience! Since then, I’ve completed two more triathlons. Currently, I teach level 1 and 2 here at The Valley, as well as Tiny Tot Sports Class. I also enjoy participating in a preschool co-op with other moms to get our children ready for kindergarten. I truly enjoy watching my young students learn and grow. It gives me great satisfaction as they gain the confidence to do things they had previously thought too scary or difficult.
I’ve been working at The Valley since July of 2013. In April of 2014, I obtained my WSI certification and have been teaching group and private lessons ever since! I have the skills and abilities to teach any age or level range, but my strengths are in levels 1 through 4. My goal is to create a path to success for my swimmers by teaching them lifelong skills and safety while also having fun and enjoying the water. Teaching swim lessons is more than just a job, it allows me to do what I love and what I’m passionate about: Working with kids, making a difference, and helping others grow!
I love teaching swim lessons because I believe swimming is one of the most fun and necessary skills a child can learn. Teaching kids the safety and basics of swimming is exciting to me. I love to be active and spend time playing baseball with my 3 kids. When I’m not swimming, I enjoy volunteering at the elementary school and teaching piano lessons in my home.
My name is Dustin Howell, I graduated from Olympia high school in the year 2016 and have been working at the Valley as a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor ever since. I believe that learning to swim is best accomplished with a combination of having fun and being safe. I’ve been swimming for as long as I can remember and I can’t wait to share my knowledge with anyone who is willing to learn.
I have been an employee of The Valley since July of 2013 and started teaching swim lessons in September of 2016. I have competitively swam and trained since the age of 10 with the Evergreen Swim Club and later the Capital High school swim team. There I competed the state championship 3 out of my 4 years on the team. I later swam for the Western Washington University swim club where I competed around the Pacific Northwest and qualified for the USMS national championship. With my years of training and experience, I specialize at fine tuning and adjusting strokes, relating easily to kids and adults wanting that competitive edge. What I love most about teaching is watching progression over time, sharing what I have learned with others, and seeing students develop of a love for the sport.
I am thrilled to have recently joined The Valley Athletic Club as a Preschool and Parent Tot swim instructor. As a former competitive swimmer, K-12 teacher, and a parent, this is the perfect opportunity to combine my skills. By watching my five-year-old daughter learn to swim, I have learned the importance of trusting the process, from the beginning stages of having fun and learning to respect the water, to the day when she finally took her first strokes and did something that actually looked like swimming! It is truly a joy to watch someone learn a life-saving skill, and I am excited to be part of the process with your child. I believe my patience and my interest in making each lesson both fun and appropriately challenging are some of my strongest attributes. As a teacher, I value the importance of open communication with families and I look forward to working together to help your child learn to swim. I am certified in all levels. In my free time I enjoy playing with my daughter and 1.5 year old son, running with my husband, and teaching/tutoring Spanish to all ages.
I have been working at the Valley since August 2016. All of my life I have loved swimming and helping other people. As a swim teacher, I think that it is important to teach kids to love the water as well as develop lifelong swimming abilities. It is my goal that every child I teach has fun, learns useful skills, and learns to love the water in a way that will encourage them to swim throughout their lives. I am qualified to teach every level. But, I mostly teach 1, 2, and 3. I am currently a high-school student enrolled in the running start program. I am planning on transferring to a four-year college in order to obtain a BA in Business Administration.
I have always been around water- as a competitive swimmer through college and as a swim teacher since high school. I love coaching swimmers as well as working with beginner level preschool students. I like to teach kids to use the water for play and fitness and think it is as important to learn to do a handstand in the water as it is to dive from the side! I have been a Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor since 1990- and I have worked at the Valley since 2003. I have coached high school and college swimmers and in my “other life” I have been a high school Teacher Librarian and teacher trainer for over 21 years.