MEET OUR COACHES
Ashley Vranick, Head Coach
Ashley started swimming at a young age and was on numerous teams throughout her childhood including; clubs, YMCA, and high school teams. She became a lifeguard and swim instructor at sixteen and realized then how much of an impact she could be with others in and around the water. " I have taught many individuals over the past and have seen first hand what kind of obstacles can be in someone’s way when entering the water. Some have physical or mental obstacles, but I realized that everyone is different and with patience, care, and knowledge of swimming anyone can achieve their own goals in swimming", Coach Ashley said. Ashley was the Sea Dragons Assistant coach in 2015-2016 and prior to that Ashley was given the opportunity to be an assistant coach of the Mon Valley YMCA Sharks ten and under program for two years. "This was a great experience and met some really great kids and parents along the way."
Ashley's time teaching and coaching at Mon Valley YMCA made her realized that she wanted to continue teaching and helping others achieve goals that they might not think are possible. Ashley attended California University of Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in General Education with a Psychology Minor plus a Bachelor’s Degree in History. She is currently certified in CPR, First Aid, Emergency Oxygen, Level One YMCA Swim Official, and YMCA lifeguard.
Ashley continues to swim and compete on her own with the Sewickley Y Masters team. During the summer she compete in triathlons and just completed her first Olympic Triathlon this August. She has great love for swimming and the YMCA and looks forward to helping each and every child love the water like she does , "so they can take swimming with them for the rest of their lives too".
Paula Kwalick, Aquatic Coordinator, 8 and Under Coach
Paula Kwalick is the Sewickley Valley YMCA Aquatic Coordinator. Her 13 years of experience includes coaching at USA Swimming, Montour Aqua Club, Moon Area Aqua Club, and Sea Dragon, Novice Coach. Paula attended CCAC and participates in continuing education through USA Swimming and YMCA of the USA. Paula is passionate about teaching every child to swim which adds to the quality and experience of Sea Dragons Swim Team. Paula feels that learning to swim is as important as getting a vaccine – it’s lifesaving. Additionally, swim team teaches children time management, good sportsmanship, goal setting and responsibility. Paula believes that swim team also keeps kids engaged and healthy into their teens and through adulthood. Paula enjoys working for the Y because it gives her the opportunity to grow in her profession. “ It’s very rewarding knowing that I’m helping people to reach their goals through programs that I teach. In swim team, there is nothing better than the smile on a child’s face when they have accomplished something for the first time –diving from the block, swimming a new event, cutting time or winning their first race” said Paula.
Amber Miller, Assistant Swimming Coach
The 2016-17 swim season will be Amber’s first year coaching the Sea Dragons. Previously, she served as a volunteer and assistant coach for the Woodland Swim Team, located at the Woodland Swim Club in Edgeworth. In 2016, she took the helm of the team as head coach. In her first year, the team won several dual meets, broke multiple team records, and achieved numerous personal best times. The team is comprised of kids aged 4 to 17 of a variety of swimming backgrounds and skill levels.
Amber is a coach at the YMCA because she believes that athletics help to instill the values of the organization. Respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring are virtues which can be gained from the sportsmanship, competition, and teamwork that comprises athletics. It is also extremely rewarding to help kids meet their swimming goals, from learning a new stroke to winning a race.
Swimming became a part of Amber’s life when she started competing on the Woodland Swim Team at 7 years old. She also competed for the Sewickley YMCA Sea Dragons and Pine-Richland Aquatics. Amber was captain of the Quaker Valley High School Swim Team, where she was a 4-year WPIAL qualifier. She moved on to swim collegiately for Washington & Jefferson College. For the Presidents, Amber was an 11-time Presidents Athletic Conference Finalist. She was also chosen as a captain and named to the Presidents Athletic Conference Academic Honor Roll.
Amber is a 2016 graduate of Washington & Jefferson College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is currently a graduate student in the Chatham University Master of Science in Counseling Psychology program. Although her swimming career has come to an end, Amber is still passionate about staying involved in the sport through coaching. Outside of the pool, she is studying to be a licensed counselor because she is passionate about helping others overcome their problems.