Elena Podolsky came to Canada in 1990, bringing with her a degree in Physical Education from the University of Moscow and 8 years of expertise as Head Coach at the Central School of Sport Excellence in Moscow.
Elena coached at OSSC from 1990-1998. Duringthese years she coached many teams who were successful at a National level. In 1998 Elena became the head coach of Synchro Optima where she coached her swimmers to 1st place wins at Ontario Winter Games and National Competitions. Elena returned to OSSC in 2005. While coaching with OSSC Elena has had numerous swimmers named to the 13 – 15 and Junior National Teams as well as Provincial teams over the years, 1st placed team at Nationals in 2007, 2nd placed team in 2006 and 3rd place in 2005.
Elena has a NCCP Level 4 Qualification and continues to participate in Professional Development Courses to update and enhance her coaching experience. In 1996 Elena won the Susan Eon Trophy as the most promising new Coach in Canada and in 2001 she was runner-up for the p
restigious 3M Coaching Canada Award. In 2012 she was awarded the Charlotte Tutte-Eyres Trophy. This trophy is awarded to a coach who reflects the philosophy of Charlotte Tutte, in developing Team spirit and enhancing growth of athletes as individuals and competitors. Over the years, Elena has made tremendous contributions to the sport of synchronized swimming, including the design and implementation of new training programs which she has shared with athletes and coaches from a number of different countries around the world including Australia, Cuba, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Malaysia and Slovakia.
Coach, Mermaid School Supervisor
Samantha Kowalski is currently in her 11th year of coaching with 5 of those years being with Waterloo Synchro. Samantha started swimming at the age of 10. The highlight of her career was winning a silver medal for Team Ontario at the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon. She also competed at the 2007 Spanish Open and the 2008 US Open taking home a silver medal in the team event at both competitions. As an athlete, she has travelled to numerous parts of the world to train or compete; some of those places include Spain, California, Florida, Las Vegas, B.C, and Ohio.
Since 2011, Samantha has been a fully certified level 3 coach (Comp-Dev) and has coached both provincial and national stream programs. This has allowed her to gain knowledge as well as confidence to be a successful coach in the competitive world of Synchronized Swimming. She consistently coaches athletes to draw their best performance and reach the podium, qualify for national level competitions and has had multiple athletes qualify for Team Ontario programs each season. She has over 100 medals under her coaching belt with approximately half of those being gold.
In 2012, Samantha was hired as one of the 10 and Under Team Squad coaches for a training camp in Etobicoke, Ontario. She was also named the 13-15 Provincial Team coach in 2013 and in 2014, she was the 11-12 Provincial Team Coach who travelled to Riverside California to compete at UANA. In 2012 and 2014 her team’s were honoured at the Kitchener Athletic Awards Banquet for winning Ontario Championships (Trilliums). Since 2015, Samantha has created and lead the mermaid summer camp at Waterloo Regional Synchro. She is also a fully certified life guard.
Samantha is a graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University, with a degree in sociology and a minor in Women Studies. She then went on to teachers college at the University of Windsor where she graduated with her Bachelors of Education and is currently working as a teacher for the Waterloo Region School Board. It is Samantha’s utmost goal, as an educator/coach, to provide a fun, energetic, and encouraging environment where her students/athletes can learn important skills that they can apply to their personal lives.
“Jina”, as she is affectionately called by her swimmers, has been coaching for more than 20 years, including being the Chinese team National Senior Team coach from 2004 – 2012 and assistant coach for the 2004 Chinese Olympic
As an athlete, Jina competed at both the 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney) Olympic with the Chinese team.
As a coach, Jina has earned many titles with her National team swimmers.
Kelly, a level 4 coach, brings with her more than 20 years coaching experience. She has earned 3 Provincial titles (06, 07, 08) with her 13-15 team. She was named Coach of the Year in 07, 08 and 09. She has been the asst. coach on Ontario’s Canada Games Team 2011) and was Team Ontario’s Junior Team head coach in 2012.
Kelly has also done some flexibility consulting with the Canadian National Team and Waterloo Synchro is excited to have her join our coaching staff in 2013!
Mira swam synchro competitively for a number of years prior to joining Waterloo Synchro’s family in 2016 where she became a part of our Junior Team. As a swimmer Mira swam both provincially and nationally ending her swimming career finishing 7th place at nationals in the team event in 2018. During the 2018 season Mira was also was awarded Waterloo Synchro’s athlete of the year through Synchro Ontario.
In 2017 Mira began her coaching career while still competing with the Juniors. Currently, she holds her NCCP level 2 and is excited to continue her development in coaching. Though just beginning her coaching career Mira has had many opportunities some which include coaching our Athletes With Disabilities (AWD) program where she choreographed our first AWD duet which had the honour to be featured in the Waterloo Record in 2019. Mira also has been the assistant coach for our 10 and under and 11-12 competitive teams for 2 years under the mentoring of Kelly Hogan where she was able to further develop her coaching skills.