Coach Bios and Contact

Coaching Staff
Michael Hamann Head Coach, Senior Lead Coach

Coach Michael is the head coach of FOX.

Coach Michael started at FOX as the Associate Head Coach, leading our 11-12 and 13-14 groups, guiding many of our 14 and under athletes to new Regional, Age Group Champ and Zone cuts. Some of the highlights his first year included FOX athletes winning multiple Age Group State titles, breaking multiple FOX team records and having multiple FOX athletes ranked in the top 15 in the United States for their age.

Prior to joining FOX, Michael coached in Palo Alto, California, working with the Stanford University women's team and Alto Swim Club. While at Stanford, the Cardinal won the 2020 Pac 12 title and were ranked the #1 team in the NCAA prior to the cancellation of the NCAA Championships due to COVID-19. Michael also worked as a lead senior and assistant pro group coach with Alto Swim Club, a USA Swimming Bronze medal club, and worked with multiple USA Swimming Senior and Junior National qualifiers. He also assisted 2020 US Olympic head coach Greg Meehan with his professional group at Alto, which included Olympic gold medalists Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky. 

Prior to Stanford, Michael coached in Knoxville, Tennessee in a similar role for the University of Tennessee and Tennessee Aquatics. While in Knoxville, Michael had the opportunity to work with multiple USA Swimming National Team members with the University of Tennessee and worked as a lead senior coach with Tennessee Aquatics, a USA Swimming Silver Medal club in 2017 and 2018. Michael also earned his masters degree in sports management from the University of Tennessee. 

Coach Michael swam collegiately at the University of Pennsylvania and began his coaching career at Penn as a student assistant coach after medically retiring during his sophomore year. Michael graduated from Penn's Wharton School with a degree in economics. 

Michael grew up in the northwest Chicago suburb of Cary where he was an All-State and All-American swimmer for Cary-Grove High School.

Matthew Anderson 11/12, 13/14

Coach Matt comes to FOX from the Dekalb County Y Swim Team (DCST), where he was the head coach for the five years. During his time in Dekalb, he oversaw the team's highest finish at the Y state meet since 2014, coached many Y National finalists and a YMCA National Champion, along with many ISI Age Group champ qualifiers and scorers. He also coached in college as head coach at Youngstown State, and as an assistant at Ohio State and NIU. 

Rebecca Baugh 9/10

Coach Rebecca began coaching with FOX in 2017. Prior to becoming a FOX coach, she taught swim lessons for many years. In her time at FOX, she has worked with every age group on the team.

Coach Rebecca is an educator and therapist by training, working with individuals who present behavior challenges. She believes this training has transferred easily into coaching because she is able to understand how a swimmer learns and what challenges they may face, and can provide tools and techniques to make the swimmer more comfortable in a difficult situation.

Coach Rebecca often utilizes video to provide accurate and timely feedback in practice. She specializes in stroke corrections. She feels rewarded when the athlete is able to connect and apply techniques and they suddenly achieve what they've been working toward based on a subtle change. Nothing makes her happier than seeing athletes come back for more after a tough day. Coach Rebecca strives to make practice fun beyond what is written for the workout.

Annika Blencowe 9/10
Originally from Germany, Coach Annika  was a competitive swimmer (backstroke is her favorite stroke) and continued with swimming up to the Masters level. She has been coaching since she was 21. Coach Annika has coached all age groups at FOX since she started with the team in 2016. Outside of FOX, she is a teacher at the German Language School of Naperville.
Ryan Farmer 13/14, Senior
Brianna Finkelstein 8U
Rei Parkinson TDG, Senior

Coach Rei began coaching at Fox in 2021 as Lead TDG coach. Her prior coaching experience was with Delta Aquatics in Oswego and synchronized swimming in Japan. Coach Rei started her swimming career very early in her life, when she began swimming at the age of 3. When she was 10, she changed her focus from swimming to synchronized swimming. At 17, Coach Rei was a member of the Japanese Junior National Team that won a gold medal at the Junior World Championships. At 19, she became a member of the Japanese National Synchronized Swim Team. Coach Rei competed for Japan in the Olympic Games in both Atlanta and Sydney, winning bronze and silver medals, respectively.


Christopher Hagenbaumer 9/10, Senior
James Tennant 11/12, Senior

Coach James is in his third season with FOX. He started swimming competitively at age 7, and swam through college. A father of five, Coach James took some time off from swimming to raise a family. Outside of FOX, he "has been working in the elevator industry, saving the world one elevator at a time." 

Jacob Darlinger 11/12

Coach Jake has been coaching with FOX for about 3 years, beginning with the 13/14 group and now coaching both the 13/14s and the 11/12s. Coach Jake began his swimming career in 2011 and swam for 9 years at FOX, Waubonsie Valley High School, and one year at Carthage College. During the day, Coach Jake also works at Athletico Physical Therapy as an aide and will be starting a PTA program at the College of DuPage in 2024. He strives to implement best practices for strength/conditioning and injury prevention that he learns at Athletico into the dryland program of the 11/12s and 13/14s.

Patrick Torpey 13/14, Senior

Coach Pat has long been involved with FOX as the father of three FOX swimmers, but was excited to join the coaching staff for his first season in 2022. Pat swam collegiately at the University of Wisconsin, where he was primarily a butterflyer, qualifying for Olympic Trials in the 200 Fly. He also spent time coaching at Wisconsin's swim camp while in college, and coached at the Lake Shore Athletic Club before moving to Naperville. 

Myra Vega-Soto

Coach Myra comes to FOX from Chicago, coaching girls and boys swimming at Lincoln Park High School. She swam competitively through high school. Fun fact: Coach Myra is not only a FOX coach, but a FOX mom, too! "Coaching for FOX ... has been a fun and exciting learning experience. Getting to know the kids and helping them learn to improve their swimming skills is what I love most of all"

Nidhi Chetan 9/10

Coach Nidhi started coaching Fox in the summer of 2023. She swam for Neuqua’s Swim and Dive team (2015-2018), and graduated from UIC in May 2023 with her Bachelor’s in Neuroscience while competing for the Women’s Swim and Dive Division 1 team. During her collegiate career she also coached for the Chicago Wolfpack Aquatic Club's Pack Prep program. Coach Nidhi is a former swimmer on Fox (2011-2019) and returned after graduation to coach the 9/10 group!

Alexander Dunn
Kristian Aleksandrov 8U
Audra Diehl 8U

Coach Audra joined FOX in the 2022 season, but is no stranger to the team. Coach Audra grew up in the area and swam for FOX and Waubonsie Valley High School, and is now an elementary school teacher in Plainfield. The last several summers, she has coached for the Oakhurst Orcas working with swimmers of all ages, but especially enjoys working with the younger swimmers. 

Elena Grzeskowiak

Coach Elena started swimming competitively at the age of 6, and throughout her swim career has swam for Academy Bullets, Bolingbrook Park District, Scottsdale Aquatics Club and the Indiana Swim Club. Prior to joining the FOX coaching staff, Coach Elena was an assistant coach with Lifetime Swim in Warrenville and Romeovile. Coach Elena is a two-time 13-14 IL state champion for the 50 and 200 butterfly, a three-time Indiana open 400IM champion, and the Open 200 and 800 IM record setter with the Scottsdale Aquatics Club. Her favorite things to do outside of swimming in her free time is to read books and train/coach figure skating! This is Coach Elena's first season coaching with FOX. "I’m excited to be able to help young swimmers advance both their technique and their times this season while continuing to grow their love for swimming with FOX."

Marissa Jaskae

Coach Marissa is a former FOX swimmer and now coaches mainly the Senior and High Performance groups. She swam at Augustana College and for Waubonsie Valley High School. Outside of FOX, Coach Marissa teaches science at Wheaton North High School and coaches their high school COOP swim teams. 

Michael Lackos

Coach MJ has been coaching since 2005, starting as an assistant for the Naperville Swim Conference's Huntington Barracudas and eventually becoming head coach for the Naperville Tennis Club Orcas. After finishing his undergraduate degree at DePaul University in Chicago, he moved to Los Angeles and was hired as a coach for the Rose Bowl Aquatics team in Pasadena, where he worked for several years. During his time in LA, MJ also graduated from the University of Southern California with an MFA in Writing for Screen and Television and has been working as a screenwriter ever since. He recently returned to Illinois and coached briefly for the Wheaton Sports Center Stingrays before joining the Fox senior group for the 2023 fall season. 

Justin Merriss 11/12, 13/14, Senior

Coach Justin started at FOX in Spring 2023, but has coached swimming for more than 25 years. He began coaching career in 1998 at PAWW aquatics in Peoria, IL, while at the same time competing as a distance swimmer and 400 IMer at Bradley University. After graduation, Coach Justin coached at the Arlington Muskies for six years and helped the team grow from a 40-swimmer program to one with more than 250. he then moved to the collegiate ranks and started the team at Robert Morris University in Chicago, where he coached two NAIA All Americans and helped the team qualify for NAIA nationals in all four years of his tenure there. After taking a few years off from coaching to become the Athletic Director at RMU, Coach Justin then moved on to head coach the Wheaton Sport Center Stingray, where he helped the team grow from 14 swimmers in 2016 to more than 100 in 2021. Coach Justin has been the head coach for girls swimming at St. Francis High School since 2019. He believes in a strong work ethic at practice and in school work; one of his signature phrases is, "Practice habits make meet habits."   

Alex Murphree

Coach Alex has swam competitively since he was 12 years old. In high school, he swam for OLY Swimming in Michigan and in college he swam for Wheaton College. His main event was the 200 butterfly. Outside of FOX, Coach Alex is working toward his Master’s in Education at Wheaton College and hopes to be a teacher after he graduates. "This is my first time coaching for FOX, and I cannot wait to have a great season!"

Michaela Walton 11/12 Black

Coach Michaela has been a swimmer since the summer of 2004, swimming in summer leagues, at the Denver Swim Academy, and at Wheaton College. She has been coaching swim since the summer of 2012. Coach Michaela swam at Wheaton College and then returned to her home state of Colorado to get a Master’s degree in secondary education. She returned to the west suburbs in 2023 with her husband, who plays football for Wheaton College and is working on his Master's in Counseling. When she's not at the pool, Coach Michaela teaches math at Waubonsie Valley High School. "I’m so excited to be back as a part of FOX and I look forward to coaching the kiddos and helping them learn how to swim!"