Mitch Gold was named the Head Coach of the Palm Desert Swim Club in March 2016 after 4 years with the club as the Assistant Head Coach.
Mitch brings over 15 years of experience successfully coaching athletes of all ages and abilities. As an age group swim coach he has led countless swimmers to the Junior Olympic/SCS Level. Coach Mitch is an American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) Level 3 Coach, a member of the Positive Coaching Alliance and brings an extensive background in physiology and sports psychology, as well as an elite level structured and positive coaching style to the Palm Desert Swim Club.
In the 2016 Long Course season, his squad of 15 Sr & Jr swimmers earned 9 medals at the Summer Junior Olympics including 2x JO Champion, Akemi Von Scherr in the 800/1500 with Sectional time cuts (a first for PDSC). Mitch also added a Top 10 Nationally ranked swimmer to his list of coaching accomplishments in Emmi Von Scherr finishing the 2016 season in 6th place in the 1500.
During a breakout season in 2015, Mitch proudly took four athletes to the Southern California Swimming Club Championships earning two medals (Erin Shen/50 breast and Lucas Brunett/50 back with a National Top Ten Time). Mitch also had 8 swimmers qualify for the Winter Junior Olympics in 41 events and earned 12 medals, including the crowning of a Junior Olympic Champion in the 100 IM (Lucas Brunett). Mitch also took 19 of athletes to the June Age Group Championships and Summer Junior Olympics.
Mitch brings a wealth of coaching experience to PDSC. Before joining the PDSC staff, Mitch filled the Head Age Group Coach with the Palm Springs Piranhas. Mitch also served as Head Coach for Palm Desert High School Boys Team.
An athlete with a National caliber running background, Coach Mitch is also a multiple USAT All-American, 13-time World Triathlon Championship Qualifier and two-time Armed Forces Champion of the World Triathlon Championships.
Mitch is retired Marine Officer and University of Maryland graduate, currently pursuing a M.S. in Sports Psychology from California Southern University.
Ann-Britt brings a successful coaching and teaching career that spans over 20 years, the majority taking place here in the Coachella Valley. Her swim coaching career has included jobs with the Piranha Swim Team, Palm Desert Aquatics, Palm Springs High School, and her native swim club Horsholm Swim Team in Denmark were she found her passion and talent for teaching swimming.
As an outstanding competitive swimmer in her native country Denmark, Ann-Britt was invited to swim with the Danish National Team as a teenager, traveling and competing all over the world at the International level. She was an Olympic Trials qualifier and over her career competing at Denmark's National Meet, Ann-Britt earned a National Championship in the 200 meter backstroke, three bronze medals in the 100 meter backstroke, and made finals in several other events. Holm is still swimming when she can find the time and as a Masters Swimmer won the 2010 Southwest Zone Championship in the 200 IM.
Ann-Britt earned her A.A. in Early Childhood Studies from the College of the Desert. She is also an accomplished figure skater that qualified for Adult Nationals in 2000. Besides athletics she is skilled in the arts and has done many performances as a solo singer as well as performs at the Palm Canyon Theater.
Tom came on board as an Assistant Coach in May, 2016. He is retiring in June after spending the previous 25 years as a high school social studies teacher with the Desert Sands Unified School District. During four of those years, he served as the president of the Desert Sands Teachers Association. In 2016 he coached the JV swimmers (both boys and girls) for Palm Desert High School.
Prior to his career in public education, Tom spent 15 years as a swimming coach, literally from Maine to California, and is an ASCA Level 3 certified coach. His successful experience includes being head coach of two club teams, head age group coach of a third, and head coach of three high school teams. His swimmers competed at local, state, regional, and national levels. His teams have won state championships, and individual athletes training with him have gone on to become national collegiate champions. At every turn, Tom has been involved in the administration of the sport as well as the advancement of the coaching profession. Between 1988-90, he served as the first National Director of ASCA’s SwimAmerica program. He also was selected to the coaching staff of the Southern California Swimming Western Zone team in 1986.
Before becoming a coach, Tom swam competitively on interscholastic, club, and intercollegiate teams, specializing in middle-distance freestyle, breaststroke, and individual medley events. He is a 1975 graduate of Union College, Schenectady, New York, where he earned a B. A. in Political Science and was captain of the swimming team. He was born and raised in South Portland, Maine. Tom is married to Julia Alberg-Burbank, with whom he shares six children and stepchildren as well as three grandchildren.
Felipe De Jesus Avendano-Vela
Felipe joined the PDSC Coaching Staff in August and will be working with our 8 & Under groups. Felipe is from the Coachella Valley and swam competitively at Coachella Valley HS and at the University of La Verne.
Felpie has a BS in Movement and Sports Science with a concentration in education, and works especially well with children, so you can understand why we’re so happy to have him join our staff.
Mark Harmon joins the PDSC coaching staff after his 30+ years of service as the Director of Operations in Municipal Government in Santa Maria, Pasadena, Claremont and Newport Beach. Seven of those years were spent as the staff support to the Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission of Newport Beach. But his love of aquatics began long before that.
Mark’s aquatics background began during his 18 years as a competitive triathlete and veered into specializing in open water swimming. It was as a member of Orange County’s Velocity Cycle and Swim Teams that Mark developed an interest in coaching, working one-on-one with many first time triathletes in Open Water (ocean) swimming technique and helping triathletes develop an open water race strategy. His passion for triathlons and open water swimming progressed into a desire for competition at US Masters swim meets. In 2014, Mark swam in eleven Master and Senior Game Competitions in four different states, earning 24 top three finishes, and qualified for the 2015 National Senior Games. In 2016, in addition to his busy pool competition schedule and qualifying for the 2017 National Games, Mark added the US Masters Open Water Race series to his schedule. These events consist of competitive 1 and 2 mile ocean swims throughout Southern California.
In 2014, Mark started his own business, Harmon Aquatics LLC, to offer coaching to adults of all levels through the Masters Adult Learn to Swim program. In 2015, he became the Head Adult/Masters Team Coach for the Piranha Swim Team in Palm Springs, CA. Mark has earned Level 1 and 2 Coaching and Adult Learn to Swim Certifications from US Masters Swimming; a Level 1 and 2 Coaching Certification from the American Swim Coaches Association; and is a Certified Coach Member of USA Swimming. He currently resides in Palm Desert with his wife, Cheryl, and continues to train and prepare for Masters Swim events while offering training/lessons for adult swimmers.