The Piranhas swim team is under the direction of a new coach who will join the Palm Springs-based USA club program later this month.
Jeff Conwell who has spent the bulk of his coaching career with the Canyons Aquatics Club in Santa Clarita, is married to Palm Springs alum and swim coach Alicia Chatigny.
Conwell began at Canyons Aquatic Club as the head Age Group coach in 1999. In 2005 he took over as the head coach. In addition, he was head coach at College of the Canyons since 2006.
Prior to joining Canyons, Conwell spent two years as an assistant coach at Div. I Cal State Northridge. He was assistant coach for CCAT/Class club swim team, head coach at Louisville High School, Crespi High School, and at Granada Hills High School, where he won a CIF championship. Conwell was also an assistant coach at College of the Canyons for four years prior to becoming head coach.
Conwell was raised in Sacramento, competed for California Capitol Aquatics, home team of Olympian Summer Sanders, played water polo and was on the swim team at Jesuit High School, Carmichael. He earned his degree in kinesiology from Cal State Northridge where he was swim team captain.
“The Piranhas are giving me the opportunity to gain the important club management experience I’ve sought after within a structure that ensures that I can be there for a very long time,” Conwell said. “I bring the experience gained from my 14 years working at Canyons and the great things the team accomplished. It was not an easy decision to leave such a great organization, but in seeking to grow as a professional, I feel it is time to take on this new challenge in Palm Springs. This also affords me the opportunity to put down some roots for my family.”
In 2009, he was named to the USA Swimming National Select Camp Staff in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center and in 2011 participated in the USA Swimming Open Water Select Camp. Conwell is a member of the Southern California Swimming Board of Review and the Coastal Section Board of Directors.
According to John Andrade, president of the Piranha board of directors, “We were seeking leadership from a coach who can build the base of our team, promote the sport in the entire Coachella Valley, and achieve and sustain competitive success regionally, nationally and internationally for the Piranhas. These are the very ideals of USA Swimming and we have full faith in Coach Conwell to do this.”
Conwell takes over for Adam Schmitt, who was with the program for two years.
For those interested in trying out for the team, practices are Monday at 5 p.m. at the Palm Springs pool which is located on Pavilion Way, between Palm Springs High School and the Palm Springs Library off Baristo. For more information www.piranhaswimteam.org.