Ukiah Dolphins Announces New Head Coach

The following is a press release issued by the Ukiah Dolphins:

Head Coach Kristine Gonzalez with Ukiah Dolphins Red and Bronze swim groups [Picture provided by the Ukiah Dolphins]

Ukiah Dolphins is happy to announce their new Head Coach, Kristine Gonzalez. Kristine is no stranger to swimming or to Mendocino County. Kristine grew up swimming for the Willits Otters and Willits High School swim teams. Kristine shared, “my stroke in swimming was backstroke. This started because as a 5 year old kid on a swim team, I loved that I could breathe the whole time. My love for backstroke took off from there.” 

Kristine started working for Ukiah Dolphins last summer as an Assistant Coach. She has not been shy on taking the initiative on many things including starting the very popular new Junior Dolphin Program where young swimmers learn the basics of swimming. Kristine shared “I started as a recreational swimmer in Willits and it’s these entry level programs that entice kids into the world of swimming. Some kids go on to High School and College Swimming as a result of their experiences in programs like the Dolphins.  Junior Dolphins allows them to literally get their feet wet, no pun intended, before moving into the sport.” Kristine mentioned that she was grateful for the support of the Ukiah Dolphins Board of Directors in letting her start the program.

Kristine has been working with Ukiah Dolphins consultant Tom Zimlich to fine tune her coaching style. The kids all love her! “My favorite thing about being Head Coach is watching the swimmers’ development throughout all of the groups. I have seen tremendous growth in not just their swimming, but who they are as people. They treat each other like family and I couldn’t be more proud of who they are in and outside of the water” said Kristine recently.

Kristine brought on Joe Selzer to join the coaching staff as Assistant Coach this Spring. Joe grew up in Ukiah swimming and playing water polo with the Ukiah Dolphins. Joe had been an Assistant Coach for the Dolphins previously. Kristine said “I want to thank coach Joe for all his help and enthusiasm”. Consultant Tom Zimlich has raved about Head Coach Kristine and Coach Joe’s teamwork and coaching abilities. According to Tom “they make a great team and this is the strongest Ukiah Dolphins coaching presence I’ve seen in years”. One of the Dolphin’s more seasoned swimmers, Nick Larson, recently said “Kristine is a really good coach. She told me I need to keep my head back on my backstroke. I know I need to work on that. I like that she pushes us at practice.”

Kristine has started a monthly newsletter where she announces the “Swimmer of the Month”. She has been an integral part of growing the team with an increase in membership of the swimmers under 13 years of age.

Last month Kristine, Joe and Tom coached 34 swimmers at a swim meet the Ukiah Dolphins hosted. There were 70+ swimmers competing from Ukiah Dolphins,  Willits Otters and Mendocino Coast Sea Dragons. Of the 34 Ukiah Dolphin swimmers, half had never competed before. The other half had not competed in over a year due to Covid -19. Those that participated were: Presley McMullen (8yr), Ava Nelson (8yr), Madeline Wellington (9yr), Talla Jett-Pardini (10yr), Brynn Vagt (9yr), Alora Nieto (11yr), Lucy Lunceford (11yr), Sydney Begely (11yr), Carmen Carrero (11yr), Lucy Horiguchi (11yr), Ella Danner (11yr), Kaci Maynard (11yr), Kamala Gardner (11yr), Jessica Kraemer (14yr), Kaylee Maynard (13yr), Lily Keplinger (13yr), Keori Webb (16yr), Aleea Johnston (15yr – UN), John Rodrigue (8yr), Keiji Horiguchi (8yr), Owen Nelson (10yr), Jack Wellington (10 yr), Andrew Milovina (10yr), Matthew Milovina (10yr), Theo Shamiya (9yr), Jaime Bailey (11yr), Chase Vagt (11yr), Nick Larson (14yr – UN), Bennett Spencer (13yr), Jade Lheureux (13yr), Griffin Lefebvre (13yr), Tristan Ireland (14yr), Skyler Carrero (14yr) and Evan Lodge (13yr). Ukiah Dolphins will be competing on June 19th in the Willits Otters hosted swim meet. Kristine is excited for the kids to compete in the pool where she grew up swimming.

Ukiah Dolphins has been around since 1955. They are a year round swim team and a seasonal water polo team. If you are interested in learning more visit the website or email

Categories: Sports

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