In 2000 I just started my job at the East Whittier YMCA as the new Aquatic Director.  I was very excited to be part of the YMCA family and dug right into work.  I immediately noticed that there was no swim team!  What I did find was a group of 7 kids in our swim lesson program that were ready to take the next step and parents that desperately wanted their kids to be in competitive swimming.  So we banded together and started what at the time was called “The East Whittier YMCA Stingrays Swim Team”.  Those seven kids worked hard with me for months going to their very first swim meets, having fundraisers and really becoming part of the YMCA Aquatic Family.  It was not easy!  We went to swim meets that had teams of over 150 kids participating and boy was it intimidating.  Only one girl stuck it out through the end of the first season and she was the only one that made it to the championship race.  I was so proud of her.  She went to that race all by herself and represented our team alone.

We launched full force into our second season and were up to 25 swimmers and took 15 of them to the championship race that year.  We decided to change our colors and team name and from that point forward became know as the “East Whittier YMCA Sharks Swim Team”.  The following year we discovered that the Uptown Whittier YMCA had a fledgling team and started to incorporate swim meets with them and eventually it was decided by both YMCA branches that we would merge our teams so that we could be a stronger united team with even more parent support.

Over the years our team has grown and grown and even though we have weathered hard times, we have stuck together and supported each other.  We were ecstatic when the Uptown Whittier YMCA branch of swim team re-opened in April, 2011 (they briefly had to close for low enrollment).  At this present time we have 8 different practices/levels and times at 2 different sites and are running over 125 kids in our swim team. 

How was it possible to achieve this? 

The Parents

As staff we have often marveled at how wonderful our swim team parents are.  They are so giving of their time and monetarily when they are able to.  The coaches and the kids receive endless support from the parents and it is such a blessing to know that we have such a dedicated group of responsible folks behind us.  We know this is not always the case in other teams.  The parents of our team have always believed not only in the swim team, but also in the overall YMCA mission, dedicating their time to both goals.

The Kids

We all want to think our kids are the best right? Well our kids really are the best!  They have the best attitudes and great dedication.  They are always willing to help us and each other.  I am not surprised because they come from awesome parents.  I have story after story through the years that I can tell about the way our kids really put forth our YMCA 4 core values.  As staff, it is a pleasure to watch them grow and mature over the years.

The Staff

Over the year’s coaches have come and gone; it isn’t often that you get to keep a coach for many years in a row.  But there has been common attributes in all of them and that is the love of the children, the passion for the sport of swimming, and the dedication to the YMCA mission and values.   It takes a special person to handle over 20 kids at a time, teach them a skill, be a role model, get up a 5 a.m. on weekends for swim meets (my personal favorite), and love doing it every day.  We have been blessed that these talented individuals decided to spend part of their lives sharing their talents with our kids.

The Y

Last but definitely not least is the YMCA.  What a wonderful place to have a swimming program, so supportive.  The YMCA gives us a place to nurture our kids, exemplifying the four core values (Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility) in every decision we make together for the betterment of our team.  The Y truly believes in youth development and gives us the opportunity to teach the kids in our programs not only our mission, but also to give back to the community and become a real family unit.  At some of our swim meets you might see some of the management working the snack bar in their off time, which only shows you the dedication that they have to the success of our team.

We look forward to an unlimited future and only more success.  Thank you to everyone who has helped us along the way.

Founder J. Reneau 


Coach Ramon – Uptown Whittier Intermediate/Advanced Swim Coach
My name is Ramon Torres and I was born and raised in LA. I am 23 years old with 20 years of swimming experience. I have participated in many racing events starting with Cal-Novice, YMCA Swim League, USA Swimming, and my all time favorite, Junior Olympics. Being on a swim team was very rewarding for me.  I gained not only a lot of technique/skills but also to work to the best of my ability. I never knew it would bring me to where and what I am now. To be a coach became a goal of mine when I noticed I had the talent and skills to teach kids the things that were taught to me.  I love the people I interact with and how it always makes my day better.  The kids are amazing and my experience so far has been a blast. All coaches here are great and fun to work with. My goal here is to have the kids reach their highest ability under my supervision.

Coach Amanda – Uptown Whittier Swim Coach
Hello my name is Amanda Kasimoff and I am excited to be one of the coaches at the Uptown YMCA!  I started swimming at my local YMCA when I was 8 years old and I was hooked! It was then I knew that this was one of the things I enjoyed doing so I continued it, I was a competitive swimmer for 8 years, 4 of those years was for Schurr High School in Montebello, California. One of my biggest joys in life is seeing children grow in the different skills, values, and friendships they can learn right here at the YMCA.

Coach Jeremy - East Whittier Swim Coach

Hello!  My name is Jeremy Kasimoff, and I am ecstatic to be one of the coaches for the Greater Whittier Y.  I have been swimming since I was 5 for my local Y and it opened many doors for me.  I swam competitively for 9 years, 4 of which were my High School career.  My goal is to be able to help teach children the skills they'll need in life while still upholding the Y values of Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.  So they can not only be the best swimmer they can be, but the best person as well.  


YMCA of Greater Whittier


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