1900 Red River Street
Austin, Texas 78712
Phone- (512) 471-7703
Fax- (512) 471-0598
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Longhorn Aquatics Membership Office
Swimming Head Coach
A Dallas, Texas native, Mike Laitala was appointed Head Coach of Longhorn Aquatics in 2012, after serving as Associate Head Coach for three years. Over the course of his first quadrennium at the helm, Laitala has led TXLA to the Silver M
edal in Club Excellence, while helping qualify four high school athletes to the 2016 Olympic Trials. In 2013 Mike served as an Assistant Coach to the United States Swimming Junior World Championships Team which competed in Dubai. There, his swimmer, Quinn Carrozza, earned a gold, silver, and bronze medal for her performances, while the US team earned the first place team title. Earlier in that year Carrozza had placed 8th in the 200 Free at the 2013 World Championship Trials. Over his first four years as Head Coach of Longhorn athletes have swam over 30 US Swimming top 10 ranked times, been finalists at Junior, Senior Nationals, World Championship Trials, and US Open events. On the state and local level, TXLA has seen numerous TAGS individual and relay titles, and set multiple Sectionals and Team records. Laitala’s swimmers have won Texas High School District, Regional, and State championships every year, and signed with Divison I and II colleges to continue their swimming careers.
Mike has over 15 years of coaching experience, both at the club levels, and in Division 1 collegiate competition, five years at the University of Denver. He was an All-American swimmer for the University of Texas men’s team, which earned the 2000 NCAA Team Title. He was a four-time TCIL High School State champion, junior national finalist swimmer in the late 90s, One of Mike’s favorite swimming experiences was representing his hometown Richardson, TX at the 2000 Olympic Trails. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with an All-Level Teaching Credential from UT Austin. Mike currently lives in Austin with his wife Bridgette, and their two dogs, Buddy and Cissy.
Masters Swimming Head Coach
Whitney Hedgepeth was a 27-time All-American and a three-time NCAA Champion during her collegiate career at The University of Texas at Austin. She graduated in 1994 with a Elementary Education Degree and taught 6th grade Language Arts for one year before deciding to return to swimming in hopes of making the 1996 Olympic Team. Whitney was a versatile swimmer and won seven national titles in seven different events (100 fly, 200 IM, 400 IM, 100 back, 200 back, 200 free, 500 free). She competed in the 1988 Olympics while still in High School in Seoul, Korea swimming the 200 IM and placing 8th. She later competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, winning three medals: a gold in the 400 medley relay, a silver in the 100 back, and a silver in the 200 back. After her achievements in Atlanta, Whitney retired from competitive swimming and decided to focus on coaching. Whitney started coaching at Longhorn Aquatics in 1996 as the head age-group coach. She was the National Team head-coach and Director of Longhorn Aquatics from 1998-2001. After having kids of her own, Whitney switched her focus to coaching adults where she currently holds the position of head swimming coach of our Master’s program. Whitney was inducted into the UT Women’s Hall of Honor in 2007 and the Virigina Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. Whitney is married and has three children: a daughter who swims for Longhorn Aquatics and two sons who love baseball and football.
Co-Head Dive Coach
Raised in a family of divers and swimmers, Ventura, California-born, Stanford-educated Dwight has been winning diving medals since he was 6 years old. In 1994 he was named Southern Pacific Association Diver of the Year in his age group, a title that all four of his siblings also held the same year. He’s since gone on to compete at the highest national and international levels in the sport, helping to form what’s often been called the Dumais Diving Dynasty—in fact, there hasn’t been a Summer Games without a Dumais diving in it since 1996.
Co-Head Dive Coach
Jim Zagaria comes to Longhorn Aquatics from Marshall University in Huntington West Virginia. Under Zagaria, Marshall divers have set program firsts.
In the 2009-10 season, Marshall sent multiple divers to the NCAA Zones. Under Zagaria’s direction, Rachel Hannum, Haley Holmquist and Lauren Rone qualified for MU. Rone became the second MU freshman to qualify for the event.
Rone returned to the NCAA Zone Diving Championships in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. Rone holds the 1 Meter ad Platform School Records at Marshall. She also was named C-USA Diver of the Week and Marshall Student Athlete on several occasions.
Zagaria, a 2006 graduate of Metropolitan State University, was on the Iowa State diving team from 1997-2001.
His coaching experience at the high school level began in 2001 at Ames High School, where he coached a state champion and an All-American. From 2003-05 he coached the Woodbury HS girls team, which produced one state champion and two All-Americans. Zagaria also coached two All-State selections during his tenure at Anoka HS from 2004-06. He was named Section Diving Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2006.
With Zagaria as the associate head coach of the Twin City (Minn.) Divers (2003-09), the club saw 47 Junior National qualifiers, 28 Senior National qualifiers, a 2009 AT&T National Diving Championship, a 2009 Men’s Synchronizing Platform Championship and two divers attend the World Team Trials. He also served as the meet manager at the 2007 USA Diving Spring Nationals.
At the college level, Zagaria has coached at the College of St. Catherine (2003-06), the University of St. Thomas (2003-05) and the University of Minnesota (2006-07). From 2003-06 he produced a finalist in both the one-meter and three-meter dives at the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship. At UM he coached Big Ten finalists in the one-meter, three-meter and platform events; along with Divers of the Week and NCAA Zone qualifiers.
Water Polo Head Coach
Tom Andrew graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2007 with a degree in human development and family sciences. For his practicum, Tom acted as the assistant coach to the National team and trained the Junior Longhorns for Longhorn Aquatics. Tom is in his third year of coaching for Longhorn Aquatics. Prior to 2007, he coached at the Greater Northwest Gators Club and Swim America in San Antonio for four years.
During his time at UT, Tom was co-captain of the UT Water Polo team from 2005-07, on the Texas Division All-Conference Team 2003-06 and the Texas Division MVP in 2004. He earned three letters in swimming and water polo at Marshall High School in San Antonio. In the 2001-02 swim season, he was named District Swimmer of the Year and an All-American in the 100 yard back.
Head Age Group Swimming Coach
Pflugerville Head Swimming Coach
Michael is a product of infant learn-to-swim, in his hometown of Pleasanton, California. Soon a member of the Pleasanton Seahawks, he gained Pacific All-Star recognition as a teenager on his way to becoming a 4-event Jr. National qualifier. Michael moved on to the bright lights of New York City, swimming collegiately for Columbia University and remaining in NYC as an aquatics professional for over a decade. He was instrumental in growing the Imagine School of Swimming into the largest swim school in New York, along with national recognition as a leader in aquatic pedagogy. Poropat also had the opportunity to spend the summer of 2008 with Gary Hall’s Race Club under the tutelage of 2016 Olympic Coach Mike Bottom and has been studying the finer aspects of fast, elite swimming ever since. Since 2001, Poropat has been on deck as an announcer for USA Swimming and FINA, recently contributing to the Barcelona World Championships, the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, and his 3rd US Olympic Trials. In his private life, Poropat still strives for perfect freestyle form in-between teaching his 3-year-old to swim from the water slide the wall, and of course, bubble rings.
Assistant Coach (Bevo, Jr. Longhorn, Longhorn)/ Store Manager
Hannah Kennedy comes to Longhorn Aquatics with 12 years of competitive swimming experience. An Austin native, Hannah has swum for Longhorn Aquatics and Nitro Swimming in her tenure of USA club swimming. She has gone to many district, regional, STAGS, and TAGS swim meets. She was named Co-Captain of her high school swim team her senior year.
Hannah graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Fitness and Conditioning. She loves to teach anything and everything to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. She is a firm believer in the quality rather than quantity when it comes to training. She is an avid sports fan who loves the Auburn Tigers and the San Antonio Spurs.
Assistant Coach (Longhorn Elite)
Bryce Bohman comes to Longhorn Aquatics with 20 years of competitive swimming experience. A Moline, Illinois native as well as a West Virginia University alumni, Bryce is a professional swimmer for the University of Texas Post Graduate Group. He is a 2x NCAA All-American, 2x Olympic Trial Qualifier and former Big XII Champion in the 100 yard backstroke. During his senior season Bryce was named Big XII Swimmer of the Year.
Bryce graduated from West Virginia University with a master’s degree in coaching education and sport sciences. He is a passion coach and a strong believer that technique is the foundation of swimming. Bryce is die-hard WVU sports fan so please don’t hold that against him!