Girls Swimming and Diving Coaches

Andrea Block - Head Coach - email Coach Block

Coach Block

This is my first year as the Head Coach of Vernon Hills Girls Swimming and Diving. I have over 15 years of coaching experience at the high school, age group and private levels which includes 8 years as Head Coach of Highland Park High School Girls Swimming and Diving and ten years of experience as Head Coach of the Lincolnshire Swim Club. My deep love of swimming started as a summer club, age grouper, high school and ultimately college swimmer. The highlight of my four-year college swimming career at the University of Michigan was being selected Captain my senior year. In addition, I have over 20 years of competitive swimming experience as both a national and world ranked Master’s swimmer. This background, in addition to my own experience as a high school and collegiate swimmer, has provided me with a solid foundation that enables me to work with swimmers of all abilities and help them improve their technique both as an individual and as a team. My mission is to help each high school student athlete achieve their athletic, personal and academic goals while learning, growing and enjoying the process along the way. I am extremely excited to take the Cougars to the next level!

Katie Ahlgrim - Assistant Coach - email Coach Ahlgrim

Coach Ahlgrim

This is coach Ahlgrim’s second year coaching girls’ swimming; however, coach Ahlgrim has been with the girls’ aquatics program for two years as the head water polo coach at Vernon Hills High School. Along with coaching in the spring, coach Ahlgrim is also an assistant coach for the Vernon Hills Boys in the winter.  This is not her first rodeo with swimming in the district as she swam Varsity at Libertyville High School during her years there. Coach Ahlgrim’s previous experience coaching a swim team has been 4 years coaching the Adler Dolphins park district team in Libertyville, where she coached high school aged athletes.

Coach Ahlgrim graduated from Hope College in 2014 with degrees in Math and Spanish Education and is currently teaching mathematics at New Tech High @ Zion-Benton East. Although coach Ahlgrim may not have years of experience coaching swimming in a high school environment, she has a lot of knowledge and passion for the sport and only more enthusiasm towards working with this group of girls to achieve their team and individual goals inside and outside of the pool.

Nathan Lightman - Diving Coach - email Coach Lightman

Coach Lightman

This is my second year coaching girls diving at Vernon Hills. I recently graduated from Denison University in Ohio, where I was a varsity member of the Swimming and Diving team for 4 years. During my 4 years there, I was a 2 time NCAA D3 national qualifier and a member of the national championship 2016 team. It is exciting to be back at District 128, as I graduated from Vernon Hills High School after having been a member of the boys diving team for 4 years and a 1 time state qualifier. In a coaching capacity, I have been involved in Cougar Diving Academy since 2014. I am excited for my first season as a high school coach and look forward to continuing my involvement in the Vernon Hills aquatic programs.

Mitch Madden - Assistant Coach - email Coach Madden

Coach Madden

I’m pleased to be at Vernon Hills High School in my first season as Assistant Coach for the Girls Swim Team. My five prior seasons were spent as an assistant with Coach Block for the Highland Park High School Girls Team. Concurrently, this is my sixteenth year as a USA Swimming Age Group Coach for the Coho Swim Club in Deerfield.

My coaching experience covers novice, competitive, high school, and masters levels. I enjoy working with young people, helping them to grow and develop their fundamental skills as they mature in their athletic, academic, and personal lives. It’s been gratifying to have a few of my earliest swimmers progress from their first swim team, into high school, on to achieve in the collegiate ranks, then return to coach with me.                                               

My sport involvement started as a youth and high school swimmer, then coaching while in college. Years later, I became a swim dad and official, and then advanced my knowledge and technical understanding of swimming through clinics and conferences featuring coaches and athletes from club, college, and Olympic teams. In between, I was dedicated to a marketing-advertising career, and raising two wonderful sons with my wife.

Now I’m focused on getting to know this season’s team, and working with them to find how much success and fun they can have improving together in and out of the pool as part of their VHHS experience. Go Cougars!

Michael Weiss - Volunteer Coach - email Coach Weiss

Coach Weiss

I have been coaching swimming for 10 years; 8 of those years at Highland Park HS with Coach Block. I’m a part-time financial consultant and a business owner, and my time associated with competitive swimming allows me to feel young.  My high school experience swimming and playing water polo at Glenbrook North was both memorable and fun. My goal is to help make the experience of the teenagers swimming for Vernon Hills just as meaningful, while having fun.  I’m looking forward to getting to know the swimmers better.