Piranha Coaching Staff

Henk Jansen
Head Coach and Darien YMCA Competitive Swim Director

Henk, an ASCA Level IV Coach, starts his 17th year with the Piranha Swim Team. Before joining the Piranhas, he was an Assistant Coach with the OMNI Swim Club of New Haven from 1999-2004, Head Coach at East Haven Swim Club from 1997-98, and a Volunteer Assistant at Southern Connecticut State University for the 1997-98 season while working full-time as a Computer Analyst for SNET (now AT&T) in New Haven.  Henk graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate Communications and a minor in Computer Science. Over the course of his 20 year coaching career Henk’s swimmers have broken numerous Team and CT State records, many of his swimmers have gone on to compete at the collegiate level including NCAA National Champions and he has developed multiple YMCA National Champions, USA Senior and Junior National qualifiers. In 2008 one of Henk’s swimmers, Peter Geissinger ,represented the Piranha at the 2008 USA Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2006, for his accomplishments and contributions to the sport of swimming, Henk was inducted into the East Haven High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame and in 2007 he was honored by his alma mater, Southern Connecticut with the Bruce Hutchinson Alumni Award. From 2006-2010 Henk served as Connecticut Swimming’s Senior Chair, the Chair of the Technical Planning Committee from 2012-2016 and  Coach-at-Large Chair from 2016-2018. Henk resides in Shelton with his wife Michele, daughters Olivia, Avery, Violet and his son Zach.


Amy D’Andrea
Assistant Coach and YMCA Aquatics Director

Amy, starting her 17th year of coaching with the Piranhas, is the Darien YMCA Aquatics Programming Director. Before joining the Darien YMCA, Amy coached and taught swim lessons at the Merrimack Valley YMCA in Andover, Mass. She was a competitive swimmer, diver and synchronized swimmer and is a graduate of Springfield College with a degree in Psychology. With the Piranhas, she works primarily with the Maia group. She resides in Stamford with her husband Dan and their children Jessie, Mia, Samantha and Daniel.


 IMG_4931Hilde Kjekstad
Assistant Coach

Hilde, a current Darien YMCA Masters Swimmer and a 1991 graduate of St John University in New York, starts her 5th year of coaching with the Piranhas.   She was a scholarship swimmer at St. Johns in New York and graduated with a degree in Finance.  She is currently the COO of Helicopter Flight Services and an accomplished Masters swimmer.  Hilde has qualified for the Masters World Championship the last three years and was a double silver medalist at the Norwegian Masters National in 2015.  She currently resides in Darien with her husband John, and sons Andreas and Nicholas.

Carl Markowitz
Assistant Coach

Carl, an accomplished open water swimmer, is starting his third year with the Piranhas.  He started his swimming career teaching cognitively disabled children while attending High School in Pennsylvania. He began his open water swimming career in 2011 at the age of 48. Starting out with ocean mile swims, Carl has progressed to longer swims and crossings such as the Potomac River 7.5 miler, Europe to Asia (in Turkey) 4 miler and the 4.4 mile Chesapeake Bay Swim. He is a Darien YMCA member who continues to swim 4 – 5 days per week.  Carl, a field engineer who has worked all over the world has raised two kids while residing in Pennsylvania.  He currently lives in the local area while working in New York City in High Rise Construction.  

Jesse Stewart
Assistant Coach

Jesse, a former Piranha and recent graduate of Wheaton College, starts her 2nd year of coaching with the Piranhas.  She graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and Fine Arts.  She was a four year member of the Wheaton Varsity Swim Team where she was voted captain her senior year.  An accomplished backstroker, she brings a wealth of youth and exuberance to the Piranha staff.  Jesse can and has coached every She currently resides in Darien.  

Deb Redcay
Assistant Coach/YMCA Assistant Aquatics Director


Heather Gesualdi
Assistant Coach

Heather a one-time Piranha herself and long-time Darien Y Masters swimmer returns for her second stint as Piranha Assistant Coach.  She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a degree in Textile Design.  She has an extensive background as a swimmer, swim mom, coach.  Her  She currently resides in Darien with her husband Lou.  Her son Sam is in the Coast Guard.