Our Coaches

Jack Perkins - Founder and Volunteer Head Coach

Jack started the Mile High Dive Club in 1998. He has been coaching diving since 1992, and formerly coached with the Northern Virginia Dive Club, which ranked as one of the top-ten Junior Olympic programs in the nation at the time. Jack has extensive experience coaching at all levels, from beginners through elite, including several Junior National Champions, Senior National Qualifiers, Olympic trials qualifiers and a Junior Worlds qualifier. Formerly the Division 1 coach at the University of Denver, Jack is the MHDC Founder and Head Coach. He earned a BA in East Asian Philosophy and Religious Studies from George Mason University and a MBA from the University of Denver.  Along with volunteering his time at MHDC, Jack is very active with USA Diving where he served on the governance committee from 2009-2012, has served on the finance committee since 2007, is currently the Junior Rules Subcommittee Chairperson, has been the Rocky Mountain Diving Association Chairperson since 2000 and was a member of the 2013 Competitive Calendar and Rules Restructuring workgroups.  

Jenn Hess - Club Director and Head Coach

Jennifer dived with the Mile High Dive Club for five years before competing for the University of Arizona.  She completed both a Bachelors of Science in Physiological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry as well as a Masters of Art in Bilingual Education during her five years diving for Arizona. She taught Kindergarten Spanish and worked as LAP instructor for non-native English speaking 3rd and 4th graders.  She also coached for Tucson Dive Team for three years before returning to Colorado and the Mile High Dive Club.  Jenn has a true passion for working with children and seeing them grow as both an individual and as an athlete.  Jenn has had the opportunity to help develop divers who have gone on to represent the USA at various international competitions as well as aiding in college scholarships for many of her divers.  In her free time, Jenn is an avid skier and loves to travel. 

Jacie Birt- Office Administrator

 Jacie and her family moved from Arizona to Colorado in 2016. Born and raised in Mesa, she participated in basketball and track and loves creating art in her main mediums of ceramics and charcoal drawing. Jacie has already spent some time in Colorado before going to college and visiting family so, she is excited to finally grow some roots in the Denver area. She loves spending time with her future wife and 5 year old daughter hiking, camping, playing games, watching movies and going to Red Rocks concerts. She is happy to be a part of the Mile High Dive Club team and this fun and athletic atmosphere.

 

 

Sal Strack- Stength and Conditioning Coach

Sal comes to us from San Diego where he worked as a Strength & Conditioning Coach for San Diego State University for six years.  He has specialized experience in the foundational movements and sport specific training unique to divers.  Sal’s education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and is one presentation away from earning his Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology.  He has made a significant impact on the strength levels, overall lifting technique, and recovery periods for our program.  The kids have seen major gains in overall muscular strength and a decrease in injury.  Sal has a strong focus geared towards working with the team on prehab movements as well as following through with them on rehabilitative exercises.  We are very fortunate to have Sal as a member of our team!

 

Drew Germain- Junior Olympic Coach

Drew joins Mile High Dive Club from Minnesota where he competed at the junior level for 6 years before joining the University of North Dakota’s diving program.  In his two years as an athlete, Drew completed his Bachelor’s in Entrepreneurship and has since started his final year of his Master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management.  Drew has had the opportunity to compete with multiple clubs and coaches in Minnesota and North Dakota and is excited to start coaching in Colorado.  In the past, Drew has taught the diving courses at a local YMCA, coached the high school program in Grand Forks ND, and assisted his college team with diving camps.    

 
 

 

Austin Howlett- Junior Olymic Coach

 Austin comes to Mile High Dive Club from Maui Hawaii where he progressed from 10 years of gymnastics to diving in high school. He competed in diving at Colorado College where he earned a bachelors degree in Art studio with a minor in Education. In his college diving career Austin competed at the Division III National Championships to earn three All-American Honors. He coached gymnastics in Hawaii and coached for a dive club in Colorado Springs for two years along with private lessons. In addiction to coaching, Austin is a local artist and freelance graphic designer in Denver.

 

 

 

Kelly White - Junior Olympic Coach

Kelly dove with MHDC for four years prior to becoming a professional diver with Mirage Entertainment.  As a professional diver she has performed in many cities across the East Coast and China.  While a competitive diver,  Kelly was a three-time national qualifier as well as a finalist at International meets.  She also finished 2nd at the Colorado State Championships!  She really wants to travel to Egypt one day and can speak Chinese.  Kelly loves working with kids and loves diving.  We are very excited to have her as a part of our coaching staff.  Kelly is currently coaching Mondays,  Wednesdays at Northridge, Tuesdays at Meyers and Saturdays at the Flip School and the Utah Park Pool.  

 

Drew Brown-Junior Olympic Coach

Drew dived with MHDC prior to earning a full scholarship to the University of Minnesota where he was a 7-time finalist at Big Ten Conference.  Drew was Big Ten Conference runner up in 2011 on the 3 meter, set a school record and was a three-time All-American for Minnesota.  He also is the University record holder on the platform as well as the 3 meter and is ranked second all time on the 1m.  Before starting college, Drew competed for the United States in Shanghai, China as well as earning a spot on the USA National Team for the World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand.  In Bangkok, he competed 3-meter synchronized with teammate Sean Moore and finished sixth.  He was also part of the bronze medal USA team in Bangkok.  Drew finished eighth in the overall men’s competition at the 2008 Kaiser Permanente National Championships in Pasadena where he placed second on the 10-meter platform synchro event took 10th on the 10-meter and third in the 3-meter synchro competition.  He finaled at many Senior US Nationals events on tower and synchronized tower which lead him to qualify for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Trials. He is an incredible asset to the program and we are very lucky to have him!  

 

Jeny Fernandez-Junior Olympic Coach

Jeniffer comes to us after growing up in the Puerto Rico National Team.  She has competed around the world at the most elite of international meets representing her country of Puerto Rico.  She fell just short of qualifying for the Olympics in Rio this last year at the World Cup.  She is a wealth of knowledge and has a lot of experience in the sport that she shares with the divers.  
Jeny has loved learning to drive in snow and has taken full advantage of winter sports here in Colorado.   

 

 

 

Andrew Hull- Junior Olympic Coach

Andrew grew up in Denver, CO and dove for East High School. He was awarded Colorado diver of the year in 2012. He dove for Indiana University from 2012-2014 and for the University of Iowa from 2015-2016. In 2014 he placed 3rd at the NCAA Zone championship meet. That following summer, he placed 4th in the USA Diving senior national championships in 2013 and 2014 in the synchronized 10-meter event, and 12th in the individual 10-meter event in 2014. He completed his degree in Human Physiology in December of 2016 and was the assistant diving coach for the University of Iowa during the 2016-2017 NCAA season.

 

 

Corey Bangs- Junior Olympic Coach

Corey started diving for Mile High shortly after she discovered her passion for the sport in 2007.  During high school, she competed at the USA Diving National Championships, the Camo Invitational in Montreal, & the Colorado State Championships where she placed 2nd as a senior.  In 2009, Corey was offered a scholarship & began diving at the D1 level for Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  During her time at Miami, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, was team captain as a senior, & competed at the 2012 & 2013 MAC Conference Championships.  Since graduation, Corey has discovered her passion for working with kids by coaching diving programs in Ohio & Maryland.

 

 

Taylor Hryochruk-Junior Olympic Coach

Taylor grew up in Southlake, Texas a suburb of Dallas.  She started diving at the age of 7 years old for GC Divers, Coached by Krista Wilson Klein and Jeff Bro.  She made Nationals at age ten and continued on the National training team for GC Divers winning numerous competitions until she graduated high school.  Taylor was a 4 year high school All-American diver, competed at the Texas high school State meet, and continues to hold a school record.  Taylor signed with The University of Arkansas for her collegiate career and graduated with a B.A. in Communications.  We are happy Taylor found us after moving to Colorado.  We love having her on staff and your kids will love her too!

 

 

 

 

Cat Badillo- Junior Olympic Coach

Cathleen started diving at Mile High in 2009 after a gymnastics injury retired her from the sport. She dove there for four years, before graduating and diving at the University of Denver. Cat set the one-meter record for the program and made it to Zones her freshman and sophomore year. In 2015, at the beginning of her junior year, she was medically retired due to multiple concussions. Though the loss of the sport was upsetting, it has allowed Cat to focus on her studies as a Mechanical Engineer and get more involved in University programs. In her free time, she likes doing archery and traveling.

 

Austin Barrand- Junior Olympic Coach

Austin comes to us as one of our own, a proud Mile High graduate!  After leaving MHDC, he attended the Brigham Young University were he contined his diving career.  Eventually he found his way back to Colorado and married his beautiful wife.  We are so happy to have him with our program and teaching your children.  He is a true example to your divers.   

 

 

Saara Haapanen- Junior Olympic Coach

Saara Haapanen coached both provincial and national level divers at the Thunder Bay Diving Club in Canada from 1999-2006 (2004-2006 summers only). She dove at both the Junior and Senior national levels in Canada before receiving an athletic scholarship to dive for the Cowgirls at the University of Wyoming from 2003-2007. During her college career at Wyoming she was a 4 time First team All-MWC member, won multiple diver of the year awards, and won the Mountain West Conference Championships on 1m her senior year. She then moved to Finland to pursue her Master’s degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology, and to dive for the Finnish national team. Saara was the Finnish national champion and represented Finland at many international competitions including the 2008 World Cup. She was also the first overall alternate in the Beijing 2008 Olympics for the women’s 3m springboard event. Saara is currently pursuing her PhD in Sport Psychology. Saara is excited to be coaching again, and is thrilled to be working with kids who love the sport. 


Jeff Fisher- Junior Olympic Coach

Jeff Fisher has been coaching diving since 1989. He has coached all levels of competition from high school to Junior Olympics to collegiate, producing top competitors at the National, Regional and State levels. Jeff's collegiate diving career was spent at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio where he competed at the NCAA Division III National Competition all three of his competitive seasons. His best National finish was fourth place on 3-meter and sixth place on 1-meter. We are really lucky to have Jeff with the program again.  He is currently subbing at many of our locations.