Our Coaches

Jack Perkins - Founder and Volunteer Head Coach

Jack began his career as a diving coach in 1992 and has experience coaching at all levels, from beginners through elite.  His extensive experience includes being the NCAA Division 1 Diving Coach at DU, a National Team Coach for Puerto Rico, Team Leader and Head Coach for Team USA at the Dresden Youth International Diving Meet in Germany, and he has been a USA Diving Junior National Team Coach since 2016.

Jack’s divers have won many accolades including earning the opportunity to compete in the Junior Canadian-American Championships, British Elite Championships, Junior Pan American Games*, Junior World Championships, numerous FINA Grand Prix*, World Univeristy Games*, FINA World Cup, US Olympic Trials for close to two decades, and NCAA National Championships, including a diver that in his freshman year broke the Divinsion I NCAA 10 meter record and won NCAA's.  Additionally, over 100 of Jack’s athletes have gone on to earn college diving scholarships, many at arguably the most prestigious diving universities in America.  

Off the pool deck, Jack has been very active with USA Diving, Inc. where we was formerly the Acting CEO (2018-2019), Treasurer on the Board of Directors (2016-2018), Chair of the Junior Rules Committee (2012-2016), as well as a member of the Junior Subcommittee to the Committee for Competitive Excellence (2012-2016), the Finance and Audit Committee (2007-2016), the Governance and Elections Committee (2009-2012), and was the Chair of the Rocky Mountain Diving Association (2008-2018). 

Along with his diving activities, Jack has been a business consultant and mining industry professional since 2000.  He is the founder several businesses and has served on numerous Boards of Directors for non-profit organizations, locally and nationally.  Previous to earning an MBA from DU, Jack studied East Asian Philosophy and Religious Studies at George Mason University.  

*denotes a medal won at International competition


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 a 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 into National Champions, who have been selected for the USA National Team, who have gone on to represent the USA at various international competitions as well as Olympic Trials, and has aided in securing college scholarships for over a hundred and fifty MHDC divers.  Jenn was a Team USA coach at Junior Pan-Am Championships in Chile where her MHDC diver won a gold and silver medal.  Also, she was named a senior Team USA coach for a FINA Grand Prix meet in Rostock, Germany.  Recently, she was Team Leader for Team USA at the inagural Pan-Am Games in Colombia where her MHDC diver won a gold and bronze medal.  In her free time, Jenn is an avid skier and loves to travel with her devoted husband and incredible daughter.


Troy Birdsall - Office Administrator and Junior Olympic Coach

Troy comes to MHDC from Morgantown, WV where he earned a Master of Science degree in Coaching and Sport Education. He was also the graduate assistant for the West Virginia University Swimming and Diving program for the 2017-18 & 2018-19 competitive seasons. During his time at WVU, Troy aided in day-to-day coaching division 1 divers, meet management, prospective-student-athlete recruitment, practice planning, student-athlete time management. For the two years at WVU, Troy contributed to coaching 18 NCAA Zone qualifying athletes and 9 zone finalists. He was also the assistant coach for the West Virginia Diving Club. Prior to West Virginia University, Birdsall was a three-time NCAA Zone finalist diver at the University at Buffalo and two-time medalist in the Mid Atlantic Conference from 2014-17.


Averly Hobbs - Junior Olympic Coach

Averly came to us as a little girl and was part of the MHDC family for 9 years before earning a scholarship to dive at a Division I diving program.  During her time with Mile High, Averly was a multi-time Junior and Senior National qualifier and excelled at platform.  Averly had an amazing college career on the West Virginia University diving team and graduated while studying social work and Spanish.  She is so happy to be able to give back to the program that gave her a start at diving and ultimately the opportunity to pursue her dreams of being paid to be a collegiate athlete.  She is so excited to be coaching with MHDC and is looking forward to being able to coach your children.  


Charlie Clifton- Junior Olympic Coach

Charlie is originally from Nashville!  He dove with Middle Tennessee Diving under Tim Jones and was a two-time state champion and an All-American from 2012-2016.  He placed 6th at USA Diving Nationals in 2016 on 1-meter.  From there, Charlie went on to dive at the University of Georgia where he qualified for NCAA championships in 2017 on both 1m and 3m springboards and competed at the SEC Championships his freshman and sophomore year on springboard and platform.  His collegiate athletic career ended when he medically DQ'd his senior year which led to the birth of his coaching career as he became the graduate assistant coach for the University of Georgia under 2012 Olympian Chris Colwill.  Charlie graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Sports Management, and also holds a Master’s degree in Science of Education, with an emphasis in Sports management and Policy.  Charlie recently moved out to Colorado in January of 2022 for a new job in software sales.  We are very fortunate to have Charlie on our staff and can see how he enriches the lives of your children with his positive energy! 

Sharon Finn- Junior Olympic Coach

Sharon grew up diving for San Antonio Divers with Allison Huntress and Craig Nolder after doing many years of gymnastics.  She went on to dive for the University of Missouri with Jamie Sweeney who is still very much a role model to her to this day.  Sharon had a successful collegiate career finishing 3rd on 3m and 4th on 1m at 2012 Big XII Championships.  She graduated with a nursing degree in 2013 and returned to Texas where she coached diving, and also became a personal trainer while being a pediatric nurse.  She currently works as a Peds RN here in town and is preparing for the nurse practitioner boards soon.  We are grateful to have Sharon as part of our village!


Salvatore "Sal" Marino- Junior Olympic Coach

Sal comes to us from Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in Louisville, Colorado. Sal has been diving for 10 years and dove in summer league, high school, and club before becoming a dive coach. During his senior year he qualified for the 2016 Ohio High School Athletic Association state championship meet. He has been coaching for over 5 years at the high school level and has dedicated his life to introducing new divers to the sport and inspiring existing ones. Sal earned his Bachelor's degree in biology with a focus in botany from the University of CIncinnati. As a botanist he has completed studies in the Piper genus (black pepper), goldenrod, and digital herbarium specimens and is an expert in indeterminate vine tomato crops. Outside of diving he has a passion for the outdoors. Sal hopes to teach and inspire divers one splash at a time. 

Connor Brauch- Junior Olympic Coach 

Connor began his diving career with a local rec team and fell in love with the sport and wanted to grow more as a diver and an athlete.  He joined Mile High Dive Club and fell deeper in love with the sport.  Connor was offered a scholarship to dive at the University of Cincinnati where he was going to study medicine.  After a change of heart, he moved home to Colorado and is finishing his education at Metropolitan State University where he is studying Finance Management and Business Management.  We are so lucky to have Connor, his positive attitude, compassionate nature, and ability to work with all levels of kids add to each practice!


Brayden Schachle- Junior Olympic Coach

Brayden grew up in Wasilla, Alaska.  He started diving at the age of 16 after doing three years of gymnastics.  He trained at Mile High Dive Club for his last semester of high school before receiving a scholarship to dive at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he competed both springboard and platform.  Brayden also trained and worked at Ripfest Diving Academy for a year, in Arcadia, Indiana.  Brayden graduated with a pre-law degree in legal studies and philosophy, as he plans to go onto law school in the future.  Brayden began coaching his high school dive team 5 years ago and has done so every time he has had the chance to go back to Alaska!  He enjoys helping kids achieve their goals and full potential in and out of the pool.


Zora Opalka- Junior Olympic Coach

Zora grew up on a small island off the coast of Seattle. After realizing swimming was too boring, she began diving for fun with a small Rec program.  After spending summers doing dive camps, she fell in love with the sport and worked hard to become the Washington state champion.  She went on to dive for the University of Denver where she currently holds the school record on 1m and Platform.  During 2020, she trained with Ripfest Diving Academy where she earned the opportunity to represent her country of dual citizenship, Slovakia.  She has competed in two Grand Prix (Canada, Bolzano) as well as European Championships and invitationals in Austria and the Czech Republic.  Zora helped coach at Ripfest and has experience coaching high school teams in Washington.  She is pursuing her Master’s degree in Business Marketing at DU.  She has found so much joy in accomplishing goals in diving and can’t wait to extend the love of the sport to everyone she works with!


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.


Jordan Harris- Junior Olympic Coach

Jordan comes to us from Penn State University, where he competed 1m and 3m springboard, and graduated with a Bachelors in Recreation Management.  Jordan dove for the Pitt Aquatic Club as his USA Diving club in 1m, 3m and platform, and competed in high school diving where he won four District Championships, and two State Championships.  After competitive diving at Penn State, Jordan went on to perform in Cirque style diving shows all over the world.  His most recent show was the Guangzhou International Circus in Guangzhou China, and the Ocean Park diving/sea world show in Dalian China.  Jordan brings over 10 years of competition diving and coaching experience to MHDC.  He is always smiling and really loves to see the kids learn!


Allison Thomas- Junior Olympic Coach

Allison grew up in Kansas and dove for 12 years before coaching with Kansas Diving. As a USA Diving club diver, she competed in eleven national championship meets and was the 2012 Kansas 6A state champion in high school. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a Sports Management degree in May and worked with the Kansas Women’s Swimming and Diving team as their student Sport Information Director. Allison coached with a summer league for 5 separate summers as well as with a USA Diving club team since 2015. She is passionate about diving and loves to encourage people to challenge themselves in the sport!



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!