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Meet Our Team

Holly Waters

Co-founder & Chief Fitness Officer
Fitness Alive is the brainchild of Drexel University graduate Holly Waters, a lifelong swimmer, certified personal trainer and veteran swim coach. After years working as a personal trainer at gyms in Philadelphia and New York — most recently as the aquatics director at SWEAT Fitness — she founded her own personal-training business, Fitness Alive, in 2014. She was named the 2010 Best Personal Trainer by Philadelphia magazine, and has been called the “Baby Whisperer” by local television stations for her work as an infant swim coach. (Seriously, watch her work her magic on this five-month-old baby!)  Holly has carved a niche for herself as the region’s most sought after coach for infant, children, and adult swim instruction, with over 20 years of experience helping swimmers of all ages learn to be comfortable and confident in the water. Read more about Holly's technique and philosophy at her interview on Wee Wander. Holly lives in South Philly with her husband, Mike, and puppy, Franklin. 

Emily Leaman

Co-founder & Chief Operations Officer
A health-and-fitness journalist with nearly 10 years of experience, Emily is best known for her work as the driving force behind Be Well Philly, Philadelphia magazine's popular health and fitness brand. While at the helm of Be Well, she helped create Be Well Philly Boot Camp, a sell-out fitness festival for Philadelphia-area women; founded the Be Well Philly Underground, a series of secret pop-up fitness events; and built a strong fitness community in Philadelphia that continues to thrive both on- and offline. Emily is the marketing and brand lead for Fitness Alive Swim Academy and manages day-to-day operations. She lives in South Philly with her husband, Chris, one-year-old son, Noah, and miniature pinscher, Scout.

Emily Benton

Swim Instructor
Emily has been swimming since she was a toddler! She loved the water back then — well, at least the shallow end. She wouldn't jump off a diving board or a high surface into the deep end until she was 11. But she joined a competitive swim team at the age of 10 which boosted her confidence, and the rest is history. After swimming in high school and making it to State Championships, she swam Division 1 at Loyola College in Maryland. She has worked as a lifeguard and as a swim coach throughout the years, as well. She also has experience training for open water swims. Currently, she owns a Medical Nutrition Practice in Center City and the suburbs and lives with her fiancé, Joe, and their pup, Dixon, in East Falls. 

Andrea Berger

Swim Instructor
Andrea has always loved the sun and being outside. She began swimming on a pre-competitive team at seven years old and continued through high school. She began lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons in college in the summertime and working part-time in a daycare. With a passion for working with children, she pursued her degree in Elementary Education. Unfortunately, fitness got away from her and she gained a lot of weight. In 2010, Andrea decided to change her life around and found her way back to the pool. She began training again and started working with kids again in the pool.  She now works with kids of all ages and abilities, as well as adults. Andrea also trains and competes in triathlons ranging from Sprint to Olympic to International distances. She has just completed her first half marathon and is looking forward to working towards her first Ironman 70.3. Andrea teaches fourth grade in a South Philadelphia public school. She lives in South Philly, too, with her wonderfully lazy pugs, Bella and Luna. 

Sarah Berry

Swim Instructor
Sarah Berry started swimming when she was eight years old. She joined the swim team in high school and eventually swam in college, too; her specialties were distance freestyle and butterfly. She has been teaching swim lessons and coaching swim teams since she was 15 years old, continuing after college as the lead swim instructor at a community center, where she taught mommy-and-me classes, group lessons for kids, and adult swim lessons. Although she works as a registered pediatric nurse in Wyncote by day, Sarah just can’t stay out of the pool, so she joined the Fitness Alive team to share her passion for swimming and make pool time a fun learning experience for kids and adults. She’s especially skilled in instructing stroke technique for older children and adults, and triathlon training for adult swimmers. Sarah lives in South Philly with roommates and two mischievous dogs (yes, it's a full house), and she's a HUGE Philadelphia Eagles fan. 

Aly Boyd

Swim Instructor
Aly is excited to have the opportunity to merge her love of swimming with her love of teaching! She has been swimming since she could walk and swam competitively from ages 10-18. Her specialty strokes were butterfly and freestyle. During the school year, Aly is a 2nd grade teacher and classroom mentor to student teachers. She works to foster a "can do" attitude in her students to set them up for success in and out of the pool! In her free time, Aly loves to exercise, draw, travel and read. Aly lives in South Philly with her big dog, Frankie, and her husband-to-be, Will. 

Breanna Lanz

Swim Instructor
Swimming has always been a passion for Breanna. After years of participating on swim teams, she was given the opportunity to live her passion and share it with others in 2014, when she became a swim instructor. She's a pro with babies, toddlers and elementary-age kids, helping them feel comfortable and confident in the water. She lives in South Philly with her boyfriend, Raj, and their three English bulldogs.

Mike Matteo

Swim Instructor
Mike can't remember a time when he didn't know how to swim, but truth be told he was never really in love with it. In college, he ran track and was an all-conference decathlete. His passions changed when he took a lifeguard-training course; he quickly fell in love with swimming and was even drawn to compete in triathlons. In his summers off from teaching at a local elementary school, Mike has worked at South Philly's Murphy Recreation Center teaching swimming lessons to kids. He also enjoys working with adults, from absolute beginners to triathletes-in-training. Mike was born and raised in South Philadelphia, where he currently resides with his wife, Marissa.

Heather Sassani

Swim Instructor
Since before she can remember, Heather spent her summers at Yeadon and then Folcroft Swim Clubs where she swam competitively on their swim teams. She basically lived in the water! Once she graduated from the swim team, Heather began conducting swim lessons and also served as the Assistant Swim Coach to the Folcroft Swim Team. Her favorite stroke is backstroke, but she definitely has come to love the butterfly as well. Now, Heather is a second grade teacher and tutor in South Philly, where she also does CrossFit and loves to travel. Heather is thrilled to begin offering swim lessons once again. She has a passion for working with children, but looks forward to expanding to swimmers of all ages!

Meghan Smith

Swim Instructor
As a member of a summer swim team since age six, a high school swimmer and a triathlete, Meghan has always loved swimming. She has also enjoyed lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons to kids for the past several years. Upon starting college, she found her passion for triathlon and open-water swimming. With guidance from her triathlon coach, Meghan has honed her ability to teach adult swimming techniques, from beginner to competition level. She is now studying exercise physiology and nutrition at Drexel University, where she competes on the triathlon team. She has a passion for research and fitness and lives in West Philly with two of her best friends.

Christy Snyder

Swim Instructor
Christy swam on her hometown pool’s club team from age 11 on, and was also a part of her high school's inaugural swim team. Christy taught lessons, coached, and guarded throughout her teenage and college years. She joined the Fitness Alive's Masters Swim class in 2017 and reunited with her love for water! Christy is excited to join the Fitness Alive team and can’t wait to work with students of all ages. Christy studied English at the University of South Carolina, and is earning a pastry arts degree from The Restaurant School. She works in publishing by day, and loves baking, writing, and traveling.

Mallory Sullivan

Swim Instructor
Mallory has been a fish from the start! She's worked as a lifeguard for 7+ years at her hometown pool and at Temple University. She has given swim lessons for five years to students of all ages and abilities, and loves diving in with her students. Mallory also works in digital marketing, loves fitness, is a vocalist and plays the ukulele and bass guitar.