Meet Our Team

 

Holly Waters

Co-founder + Chief Fitness Officer

Holly Waters

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 Wallingford with her husband, Mike; daughter, Michele; and puppy, Franklin.

Emily Leaman

Co-founder + Chief Operations Officer

Emily Leaman

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; son, Noah; and miniature pinscher, Scout.

 

OUR COACHES

Laura Begley

Swim Instructor

Andrea Berger

Swim Instructor

Andrea Berger

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.

Liz Callan

Swim Instructor

Liz Callan

Liz has been in the pool since she was six months old and has loved swimming ever since! She joined the summer swim team at age 6, a winter swim team around age 10, and was swimming year round until she left for college. During her time at Rutgers, she was a lifeguard and swam on a master's team. Since then, has participated in triathlons, swim lessons focusing on infants and toddlers, and coached the local Special Olympics swim team. Her passion (and patience) for her swimmers transcends into her home life with her two kiddos, Rosie (2.5) and Jack (6 months). Liz is thrilled to be a part of the Fitness Alive team! Liz loves entertaining and being by the water. She currently lives in South Jersey with her husband and two kids.

Claire Canestrino

Swim Instructor

Claire Canestrino

Growing up in California, Claire loved to spend her free time swimming. She started to swim competitively when she was five years old and has not left the pool since. Claire started playing water polo about eight years ago and she absolutely fell in love with the sport. When she moved to Philadelphia for school, she joined the Penn water polo team. Claire spent the last four summers working as a lifeguard and swim instructor. She has taught children and adults of all ages and experience levels. She loves to watch her swimmers improve and grow more confident in their swim abilities. Claire is studying business at the University of Pennsylvania and loves to explore Philly in her free time.

Emelia Carmody

Swim Instructor

Emelia Carmody

Emelia has been swimming for as long as she can remember. Growing up on Long Island she spend as much time as she could in her backyard pool and swimming at the YMCA. She began lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons at 15 and fell in love with it. Throughout high school, college, and post-grad she always found herself being drawn back to pools and teaching. She's a pro with beginners, toddlers and elementary-aged swimmers. When she's not in the pool Emelia enjoys cooking, reading, and planning weekend road trips with her boyfriend Nick.

Emily Chau

Swim Instructor

Emily Corbett

Swim Instructor

Emily Corbett

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.

Josie Cuda

Swim Instructor

Josie Cuda

Beginning at the young age of six, Josie always enjoyed the water and joined the local swim team. After years of successful high school and club team experiences, she was recruited to swim for Florida State University where she completed all four years with an accomplished collegiate career. While attending school, Josie was able to teach swim lessons and coach on the Club Seminole swim team, working with groups ages six to 12. After she graduated in 2016, she earned her personal training and nutrition certification and has been employed as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for over one year, building her client base and experience in the field. Swimming has been such an important part of her life, and she is excited to be in Philly teaching kids the sport she loves!

Jessica Geiger

Swim Instructor

Jessica Geiger

Water has always been a part of Jess' life. As a child, she ventured to South Carolina every summer with her family where she was introduced to the ocean, pools, and the wonderful world of swimming. Jess was an avid recreational swimmer throughout her childhood, joining the high school swim team in 9th grade. In addition to the swim team, she was a member of the water polo club, worked as a lifeguard, and taught toddler and Pre-K swim lessons. While receiving her bachelor's degree at Temple University, her love of water extended to the classroom where she even took a scuba diving class! Apart from water activities, Jess has an extensive background working with children of all ages. She has been a babysitter and nanny for over 10 years, specializing in multiples, infants, and toddlers. Jess's previous volunteer experience at CHOP has allowed her to work with children from infants to age 18 with a spectrum of abilities, needs, and unique circumstances. Her patience and compassion sets her apart and allows her to connect with any child. In addition to childcare, Jess runs her own design company, Geiger Designs, which specializes in wedding stationary, calligraphy, party invitations, and custom graphic design. She lives in South Philly with her husband, Justin; cat, Ollie; and turtles, Squirt and Samsonite.

Julia Holland

Swim Instructor

Julia Holland

Julia has lived and "breathed" water since she was an infant. In addition to swimming competitively for 12 years, she also has held every aquatic job in the book! Beginning as a lifeguard and then pool manager during her school years, Julia also made time to organize and teach both group and private swim lessons. After college, she spent a few years coaching ages 8-18 with Hatboro-Horsham Aquatic Club. As she pursued and grew a career in finance, she was able to keep her skills fresh by helping friends train for triathlons. The pursuit of happiness recently led Julia to make a career change, and she couldn't feel better about it... because it means more time in the pool!

Callie Jones

Swim Instructor

Breanna Lanz

Swim Instructor +
Social Media Manager

Breanna Lanz

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.

Jessica Mancuso

Swim Instructor

Jessica Mancuso

Jessica started swimming when she was three years old. She took lessons at the Belmont Hills Pool as a kid and swam every summer racing all the other kids in the pool; her specialties include freestyle and breaststroke. She has been teaching swim since she was 16 years old starting at the YMCA, where she taught group classes and Mommy-and-Me. Similarly, Jessica was known as the 'Aqua Tot Queen' at the Belmont Hills Pool, where she enjoyed teaching babies how to easily transition into the water for the first time. Jessica taught privately at AFC Fitness (Aqua Hab) in Bala Cynwyd right before she moved to Los Angeles where she taught at Hall Swim Academy under Bebe Hall. Jessica enjoys scary movies, playing tennis, cooking and hanging out with family.

Mike Matteo

Swim Instructor

Mike Matteo

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, and daughter Violet.

Nate McManus

Swim Instructor

Nate McManus

Since the age of four, Nate has always had a curiosity in swimming and all things related to water. As a member of his local YMCA, Nate grew up with swim clubs and various other water activities which only sparked his interest even more.Not only was he apart of his high school swimming and diving team but his first job was being a lifeguard at his community recreation center. Throughout his six seasons at his community pool, Nate was promoted in teaching swim lessons daily to even eventually being a manager for the majority of his time at the local pool. In other positions, Nate has been a day camp counselor and overnight camp counselor for multiple summers with various age groups. And as of last May, Nate is a recent college graduate with a Bachelor's Degree, majoring in English and minoring in Education.

Heather Sassani

Swim Instructor

Heather Sassani

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!

Christy Snyder

Swim Instructor

Christy Snyder

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 Sullivan

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.