Competitive Coaching Staff
DACA Director Pete Raykovich is widely known for developing and managing DACA into one of the most comprehensive aquatic programs in the United States. As a swimming coach, Coach Raykovich has been renowned for far longer, with credentials exceptional in both diversity of experience and consistency of accomplishment.
He has been selected as a USA National coach on numerous occasions and has served as a Mentor Coach for the USA National Junior Team. He has twice been awarded Pacific Swimming's George Haines Senior Coach of the Year and holds ASCA Level 5 certification, the highest level attainable.
Prior to his career at DACA, he was the Head Coach of Indian Valley Novato Aquatics and the Head Coach of the University of Tennessee Women’s Swim and Dive Team.
Under the direction of Coach Raykovich, DACA Teams and swimmers have been a fixture at the United States Olympic Trials, the National Championships, the Junior National Championships, and the US Open. In addition to numerous Top Ten, 14, and 20 team placements at those championship meets, DACA Teams have won Team titles at the Junior Nationals, the Speedo Sections, and the United States Futures competitions.
Mr. Raykovich has coached athletes that have represented the United States and other countries at every major swimming championship including the Olympic Games, World Championships, World University Games, and Pan Pacific Championships. Under his leadership, DACA has built a reputation for consistently developing elite young athletes that make an impact representing the United States on National Youth Teams. DACA student - athletes have been accepted to and have earned college swimming scholarships at every prominent school in the United States. Collegiate and High School Academic All - Americans from DACA make the honor roll every year.
Coach Raykovich' philosophy, in and out of the water, is one that allows the ambitious student - athlete to excel both in the pool and in the classroom. In this philosophy, goals and preparation must match and athletes are taught and expected to budget their time effectively. The ability to tailor a program for individual achievements in combination with team goals makes DACA's National Team a special place to train.
In addition to his coaching duties, Raykovich participates actively in swimming legislation and political bodies. Most recently, being elected to a three year term serving on the Coaches Advisory Committee of United States Swimming.
Coach Annie Stein has spent 15 years with DACA, bringing with her extensive national and international swimming experience. Since beginning with DACA in the fall of 2007, Annie’s athletes have seen much success, including Junior Olympic and Far Western finals and championships, Pacific Swimming records, national age group top – 10 times, and Pacific Swimming All-Star selection. Her favorite thing about coaching is seeing her athletes achieve goals they have worked hard for and watching them grow up and do awesome things in high school, college, and beyond.
Prior to joining the DACA staff, Annie enjoyed a swimming career spanning 17 years. A senior national qualifier at age 13, Annie was a 2-time Olympic Trials competitor, finishing 9th in the 400 IM and 11th in the 800 Free in 2000. The 1999 Junior National West High Point winner and Colorado Female Swimmer of the Year, Annie is the holder of 2 Junior West and more than 10 Colorado state records. She was a multi-time finalist at the United States Senior Nationals, finishing a career high 4th in the 1500 in 2001, and 2nd in the Open Water 5K event in 2000, earning her a spot on the 2000 Open Water World Championship Team. Annie went on to finish 8th in the 5K at the 2000 Open Water World Championships and earn bronze medals in the 400 IM and 1500 free at the 2001 Australian Youth Olympic Festival as a member of the United States National Junior Team.
After graduating from Germantown Academy as a multi-time High School All-American, Annie attended the University of Michigan on a swimming scholarship, where she scored each year at the Big Ten Championship and had the honor of working with legendary coaches Bob Bowman, Jon Urbanchek, and Jim Richardson. After co-captaining the Wolverines, and serving as Vice-President for the Michigan Student Athlete Advisory Council as a senior, Annie, along with her fellow senior women, was awarded the Frank E. Barnhard Award for Leadership in 2007. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management.
Off the deck, Annie is highly involved in LSC Leadership. She has worked on the Pacific Swimming Staff as Meet Management Coordinator since 2014, and served on multiple committees at both the Zone and LSC level. She was selected as part of the prestigious American Swim Coaches Association Fellows Class in 2013.
Coach Jennifer Popp joined DACA as an instructor at our swim school in 2009. Her role continued to grow over the course of a decade, becoming an Operations Supervisor and Safety Coordinator while also supervising Pre-Competitive. In 2020, all DACA’s programming shifted outdoors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, Coach Jennifer realized she liked to be outside and had a desire to further her aquatics knowledge, resulting in becoming a Competitive coach in 2021.
Prior to Coach Jennifer’s time at DACA, she spent many years in and around water, starting with swim lessons at three years old. As a teenager, Jennifer returned to where she learned to swim as a swim instructor and was also a member of her high school swim team all four years. Jennifer then worked as a lifeguard and aquatics instructor for Easter Seals teaching a variety of aquatic classes and swim lessons for individuals with disabilities.
Jennifer’s coaching philosophy is to make sure her students know they are supported and that she cares about their journey. She wants to ensure her students learn the fundamentals, but also likes to educate them as to why they are being taught in a specific way.
In addition to coaching, Jennifer teaches group fitness classes (dance, strength, and martial arts style) and is a personal trainer. She uses this knowledge to ensure her students are using the correct muscles when swimming to not only make their strokes better and more efficient, but most importantly to make them safe and prevent injury.
Jennifer is also an American Red Cross Lifeguarding Instructor and certifies many of DACA’s coaches and swim school staff in First Aid, CPR, Coaches Safety Training, and Lifeguarding.
Outside of DACA, Jennifer loves to dance, Disney, and improve her fitness.
Coach Julie Watkins joined DACA in December 2022 bringing with her a wealth of swimming knowledge and experience. Julie began swimming at eight years old participating with both a summer league until age 16 and with a USA Swimming club though high school in Northern Virginia. While at Oakton High School, Julie was a four-year member of the swim team which won districts and regionals multiple times. Individually, Julie qualified for the state meet each year and served as team captain her senior year. While attending Florida State University, Julie participated in inter-mural swimming.
Professionally, Julie coached 5-14 year olds at Osprey Aquatics in San Jose from 2012-2022. Prior to that, Julie taught American Red Cross and Swim America programs in Northern Virginia, coached for a summer league in Fairfax, VA, and taught swim lessons at a recreation center in St. Charles, IL, and a YMCA in Fort Mill, SC.
Coach Julie hopes to create a positive environment where each swimmer can have fun in a safe and encouraging setting. She challenges her swimmers to help them reach their fullest potential and loves to see their growth in and out of the pool. She believes proper swimming technique and teaching a growth mindset will help them embrace their mistakes allowing them to learn from them and become better swimmers.
When she’s not coaching, Julie still finds herself at the pool as she is on a Masters swim team in Almaden. She also enjoys running.
Coach Julie is a mom to two kids. Her son goes to Baylor University and her daughter will attend University of Central Florida in the fall. She loves to travel and explore new places with her husband and children.
Coach Taylor Starkweather joined DACA in the fall of 2022 with a passion for working and being in and around the water. Her childhood memories consist of warm summers swimming in her backyard pool with her sisters where she learned to swim at the age of three years old. While her parents weren’t familiar with the sport of swimming, they taught the importance of water safety and knew swimming would not only make her and her sisters stronger but help build their confidence in and out of the water. By the age of eight years old Taylor began swimming competitively, which she continued for the next 10 years.
In high school, Taylor was on the varsity team and competed primarily in backstroke and freestyle. In those four years she set league records in the 100 freestyle, won league championships as a team, and qualified for state sections. After her freshman year of high school, she decided to offer private summer swim lessons. To help build her clientele, her mom posted the lesson opportunities to her Facebook. What she thought would be a few hours of lessons each morning turned into a full day of lessons throughout the summer. She has since taught swimmers as young as 11 months old to 43 years old how to swim. She has also taught multiple students with special needs and disabilities.
Following high school, Taylor attended San Diego State University where she studied at Fowler Business School, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. While in San Diego, Taylor worked for Peace of Mind Swimming, teaching private swim lessons and lifeguarding private events. Her role grew to incorporate her degree becoming the Marketing Coordinator where she was able to create and lead a marketing strategy to help spread knowledge and build awareness on the importance of water and pool safety.
Taylor moved from San Diego to the Bay Area in August 2022. In addition to coaching for DACA, she continues to teach private swim lessons and coaches 6th-8th grade students at Girls Middle School in Palo Alto. Coach Taylor likes to create a positive and structured environment where swimmers have the opportunity to learn and build confidence in the sport. She hopes to encourage her swimmers to be the best version of themselves in and out of the pool.
Coach Alberto Sigismondi joined DACA’s coaching staff in December 2019 as what he describes as the perfect continuation of his own swimming experiences. After learning to swim at three years old, Alberto swam on club teams throughout his childhood, during college, and later on Masters teams. He currently trains open water swimming for triathlons.
Alberto’s coaching style consists of workouts and technique which are more endurance driven. He believes in helping his swimmers develop a growth mindset, teaching them that every choice has a consequence, especially in this sport. He finds coaching to be very fulfilling as he gets to witness his athletes improve not only in their swimming, but their day-to-day lives.
When not on the pool deck coaching DACA’s Senior Select group, Coach Alberto is the father to two children, and he works full time as a Software Product Manager. He also finds time amidst his busy schedule to write a weekly newsletter on Substack on how to help small business owners to scale their products.
Coach Christian Bonner is a highly accomplished coach with extensive experience in the swimming community. He has been involved with the DACA program since 1999 and has worked with athletes of all levels, ranging from learn to swim 6-month-old water babies to senior-level swimmers. His coaching expertise has helped numerous athletes achieve their goals in the sport of swimming.
At Saratoga High School, Christian serves as the head swimming coach and has achieved outstanding success since 2008. His high school athletes have broken multiple SCVAL, CCS, and State records, with many of them achieving national recognition as both NISCA All-American and Academic All-American status. In 2009, the Saratoga Men's Swimming Team finished 2nd at CCS and was named the United States Mythical High School National Champion by Swimming World Magazine. That year, Saratoga swimmers captured six individual CCS titles and two relay titles, and the national public high school record-setting 400 Free Relay. In 2015 Saratoga also broke 2 individual CIF State Championship records that held for the next 4 years.
In addition to his work at Saratoga High School, Christian is also an accomplished club coach. His club athletes have achieved significant success, with many of them becoming Far Western and JO Champions. Multiple athletes have also reached top 8 finalist positions at CCS and sectionals, and have achieved top 16 finalist positions at Junior Nationals. Christian's expertise and dedication have helped his athletes achieve their goals and reach their full potential in the sport of swimming.
Apart from coaching, Christian is also a professional ceramic artist specializing in tea ceremony ceramics and traditional Japanese restoration techniques. He is highly regarded for his work in these areas and is considered an expert in his field. In 2022 he was awarded 2nd place at the Tea Bowl National Ceramic Exhibition in Kansas City.
Christian holds a Bachelor's degree in anthropology from San Jose State University and a Master's degree from New York University. He worked for 2 years at the Brooklyn Museum's Asian Art Department and traveled to Japan to serve as an Artist in Residence in 2005. Currently, he is a member of the staff in the Creative Arts Department at De Anza College, where he has been employed since 2008. Christian previously taught Gallery and Exhibition Design and currently serves as the ceramic technician.
Christian resides in San Jose with his wife Jamie, whom he met swimming for Pete Raykovich at De Anza College, and their daughter Crimson. With his impressive track record as a coach, his expertise in ceramics and restoration techniques, and his college teaching experience Christian is a well-rounded and multifaceted individual who has made significant contributions to the swimming community and beyond.
A Bay Area native, Coach Ray Laughlin brings nearly 30 years of coaching experience to the DACA Competitive Coaching Staff. Coach Ray begin his coaching career with the Pinole Seals in 1986 before moving on to coach at Valley Vista from 1989-1991. 2001-2008 marked Coach Ray’s first stint with DACA, before spending 7 years as an age group coach at Burlingame Aquatic Club, and returning to DACA in 2015.
As a swimmer himself, Coach Ray competed for the Pinole Seals from 1974-1987, excelling as a breaststroker. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from San Francisco State University in 1992.
Ray coaches his athletes with the philosophy that “If they have fun they will come again tomorrow. If they come again tomorrow, they will get better.”
Coach Ray resides in Pinole and has two children (Gabrielle, 24, and Jack, 15).
Coach Mike Allegretti joined the DACA staff in 2000 with a strong athletic background and passion for coaching. After working with all levels of the DACA program, Mike began with the Competitive Team in 2003, working with athletes of all ages and abilities. His swimmers have seen incredible success, capturing Junior Olympic Championship titles and National top-16 honors, as well as appearances in Junior Olympic and Far Western Championship finals.
A multi-sport athlete at Pioneer High School, Mike participated in swimming, water polo, and soccer. In the pool, he was a CCS qualifier as a senior in 200 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly, and a Far Western qualifier for former DACA coach Bill Thompson at San Jose Aquatics. He then moved on to De Anza College, where he captured Coast Conference Championship titles in the 200 and 1650 Freestyles. Mike was equally successful on the soccer field, helping Pioneer to a CCS title as a junior. Named most inspirational and most dedicated athlete several years, he served as Captain his senior year, leading his team to a runner up finish in the CCS Playoffs.
After earning his Associates degree at De Anza College, Mike moved on to San Jose State University where he earned his Bachelors of Science in Aviation Operations. Since earning his degree, he has continued his training and education at the former Delta Flight School, where he was certified as a flight instructor and earned his commercial license for single and multi-engine aircraft.
In addition to coaching with DACA, Mike also coaches water polo and swimming for Saratoga High School. Coach Mike has a strong belief “that you get out what you are willing to put in. There is no ‘magic pill.’ You have to set your goals and to the work to achieve them.”