SDRC Staff & Coaches

SDRC Staff

Chris Callaghan
Executive Director

Chris grew up outside Portland, OR was a walk on at Oregon State in the Fall of 2000. He rowed 4 years at OSU, 1 year a Vesper, and 4 years with the National Team. Chris was a coach at Mercer Juniors for 3 years while training. After retiring from training, he moved back to the West Coast a,d joined SDRC in the summer of 2010. Once at SDRC, Chris Ran the Juniors Program and Coached the Varsity Men for 4 years. He has since been at the helm of SDRC and also runs the San Diego Fall Classic.

Patrick Kington
Director of Rowing, Jrs Program Director, Varsity Women's Head Coach

Patrick started rowing in 1996 and has been coaching since 2004. He has coached at the scholastic, junior, collegiate, and international level. Kington has coached at SDRC since 2014, and has worked with the novice men, varsity men, and varsity women, becoming head coach of SDRC in 2017 and the varsity women in 2018. In that time, he has coached the masters team to an Overall National Championship and the varsity women to medals at USRowing Youth Nationals. Athletes from the varsity women's squad have gone on to win gold and silver medals for TeamUSA at the U19 World Championships, and he also coached Blake Haxton to a silver medal at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

Aivars Yanmers

Aivars Yanmers


JoAnn Vallese, M.Ed, NCC
Corporate Team Building and Leadership Development Program

JoAnn holds a Masters of Education in Counseling and has over 25 years experience in clinical counseling as well as over a decade of experience in training and development. She began rowing at The Baldwin School in Philadelphia out of Bachelor's Barge Boathouse. After a successful high school rowing career she came to San Diego to attend the University of San Diego and became a coxswain for the men's crew. She has been a part of San Diego Rowing Club post college/graduate school as a coxswain/coach for master rowers. JoAnn began the Corporate Team Building and Leadership Development Program combining her passion for rowing, counseling, small group facilitation and training. She also is currently an Assistant Director at The University of San Diego supporting Division 1 athletes.

SDRC Coaches

Chad Cunningham
Masters Coach


Muara Dahl
Development Team Coach

Maura began coaching at San Diego Rowing Club after taking on the Middle School team in January 2023. Her rowing career started at the University of Minnesota in 2014 when her novice coach stopped her during welcome week and told her “You NEED to row”. Since then, rowing has taken her to incredible regattas all across the country as a D1, Club, and now Masters rower. She began coaching learn to row sessions in 2016 and transitioned to Youth and Adult Novice coaching at Minneapolis Rowing Club in 2018, just a couple of strokes down river of her original boathouse. She has now been coaching the Development Masters here at SDRC since October 2023 and loves the energy they bring every practice.

Chris Anderson
Jedi Team Coach

Michelle Nielsen
Masters Coach

Michelle began coaching at San Diego Rowing Club in 2022, and she has brought with her a vast amount of coaching experience at the High School, Collegiate and Club levels. She began her rowing career at Grand Valley State University where she was a member of the lightweight women’s team that won the first ever Midwest Championship and Dad Vail Championship for Grand Valley. When she graduated, she continued with the team as a coach. Along the way, she continued to row competitively for a Wyandotte Boat Club, Rocky Mountain Rowing Club, Capital Rowing Club and Beat Cancer Boat Club earning multiple National Championship, Canadian Henley, Crew Classic and Head of the Charles medals. Along with the other members of SDRC’s coaching team, she has helped the Masters Team learn the art of rowing, competing, and winning lots of hardware.

Tracy Falkenthal
Masters & Summer HP Coach

Tracy began rowing at 16 years old at Berkeley High in California. In the 40+ years since, the journey has taken her through Boston University, Marin, Coeur de Alene and Austin, and has included memberships in both Chinook and Endeavor traveling teams. Tracy’s professional career includes 20 year firefighter/paramedic, 16 year Army National Guard member, pro body builder and personal trainer. Recognizing the opportunities afforded such a diverse background, Tracy has capitalized by carefully blending select elements and disciplines of her unique experiences together resulting in her signature Level 3 coaching style. As a masters athlete, Tracy has taken gold at UK Henley, FISA World, and on four occasions at Head of the Charles. Before relocating to San Diego, Tracy most recently coached U23 and HP programs at Texas Rowing Center, as well as bringing home the first Junior Men’s National Championship in Texas History.

Glenn Schweighardt
Group & Individual Lessons


Sam Stitt
Group and Individual Lessons