As soon as the gates of Lahaina Aquatic Center opened to the public in the summer of 1992, a corps group of Lahaina parents banded together to form Lahaina Swim Club. The Club began with seven swimmers, all under 10 years old. We have steadily grown to 70+ members today, ranging in age from five-year-old Learn-to-Swim athletes through high school-aged young adults.
Coach Tom has an extensive background in competitive swimming. He earned a swimming scholarship to Villanova University in Pennsylvania, and after completing his studies there he embarked upon a coaching career that has spanned more than twenty years. Tom has coached at Division I Temple University and the University of Virginia, as well as at an Olympic-level team in Mission Bay, Florida. He has coached the Lahainaluna High School swim team since 1994, and Lahaina Swim Club since 1995. In addition, Tom has individually completed numerous marathon swims on the East Coast, and he successfully swam the English Channel in 1983.
Coach Ericka's involvement with the Lahaina Swim Club dates back to 2004, the year her sons joined the team. Under the mentorship of coach Tom Popdan, she has served as a USA Swimming Coach since 2007. Her experience working with children includes training in Montessori style teaching methods and working as a certified baby swimming instructor for the Life-Style Swim School in Boca Raton, Florida with world-renowned instructors, Rob, and Kathy McKay. Ericka loves living life with a passion for the water! She is a certified scuba instructor and has sailed all over the world. Growing up, she was a competitive high school swimmer and spent her summers on swim club teams. So, after earning her BA degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado and having a love for water sports and the ocean, the decision to make Maui her perfect and permanent home was easy. Ericka has a deep love for children and swimming and is proud to be part of the Lahaina Swim Club teaching 'Ohana!
Coach Kirsten grew up competing in Washington State and her love of fast swimming and sunshine led her to swim collegiately at UCLA. As a Bruin, she competed at US Nationals and Olympic Trials, while earning a degree in Applied Mathematics. She then followed her passion for all things learning to Scottsdale, Arizona where she has spent the last two years as a teacher and swim coach at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy. 2013 was Coach Kirsten’s first summer with Lahaina Swim Club, which immediately became a second family. Here she finds great joy in working with athletes of all ages to achieve goals they at first may feel to be just beyond their reach.
Coach Jen's beginnings were as a member of her high school swimming and sailing team. Ocean racing is what led her to the Islands and eventually making Maui her permanent home. Once she settled in warm waters, she acquired her Captain's license and worked as a professional Boat Captain for 10 years and ran a Charter Boat company with her husband for 22 years. After earning her BA in Liberal Arts, she began to focus on family. But raising two boys involved in swimming surfaced her history and passion the sport and she made the decision to begin teaching. With 20 years of involvement with the swimming community on Maui, she has been coaching on deck for the past 9 years, including 8 at Lahainaluna, Coach Jen is truly a treasured member of the Lahaina Swim Club!
The Lahaina Swim Club trains at the Lahaina Aquatic Center, a Maui County facility. Located in beautiful Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, this modern swim stadium features an Olympic size pool with state of the art filtering systems. Average water temperatures of 80 degrees and above assure the optimum for training conditions, as well as relaxation and overall conditioning for our athletes. With ample room for families and friends, the Lahaina Aquatic Center is an ideal venue for the athletes’ workouts, competitions and aquatic get-togethers.