Aquatics Programs 
for the 
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Community and Beyond!

Daniel Budin

Coach Dan is the director and head coach of Heights Tigersharks. He and his wife, Cassie, are lifelong residents of Cleveland Heights and graduates of Cleveland Heights High School. Dan and the Tigersharks staff have vast experience in aquatics programming and management, including highly successful Learn-to-Swim and youth sports programs, and have been recognized for their work at numerous area facilities. Dan is the head coach of the Cleveland Heights High School team and oversees all Tigersharks programming.

Article: "Tigersharks Make Big Splash to Provide Swimming Opportunities..."


Erika Gifford

Coach Erika is the associate director and lead age-group coach for Heights Tigersharks. Erika swam for Cleveland Heights High School and Cumberland summer programs and has been coaching the Tigersharks for the past four years. She is a published author and graduate student at the University of Findlay. Erika is a skilled and experienced aquatics supervisor, leading successful and highly-respected Learn-to-Swim and staff training programs in addition to her love of coaching young swimmers.


Stephen Walker

Mr. Walker is the director of outreach and developmental programs for Heights Tigersharks. He has extensive nonprofit experience and a proven record of success in connecting with and mentoring youths. Mr. Walker holds positions with the City of Cleveland Heights, CH-UH Schools, numerous nonprofit community organizations, and is a liaison and leader for community partners.


Evan Rinaldi

Coach Evan is an assistant coach with the Heights High and Tigersharks teams, and is the lead coach for the Heights Middle Schools team. Evan is a Heights High alum and swam for the Tigers before competing collegiately as a swimmer and a diver for Baldwin Wallace University. When he's not at the pool, you can find Evan at Shaker Rocks or the Red River Gorge.


Mikaiah Truitt

Coach Mikaiah is an assistant coach with the Heights High and Tigersharks teams, with a focus on the developmental groups. She is a Heights alumna and former varsity athlete and class president for her school as well as student leader of the Minority Student Achievement Network. Mikaiah has extensive experience in aquatics management and early childhood education.


Esther Bergson, MS, RDN, LD

Esther is a Registered Dietitian, with a Masters in Nutrition, and works clinically at the V.A. She is the coordinator of wellness initiatives for Heights Tigersharks and is the program’s advisor for nutrition, strength, and overall health. Esther has coached Heights Tigersharks, the Cleveland Heights High School swim team, and synchronized swim teams.