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 in his tenth year of coaching his alma mater, sixth with the summer team, and is thrilled to be able to lead the unification of swim programs into the new Heights Tigersharks.

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 three years. She is a published author and recent graduate of Cleveland State University and will be attending graduate school in the fall. 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.

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.

Assistant Coaches

Patricia Chen, Denzel McKenzie, Elena Rinaldi, Evan Rinaldi, Mikaiah Truitt