From the first days of the Valley Royals, the philosophy of the Club has been to create a core of qualified, enthusiastic and skilled coaches whom the Club would support strongly in their coaching. Over the years, coaching has always been one of the strengths of the Valley Royals, with skilled coaches covering the spectrum of events in track & field.
From the club’s beginning, Gerry Swan has served as the Royals head coach. Swan’s philosophy mirrored those of founding President and current director Paul Anderson’s in that he knew it was vital to assemble a group of certified assistant coaches that could, in a responsible manner, tap the potential of the athletes under their charge. The strength of the coaching staff is self evident as all of the Royal coaches have developed athletes that have been represented on BC and Canadian teams.
The Valley Royals are an inclusive track and field club, accepting athletes of all abilities.
Current Valley Royals Coaches
Gerry Swan is a Level 4 Certified Coach and has been involved with track and field for a very long time. During his career as a coach, Swan has developed more than 25-athletes that have represented Canada internationally and has served himself as a coach on a number of international teams. In addition, he serves on the BC Athletics Senior Track and Field Planning Committee, conducts Level 2 and 3 middle distance clinics and writes various articles for track and field publications. Gerry enjoys working as a volunteer Coach with the Valley Royals Middle Distance Group.
Sue Northey is a Level 3 certified coach in the middle distance runs and serves as the middle distance coach for the Royals Abbotsford division of runners. A graduate of McMaster University, Sue captured nine conference medals and four Canadian University Championship medals while attending that school. In 2001 Sue was inducted into McMaster’s Hall of Fame. Sue has served as a BC Head Coach for the Canadian Legion Championships and the Canadian Cross Country Championships. She has also acted as a Canadian Coach at the World Cross Country Championships. Sue has developed numerous young athletes that have become medalists at the BC and Canadian Championship level.
Kiya Posthumus – Assistant Middle Distance Coach
Kiya Posthumus is a level 1 certified coach. A graduate from Rick Hansen and former Valley Royal Athlete, Kiya attended Nationals for Cross Country in Guelph, Ontario and Nationals for Track in Abbotsford in 2009. Kiya was selected to be a torch carrier for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Kiya is currently studying kinesiology at the University of the Fraser Valley.
Ziggy Szelagowicz – Power/Speed Head Coach & JD Coach
Coach Ziggy has had a long and successful tenure as both the Valley Royal and Fraser Valley Regional Center coach for power/speed. Ziggy, who is a graduate of the Polish Institute of Coaching, has a vast background in the jumps, hurdles and sprint events. He has developed a number of internationally competative athletes that include Michael Mason who with a best height of 2.33-meters holds numerous BC records and represented Canada in the high jump at the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympic Games.
Coach Ziggy holds a Level 3 Canadian Certification in Sprints, Hurdles and Jumps as well as a Level 2 American Certification. Ziggy has had 11 male High Jumpers achieve over 2.13m, and 5 female jumpers achieve over 1.83m. His athletes have attended Youth, Junior, Senior, FISU, NACIA, NCAA, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games, IAAF World Championships and Olympic Games competitions.
Coach Ziggy has developed numerous outstanding young athletes in the various speed/power & jumping disciplines and yet he also enjoys training Junior Development Athletes – helping them to understand the basics of high jump to achieve success at their developmental level.
David Boyd—Power & Speed Coach
Graham Danziger, like many pole vault coaches, is a student of the event. Graham began competing in track and field at a young age and developed into a versatile athlete who did well in the sprints and jumps. During his secondary school career as a Mouat Hawk, Graham narrowed his competitions to the pole vault and became a BC High School Champion in that event. Upon high school graduation, Graham accepted an athletic scholarship from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. While at Lindenwood Graham became that school’s fourth best ever in the pole vault with a height of 4.95 meters. Graham’s best height during his competitive years as a Valley Royal was 5.05 meters. Graham loves coaching the vault and has shown the patience and expertise as a coach that has aided a number of young British Columbia vaulters.
Emma Li – Pole Vault & Power/Speed
I am going into my fourth year as a member of the Trinity Western University Track and Field Team. My main event is pole vault and hurdles but have competed in long jump, triple jump, high jump, and the 800m and have experience coaching all those events as well. I have been at a competitive level placing 2nd in the in grade 9, and then 1st in grade 11 and 12 in the pole vault at the Ontario High School Championships. I was the youth National Champion for pole vault in 2013 and 3rd at Junior Nationals the following year. I have competed internationally for Canada at the IAAF World Youth Championships in the Ukraine for pole vault. I have continued pole vaulting into my University career and have competed at CIS in my first and second year. I am really enjoying coaching my teammates and younger developing athletes.
Harold Willers has for many years served as a throwing coach for the Valley Royals. A four time Canadian Champion (1981 to 1984) in the hammer, Willers brings a wealth of experience and coaching expertise to the event area. In the past he has coached a number of athletes who have represented Canada internationally. One of these athletes was Wes Boudreau, a former Canadian Junior Champion in the hammer who won several medals at the NCAA Championships and represented Canada at the World Junior and Pan American Junior Championships. In addition to his coaching duties with the Royals, Harold assists with coaching throws for a number of schools and clubs in the Fraser Valley.
Alex Siemens – JD Cross Country Coach
Alex is a former Valley Royals athlete and University of Idaho graduate. She will be coaching our Junior Development runners in the Cross Country season this year.
Trevor Wight – JD Coordinator
With a competitive career spanning high school, university, and masters competitions, Trevor brings his wealth of experience as a sprinter / multi events athlete to lead the club’s junior development program. A graduate of both the University of Lethbridge and the University of Saskatchewan, Trevor won several awards namely team MVP (while at U of L) and “Athlete All-Academic Team” (while at U of S). At present, Trevor heads up Yale Secondary’s track and field team, where he teaches visual arts and physical education. Over his years coaching high school, Trevor has coached a number of outstanding athletes including provincial champions Nakai Luyken, and Ricardo Charles as well as double bronze medalist Chantel Desch. More than anything else, Trevor’s emphasis for the JD athletes is having fun, through which his athletes will develop a broad base of skills foundational to track and as well other sports.
Jesse Phillips — JD Coach
I have been involved in the Track and Field community for 10+ years now, 5 of them I competed at a collegiate/university level. Track and field has brought me from Anaheim, Ca to BC, Canada where I received my degree, a BBA in International Business. My event was the pole vault and my PR was 4.80 but I am in a continual strive to reach the 5 meter mark. I am coaching now because I thought it would be nice to give back to the Track community, after everything thing they have given to me!
Alexis Krieg—JD Coach
Alexis is a coach for the Valley Royals Junior Development Program. She has many years of experience working with athletes and supervising them at Track Meets. This is Alexis’ second Track & Field Season serving as a Coach for the Valley Royals and her fifth as an assistant coach at Yale Secondary. She is a student at Trinity Western University focusing on Secondary Education and Human Kinetics with a minor in Math.
Brit is a Level 4 coach and in addition to her duties as a Royals coach is the Head Coach of SFU’s Track and Field Program. A former international who was a finalist at both the World Championships and Olympic Games, Brit has been successful in developing a strong distance running program at SFU. She has helped improve a number of middle distance runners that include Heather deGeest, the BC Juvenile record holder at 800 metres and a finalist in 1500-metres at the World Junior Championships. At present Brit is coaching Jessica Smith who was a semi finalist in the 800-meters at the 2012 London Olympics. Other outstanding athletes that Brit mentors include heptathlon athlete Ruky Abdulai and middle distance runner Helen Crofts.
Tom Dickson is a Level 3 Certified Coach who coaches many top ranked sprinters and hurdlers. Tom conducts Level 1 clinics in sprints/hurdles and serves as a coach for numerous provincial track and field teams. In addition, Tom is an outstanding athlete and has won medals in international master competitions. Tom conducts most of his training sessions at either Burnaby Central High School or Simon Fraser University.
Updated June 7th 2017