Meet Our Coaches

Pacific Waves is a non-profit artistic (synchronized) swimming club that was founded in 1999 by a group of dedicated parents and swimmers in an effort to make the sport of synchronized swimming accessible to all.


Our coaches provide a supportive, welcoming atmosphere for swimmers of all ages to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally while participating in a rewarding and competitive sport that will equip each swimmer for life in and out of the water. 

Natalie Montgomery (Head Coach)


Natalie began swimming at the age of eight with the Tacoma Synchronized Swim Club. Later she was part of the creation of the club that is now Pacific Waves. She finished her High School years swimming with Seattle Synchro.  Natalie was a nationally ranked athlete throughout her artistic swimming career. After High School, she went on to swim for the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas for four years. During her time there, her team was ranked third in the nation while competing against all division Universities. During her tenure at UIW, she earned a BA in Communication Arts and a minor in English. Natalie was also a four-time All American athlete and competed in the 2008 Olympic Trials. After her collegiate career, Natalie auditioned for the Le Reve show in Las Vegas. Besides coaching on deck, Natalie is also involved with coordinating pool schedules, cutting music, choreographing routines, developing a curriculum and expectations for each level of our program and as well as maintaining and improving club policies. She works with the coaches, the board, and parents to create the best experience possible for each swimmer. Currently, Natalie enjoys coaching our Age Group/Juniors team. 

Emma Plazola

Emma is a PWSS alum swimmer, having started artistic swimming (synchro) at the age of seven participating in the creation of Pacific Waves along with fellow coaches Natalie and Kelly. Emma swam competitively with Pacific Waves and Seattle Synchro for ten years, competing at the Age Group, Junior and Senior national levels, placing fifth at the Senior Nationals in 2005. She retired her elite competitive career in 2005 due to a shoulder injury and started coaching for Pacific Waves the very next Tuesday! For the past 10 years, she has developed both her coaching and leadership skills and is currently coaching as needed. Life outside the pool is always busy for Emma, as she also works as an RN and pursuing her masters degree in nursing.  Emma loves finding new ways to inspire her swimmers with fun choreography, interesting music and challenging drills. She believes in preparing her athletes physically and mentally - both for competition and for life outside the pool. . 

Emily Tollefson


Returning after a 23 year hiatus, Emily is thrilled to be coaching the Age Group team. At the age of eight, after completing swim lessons, Emily was given a choice to either choose swim team or artistic swimming. She made the right choice and starting doing artistic swimming for Tacoma Synchronized Swim Club.  She competed in artistic swimming through seventh grade where she transitioned to swim team and water polo.  Emily played water polo through college, after which she started doing triathlons. Because she had such a positive introduction to being in the water, Emily is a life long swimmer.  She hopes to bring that experience to the athletes she coaches- making them lifelong swimmers! 

Leslie Sims


Leslie discovered her passion for artistic swimming at age 12 with a small start-up team in Tonawanda, NY. She went on to lead her small liberal art college's synchro club. Fast-forward a decade and a move to Seattle in 1988. Leslie founded the Emerald City Aquatic Club in West Seattle.  After the birth of her daughter and a career change into the world of teaching, Leslie took a very long break until a friend's Facebook post in 2015 re-sparked her interest and led her to master's synchro and PWSS. She is loving the opportunity to co-teach the Fit and Synchronized class.

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Kate McClinton
Kate began her artistic swimming career at age 10 with Emerald City Aquatic Club before moving to Seattle Aqua Club (now Seattle Synchro).  She competed on the National level at Junior Olympics, Junior Nationals, and Age Groups.  As cross training she was active in speed swimming throughout her artistic swimming career and during high school.  She rediscovered her love for the sport after joining PWSS Masters and winning figures at Masters Nationals 5 months later.  She loves seeing the progress her athletes make each week, and firmly believes you can do synchro at any age.  When not at the pool, she loves cooking and travels as often as possible.  
Lindsey Keen
Lindsey started artistic swimming when she was 8 years at The Santa Clara Aquamaids. She began in competitive gymnastics and transitioned into artistic swimming full time at 10 years old. She competed in Age Group Nationals, Junior Nationals, Senior Nationals, Pan American games, and International Invitationals winning multiple championship titles in team, duet, and trio events. She joined the first 13-15 national team at 15 years old and went on to join the junior national team at 16 years old to represent not just a club but the sport itself. She was consistently meeting the expectations of multiple Olympic coaches she had through her ten years swimming competitively. While winning multiple titles in her career, the most rewarding thing was seeing the athleticism among her teammates and other competitors, as well as the rewarding friendships created with everybody in the sport that have lasted well beyond her competitive career. When she retired due to a shoulder injury at 18 years old, she immediately began coaching for The Santa Clara Aquamaids then continued to coach for LA Synchro and now Pacific Waves Synchro. Her ongoing appreciation for the technique, motivation, and desire to achieve perfection in this sport is what drives her to coach athletes to achieve their personal best. While continuing her career as pastry chef, she also assists coaching our Junior team, 13-15 team, Masters and extra routines. 
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Freja Kizis
Freja began her synchro (artistic swimming) career at age seven with Pacific Waves Synchro. She competed at her first Age Group Nationals (later renamed to Junior Olympic Championship) at age 11 in the team and solo events. As part of Pacific Waves Junior teams she has placed 5th and 4th at the Junior Olympic Championships in 2018 and 2019 and 3rd place in 2021.  Freja has held the role of athlete representative for the Pacific Northwest Association, where she puts in athlete perspective to improve our association. Freja loves being involved in the development of the future of synchro (artistic swimming). She enjoys coaching all levels and on some occasions has helped out with coaching our 13-15 team, Junior extra routines, masters figures, and even our very own coach Natalie and Emma’s duet. She is currently coaching our lessons and co-coaching our novice team. She cherishes the experiences and friendships she has made through artistic swimming and hopes to have a positive impact on her swimmers.
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Yuliya Rudneva
Yuliya has been an artistic swimmer with Pacific Waves Synchro for 5 years. She is very excited to be co-coaching the novice team and teaching beginner lessons.  Yuliya loves being a part of the Pacific Waves Synchro club because it created a community of friends.  Some might call her the club cheerleader because of the energetic way she supports our PWSS teams!! PWSS! Yes! Yes! Yes!  She is enrolled at Pierce College in pursuit of her dream to become either a physician's assistant or cardiologist.