Edmonton Aurora coaches work as a team to deliver their strengths to the athletes they coach.  Athletes in our competitive programs will receive coaching from many of the coaches listed below during the 2022-2023 Season: 

Artistic Swimming Coaches

Head Coach: Vanessa Keenan ~ She/her/hers ( 

Vanessa Keenan, also known as The Online Synchro Coach, is an alumni athlete, coach, and Head Coach with the Edmonton Auroras.  She obtained her Masters of Arts (specializing in coaching) and Bachelor of Physical Education (with Distinction) from the University of Alberta.  Her mentor coaches include past Olympic coaches Sheilagh Croxon (University) and Leslie Sproule(Level 4 coaching certification)

Vanessa is also Certified in the Breath-Hold Safety Program, EasyFlexibility Training Certification, Zaichik Stretching Technique, and Certified Module 4, Alixa Flexibility.  Vanessa lives just north of the city of Edmonton where she and her husband are raising their 3 children.

Meaghan Hipkin ~ She/her/hers (Provincial Stream) 


Samara Hipkin ~ She/her/hers (Provincial Stream) 

Samara (Sam) has been involved with Artistic swimming in different capacities for over 20 years now. She was a competitive athlete for 15 years and has now been coaching a little longer than that (her coaching and training happened simultaneously for a long time). As an athlete she was lucky enough to compete and train throughout Canada as well as in the USA and Europe while competing at a national level for many years.

She is currently a competition development certified coach, as well as a level 4 Essentrics instructor and a certified Yoga Teacher. She is also a trained Herbalist, though at this point her Herbal practice is limited to herself and her family. As the above information may have made obvious she is passionate about holistic health and fitness and this comes through in her coaching. Her goal with coaching is to create an environment where work and fun are not mutually exclusive and where the athletes can feel comfortable being themselves, while also having their potential for growth nurtured.

Meghan Sit ~ She/her/hers (13-15 National Stream Lead Coach)

Meghan is a retired Aurora national stream athlete currently studying at the University of Alberta. Meghan has coached in our provincial programs for six seasons and is in her second year coaching national stream. Meghan is fully certified in her Introduction to Competition coaching level and recently became trained at the Competition Development level. She has coached PS 10U, 12U, and 13-15 age groups. In 2018, Meghan's duet and solo had podium finishes at Provincial Wildrose competitions. In 2020, her soloist made the podium in 11-12. Meghan is Level 1 in Alixa flexibility. 

Kate Bath ~ She/her/hers (13-15 National Stream Coach

Kate is a retired Aurora national stream athlete currently studying kinesiology at the University of Alberta. She recently took her Competition Development training.  Kate is level 1 certified in Alixa flexibility. 

Elizabeth Scott ~ She/her/hers (National Stream) 

Liz is Aurora Alumni and has been involved with artistic swimming for over 25 years, and this will be her 16th season coaching. She has coached throughout Alberta, and in Dresden, Germany. From 2013-2018, she was part of the coaching team for Synchro Alberta’s Provincial Teams that attended the US Open, UANA Pan Ams, and SYNC. Liz has a Kinesiology degree and is a Certified Personal Trainer with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. She has her Competition Development Certification. Outside of artistic swimming, she is a coach at Orangetheory Fitness. Coaching is her passion. Liz believes that working hard can be fun, and that swimmers are students of artistic swimming.

Anastasia Cherniak ~ (Provincial and National Stream) 

Anastasiia started her career in Artistic Swimming as an athlete on the youth National Ukrainian Team and later, on the National Ukrainian Team. Among the numerous awards in internal tournaments and championships, Anastasiia was also a bronze medalist in the European Championships for team as well as solo.
She has many years of experience in aquatic shows in China and Taiwan, as well as a Masters degree, as a Swimming coach and Artistic swimming coach, from the National University of physical education and sports of Ukraine.
In 2022 , Anastasiia and her family had to leave the Ukraine due to the war and chose Edmonton as their new home. 

Erika Herle~ She/her/hers (Substitute Coach) 

Erika recently retired from high performance artistic swimming. She is coaching one of our pre-competitive programs. 

Belinda Van Papeveld ~ She/her/hers (Substitute Coach

Belinda grew up here in Edmonton, where she swam with the Aurora's for 7 years, Nova Synchro (1 year), Strathcona Synatics (2 years) and UofA Synchro (2 years). Belinda competed both provincially, nationally and internationally. For the last 6 years, she was a competitive team coach at the Strathcona Synatics coaching athletes from 11-12, 13-15 & 16-20 age groups. She coached with the Edmonton Auroras back in 2010-2012 and is thrilled to be back coaching with the Auroras again. Coaching is a huge passion of hers and she believes hard work can be fun and rewarding.

Jessica Holmgren ~ She/her/hers (Substitute Coach) 

Last season Jessica won the Recreational Coach of the Year award from AAS. This season is is a substitute because at home she has 5 children (under the age of 10 including twins) She has been involved in the sport and for most of her life, first as a swimmer then a coach and official.  She started coaching and judging in 1998 in first year university and has coached a variety of ages and skills levels over the years from Recreational to Masters, Provincial Stream, National Stream and University league.  In 2013, Jessica transitioned away from coaching to only judging, and have had the pleasure to judge at several Canadian Open and National Qualifiers. 

Specialty Coaches

Jason Chugh ~ (Swim Instructor) 




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