Madeline Bartley

  • Specialty:


  • Liquid Lifestyles
  • USA Swimming Certified
  • American Red Cross WSIT
  • American Red Cross LGI


  • Swim Instructor (7 years)
  • Assistant Age Group Swim Coach (4 years)
  • Assistant High School Coach ( 4 years)



Hi there! My name is Madeline Bartley and I joined the Liquid Lifestyles team of coaches in June of 2016. I am originally from Forest Grove - a small town near Portland, Oregon - where I started swimming at a very young age. I swam competitively on the local swim team for 6 years before heading off to a small school in Missouri called Cottey College. After I moved back to Oregon, I realized that I loved helping people learn how to swim and feel comfortable in the water, so I decided to pursue coaching on a more professional level. I really enjoyed my time working at the local aquatic center as a swim lesson instructor, assistant Swim Club coach, and assistant High School coach.

When my husband and I decided to move across the country to Cleveland I was excited to be able to continue doing what I love doing most with Liquid Lifestyles. Liquid Lifestyles has such a great vision for teaching even the most novice of swimmers how to swim smarter and more efficiently. I am proud to work with all of the other coaches here who share that vision. Helping people learn how to swim or just improve their swimming and also develop a better relationship to the water is something I love doing; I am so blessed to have this as my job!

My hobbies include: Hiking, cooking, watching movies, taking pictures, swimming (of course), crocheting, painting, singing, and cuddling with my dog.

Mike Cousino

Experienced Triathlete and Liquid Lifestyles Coach Since 2005

Experienced Triathlete and Liquid Lifestyles Coach Since 2005

Specialty: Triathletes & Adult Freestyle

Certifications: Liquid Lifestyles®, Total Immersion™

Experience: 70+ Triathlons: Sprint, Olympic, 70.3 & 140.6 – Liquid Lifestyles Coach since 2005

Email Mike



When I did my first triathlon in 1991 I, like so many others, struggled to get through the swim. Back then my training plan was to just go to the pool and swim yards. The more the better and the harder the better, or so I thought. After several years of this strategy, I was experiencing a modest level of success relative to how I started. When I was introduced to Liquid Lifestyles through a triathlon swim group, circa 2004, I was hesitant. I reluctantly did the prescribed drills during practice and questioned the concepts and new focal points. I actually felt like I was going slower in the water until we started timing our sets. It was only then that I learned I was actually going faster with less effort! I was hooked. I trained with Liquid Lifestyles for a number of years with an entirely new mindset – one that was focused, critical and embraced the concepts that once seemed so counter-intuitive. My personal swimming experience has been incredibly rewarding since then and I’m excited to share the process of smart training and smart swimming with others. Since 2009 I’ve had the rewarding experience to assist at weekend workshops, open water clinics and offering private lessons to recreational swimmers, triathletes and beginners of all backgrounds and ability levels.

I have competed in over 70 triathlons (and counting) - everything from sprint distance to 140.6 full distance triathlons. Whether you are just getting started or stepping up to your first Half or Full Ironman I can help you reach your swimming goals and PR in any distance.

Vanja Dezelic


  • High School & Competitive Swimmers
  • Adult 4-Stroke
  • Adult Freestyle and Triathlon

Certifications: Liquid Lifestyles®

Experience:Age Group, High School and Collegiate swimmer. Competed and many national and international meet in Europe and USA. 4 year All-American at NCAA Div II Nationals. Head Age group coach for HEAT and currently Head Coach for CFYN Tigersharks. Lake Erie coach for Open Water Team.



Vanja was born in Zagreb, Croatia. His love for swimming began from and early age of 3, but Vanja started swimming competitively at age 10.  He became Croatian National Champion in 200m, 400m and 1500m both short course and long course for 11-12, 13-14 and 15&O age group.  As a member of Croatian National Swim Team, Vanja competed at Youth Olympic Days, European Junior Championships, Mediterranean Games and many dual meets between Croatia and other European countries. 

After arriving in US, as a High School swimmer, Vanja earned North Dakota state championship titles in 200 and 500 free and 200 medley relay as a butterfly leg. During college, Vanja was a National Team Member for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) swim team and competed at NCAA Division II Nationals every year. He earned All-America Awards for 800 free relay as well as the individual All-America in 500 and 1650 yard free. in 2014 Vanja was inducted to Missouri S&T Sports Hall of Fame. Within all swimming accomplishments, Vanja earned his Doctorate in Mining Engineering and Geophysics and has worked in Earth Science field.

Vanja's coaching and teaching specialty are age group swimmers as well as adults . He loves teaching all strokes in the pool environments as well as open water swimming. All levels of swimmers are welcome, as Vanja enjoys teaching the art of swimming to all. His ultimate goal and favorite thing about coaching,  is for people to enjoy the water and feel comfortable. Besides teaching swimming with Liquid Lifestyles Vanja isHead Coach for the CFYN Tigersharks Swim Team in Cuyahoga Falls, OH.

Other than coaching, Vanja loves to spend time with his family, dogs and friends, hiking and traveling.  

Michael LaBagh


Swimming? Sure I’ll try it.

My journey as a swimmer began in 9th grade, late into my athletic career. I actually started swimming because I had a crush on a girl on the team! I had no idea at that point that I was going to make swimming and aquatics my lifestyle. I have been coaching swimming for multiple years now for all ages but most notably at the age-group, high school and collegiate level.

Before joining the swim team in high school, I played several other team sports like soccer, baseball and lacrosse. As a sport focused on individual performance, swimming was very new to me. Learning how to push my body and mind past their limits was challenging for me. I discovered that my success in the pool was based on how much time and effort I put into practice and how far I allowed my body to push itself.

Find a balance.

Throughout swimming in college I became more familiar with my body’s limits while learning how to swim smarter and swim faster. I come from a technique driven program at the NCAA Division III level. My coach, who I have found to become most influential on my coaching philosophy, led our team in a healthy balance of different types of training. There were days where we would float around in the pool and drill over and over again and others where he would say a few words to us and we would just swim for two hours straight. Training out of the pool became just as important whether it was strength training, meditation or visualization techniques. Finding the proper balance of training will vary among each person and once you optimize that training, I am confident I can help you push yourself past your own limits.

Find your limits and break past them.

To keep pushing my own limits I began participating in a triathlon or two each summer. I have competed in several Olympic distance and Half-Ironman races over the past few years. Since those went well, I signed up for a marathon or two along the way as well. I have always been eager to find new challenges, which is what led me to compete in my first Ironman distance race in Lake Placid, NY.

The journey to completing my first Ironman could be described in several words: frustrating, daunting, challenging and rewarding just to name a few. I sacrificed my body to one year of disciplined training only to receive the satisfaction of competing in a one day event. Although training could be gruesome and unforgiving at times, I secretly enjoyed it. I enjoyed being able to train my body to want to swim, bike or run faster. Training for the Ironman allowed me to acknowledge my limits as a triathlete and strive to break past them each day.

So, what do you think?

What are your goals? What needs to be done to reach those goals? Are you willing to do those things? Great, let’s get started!

Swimming Background

  • Elizabethtown Area High School Swimming Team, 2003-2007
  • Elizabethtown Aquatic Club, USA Swimming, 2005-2007
  • Misericordia University, NCAA Division III Swimming Team, 2008-2011
  • Stroke Specialty:  100 yard and 200 yard Breaststroke, 200 Individual Medley and Distance Freestyle

Coaching Experience

  • American Red Cross Certified Water Safety Instructor, 2011-Present
  • Dallas High School Assistant Swimming Coach, 2008-2011
  • Dallas Mountaineer Aquatic Club Assistant Swimming Coach, 2009-2011
  • Abington Heights High School Head Swimming Coach, 2011-2012
  • King’s College, NCAA Division III, Assistant Swimming Coach, 2012-2013
  • Lake Erie College, NCAA Division II, Assistant Swimming Coach, Fall/Winter 2013

Beth Lamb


  • Adult Learn-to-Swim
  • Adult Fear of Water
  • Adult Freestyle
  • Triathletes
  • Adult 4 Stroke


  • Liquid Lifestyles®
  • Total Immersion™ Level ll Certified Coach

Experience: Former Head Coach, Maine North High School Girls’ Swim Team, Des Plaines, IL


Book a Lesson with Beth Lamb at . . . .

Fear is an awful feeling, and for the first two decades of my life, I knew that emotion all too well.  I was so afraid of water that I never went on a boat, to a pool, or to the beach.  Because I thought water spraying my face would drown me, I avoided showers; bathing offered me more security and more control.  When I got to college and discovered that dorms didn’t have bathtubs, I showered while holding a washcloth over my face.  While all the other freshmen were adjusting to college life, I was learning how to take a panic-free shower.

I’m convinced I’d still be aquaphobic today if it weren’t for one life-changing opportunity, a job offer to teach English at a high school in suburban Chicago.  To be clear, it was a few minutes after I had verbally accepted the position when the principal said, “By the way, Beth, you’ll have to become the girls’ head swim coach.  Do you think you can do that?“  I still remember that moment vividly.  As I said yes, I was thinking... These girls are already swimmers, so I’ll learn everything I can about coaching swimming, but I won’t have to swim.   And then he added, “You’ll need to be certified in lifesaving and bring me your certificate.”  Oh no!  At that moment, I knew I would need to overcome my fear of water; I had to transform myself into a swimmer, lifeguard, and coach.

How did I do it?  I spent every day at the community pool, where I’d take hours of children’s swim classes each morning and get lessons from the lifeguards throughout the day.  At night, I’d observe swim team practices, take lifesaving classes, and volunteer at swim meets.  On weekends, I’d attend coaching clinics and read every book about competitive swimming I could get my hands on.  By the end of the summer, I (barely) had passed lifesaving, (mostly) had overcome my fear of water, and (totally) had learned a lot about swimming and myself in the process.  But I was still a struggle swimmer.

The team I inherited had gone 0-10 the previous season, so there was nowhere to go but up.  They were awesome young women with amazingly positive attitudes considering their lack of success.  I focused on improving technique in all four strokes and effectively structuring practices to increase speed and endurance.  During my two years as coach, we went 4-6 and 5-5, set new school records, and qualified our 50 free sprinter for state.  Ironically, to celebrate our first victory, my swimmers threw me into the pool; it soon became a tradition.  During their excitement, only I sensed the remnants of my anxiety.

When I moved to Wisconsin, my coaching took a hiatus, but ten years later, I was back at the pool.  My client needed to rehab a serious ankle injury that prevented her from continuing high-impact exercise, so I modified the successful techniques and workouts I had used before.  It was very tough going at first, but she stuck with it.  She swam three and then four times per week, slowly and gradually improving her performance and increasing her yardage.  Six months later, she felt better than she ever had; swimming enhanced her wellness physically and psychologically more than any other form of exercise.  How do I know?  Because my client was ME!  For the next 20 years, I was a dedicated fitness swimmer, and in 2007, I upped my game by joining Leah Nyikes’ masters’ swim team, Liquid N’Durance.

I was thrilled to join the Liquid Lifestyles coaching staff in 2013.  That summer, I earned my coaching certification through Total Immersion to enhance the technical knowledge I had acquired over the years.   My position at LL allows me to combine my passion for swimming with my love of teaching.  I’m regularly at the pool to teach swim classes and private lessons or to coach masters.  During the last four years, I’ve been privileged to work with many Liquid Lifestyles’ clients in different phases of their personal swim journeys.  Some are competitive athletes focused on swimming faster and more efficiently, while others are teens and adults who want to conquer their fear of water.  Many of my clients are motivated to swim for fitness, family, or fun.  Whether they are learning to swim for a honeymoon or a bucket list, my swimmers’ growth is especially meaningful to me because I know from personal experience what it takes to go from “before” to “after.”  No matter what your story is, I can help you transform your swimming and your lifestyle.  I’d love to share my experience, energy, and expertise with you. 









Justin Mesker


  • Pre-School
  • Children learn to swim ages 4-10


  • Liquid Lifestyles®
  • Liquid Bubbles®

Email Justin


I wanted to let you know how happy we are with the lessons Justin has given. My daughter was a complete non-swimmer and the amount of growth she has made in such a short time is remarkable! He makes her feel so comfortable and encouraged. We are so pleased and would recommend Liquid Lifestyles to anyone looking for a swim program.
— Jen S.
In just a few short months with Justin, our children have gained an enormous amount of confidence in the water, and developed the base they need to become proficient swimmers. He’s made each step in the process fun for them. They’re proud of their accomplishments and look forward to tackling the next challenge, rather than feeling intimidated and anxious. They love learning with Justin, and eagerly look forward to lessons each week.
— Erika M.

Leah Nyikes

Leah is our fearless leader!


  • Learn to Swim Children
  • Age-group & Competitive Swimmers
  • Adult 4-Stroke
  • Adult Freestyle and Triathlon


  • Liquid Lifestyles®
  • Liquid Bubbles®
  • Total Immersion™ Master Coach
  • USMS Level II


Book a Lesson with Leah at:

Growing up “fishlike”

Swimming will always be a cornerstone of who I am. At the age of seven I joined the local swim team and excelled in the freestyle and backstroke events. The reality of bringing home a medal at the YMCA State Championships that first year was enough to get me hooked. I dedicated myself to the sport for the next eleven years. As a result of quality coaching and exceptional skill-based training I experienced the excitement of competing in the Ohio high-school state championships, winning conference titles, and setting high-school records.

My most influential swimming experiences developed under the direction of two prominent Total Immersion head coaches, Gary Fahey and Gene Mills. Their extensive knowledge of the sport, cutting-edge technique training, and thought-provoking practices were the impetus in my desire to succeed and subsequently coach years later. Despite our less-than-ideal training conditions; a pool that’s water was murky at best, temperatures that fluctuated daily, and air that hung low and thick, our coaches taught us how to find inspiration in ourselves and turn weaknesses into competitive strengths. The “Last Resort,” as we called it, became our experimental lab for developing new techniques, drills and kinesthetic awareness. Most importantly, we were encouraged to work with our teammates daily. We tested, analyzed and creatively communicated with each other new ideas –constantly in pursuit of a competitive advantage. Never settling with “good enough” our team soon dominated the local swim scene.

Solving swimming mysteries one student at a time

At the age of fourteen I volunteered as an assistant coach on our local summer rec. team. Using the core principles of self-discipline, responsibility and patience we explored innovative solutions to solving some of swimming’s most puzzling questions. The following year I experimented with these non-traditional training techniques privately, offering lessons to children that required more specific, goal-oriented instruction. By the third summer my parent’s backyard pool had become the local hub for summer swimming lessons. Happy children and pleased parents spread the word quickly and it wasn’t long before I was averaging 45 hours per week of private lessons and loving every minute of it.

After graduating from Miami University in 2004 with a degree in architecture, I announced my profound desire and dedication to swimming and pursued a full-time career in coaching. Collaborating with Total Immersion’s founder, Terry Laughlin, I was invited to become a licensed instructor of their internationally renowned training techniques and assumed the position of Regional Director in the Midwest. From Seattle to Dallas from New York to San Juan, I’ve worked side-by side with some of the nation’s best coaches while exchanging ideas and continually learning unique methods for improvement.

Discover your hidden talents!

To have discovered a career path so early in life that I can embrace with enthusiasm each day is very fortunate. It’s exciting and rewarding to work with swimmers of all ages and ability levels; students from non-competitive backgrounds, multi-sport athletes, adults with water phobia and children just learning their ABC’s. I find the teacher-student symbiotic relationship enlightening; continually awakened and constantly intrigued by the various learning styles of individuals. There is never a shortage of new questions and coaching challenges, however, with well-guided swimming advice, a bit of intuition and a willingness to investigate together we will find uniquely creative solutions to solving YOUR swimming obstacles.

Your swimming goals are attainable! Believe in yourself and anything is possible!

Thom Parsons


  • Babies
  • Anxious Beginners
  • Pre-School Age
  • Special Needs
  • Adult Freestyle and Triathlon


  • Liquid Lifestyles®
  • Liquid Bubbles®
  • Total Immersion™ Level II Certified Coach
  • American RedCross WSI
  • American RedCross LIfeguard/Lifeguard Instructor



I would love the opportunity to share my passion with you.

That “CLICK”.  That moment the light switches on and everything falls into place.  All the repetition, all the drills, all of the encouragement and then the payoff.  The moment a young beginner final “gets it “ finally puts the pieces together and swims on their own is a magical moment.  For some the moment comes quickly and for others it takes a bit longer. One thing is certain. There is always that moment.  I consider myself lucky that I get to be there, in the pool, to witness that magic over and over again.  To be able to teach a lifelong skill to a child and know that skill will last a lifetime is a wonderful gift.

I remember my very first private lesson with Mrs. Olie Olson in Athens, Ohio.  I was four years old and smitten with Olie and instantly hooked on swimming.  I took lessons every summer for several years.  By the time I was 17 I had become a lifeguard and also taught my first private swim lessons.  I will never forget that first lesson.  I remember every detail.  I was scared to death.  The lesson went very well and by the end I could not wait for the next one.  I didn’t realize at the time that I had just found my niche.

After being severely injured in an automobile accident I was looking for something I could do part time to keep busy.  I thought about my own children’s swimming lessons and reflected on how I knew I could do it better than their instructor.  That was the answer, the “ah ha” moment.  I would start teaching swimming again.  It took awhile for me to get going but once I developed my method, business really took off.  That was in Florida.  I have since relocated twice.  From Florida we moved to Wisconsin and from Wisconsin back to Ohio.  All the while continuing to teach swimming.   This is what I do.  This is my passion. 

I received my TI coach certification in 2014, it was the completion a goal I’ve had for many years. Upon researching the Total Immersion methods I realized that I had been using many of the same concepts in my own instruction.  However, I never really sought to better my own swimming, I just swam laps, never consistently working to improve my own skills.  With TI I have become a better, more efficient, more purposeful swimmer.   Striving for self-improvement and learning new skills has certainly bettered me as an individual and reignited my passion for teaching.



Kevin Rapien


  • High School & Competitive Swimmers
  • Adult 4-Stroke
  • Adult Freestyle and Triathlon


  • Liquid Lifestyles®
  • USA Swimming Certification
  • American Swim Coaches Association(ASCA) Level II


  • Sr. Assistant Swim Coach Cleveland State University 2012-Present
  • Sr. Assistant Swim Coach University of North Dakota 2010-2012

Email Kevin