Meet The Team!

Learn a bit about the wonderful coaches we have

 

 

 

 

 

Roland McDonald

Roland McDonald

Head Diving Coach

Roland is in his 8th year as the Head Diving Coach of the San Diego State University diving program. Additionally, Roland founded the club diving program at the Aquaplex on SDSU’s campus. Aztec Divers San Diego was initially formed under the name San Diego State Divers in 2010. In 2016 the club was re-named as Aztec Divers San Diego in accordance with California State University system request. Coach Roland has been Program Director of Aztec Divers San Diego (and San Diego State Divers) from the onset.

Previous to moving to San Diego in August 2010, Roland coached the George Mason University Division I diving team for 11 years. Upon opening of the brand new aquatic center on the campus of GMU, Roland was the first ever diving coach of the newly formed varsity Swimming and Diving program. In similar fashion to SDSU, Roland coached the GMU team while forming and developing an age group club program at the Aquatic Center. Patriot Dive Club was formed in 1999 with five divers and grew to 150 members by 2004. In 2008, PDC won the AAU National Team Championship. Patriot Dive Club developed many divers that went on to compete in the NCAA Championships and earning All-American status, also USA Diving National Championships earning National Team status and ultimately Olympic Trial qualifications.

During collegiate years at Clemson University as a collegiate diver, Roland returned home in the summers and coached his high school alma mater and summer league divers. Later transferring to Michigan State University, he coached a local high school team for three seasons while completing an undergraduate degree as a student-athlete. During his collegiate years, Roland was an Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 10 Conference Finalist as well as an NCAA qualifier.

Upon graduation from MSU, Roland began a professional diving career in central Florida where he performed in shows at the famed Cypress Gardens. Exposed to training facilities and techniques that were new and innovating, Roland became part of a relative elite group of divers that essentially shaped and molded modern day “Cliff Diving” into what it is today. In the late 80’s and 90’s, Roland went on to capture three consecutive World Cup High Diving Championship titles and a silver medal in Acapulco. Roland further performed throughout Europe for seven years while overlapping with the beginning of a professional coaching career. Starting at Virginia Tech University, Roland coached the Hokie Diving program for four years before moving to Northern Virginia to coach age group with Montgomery Dive Club. It was while living in NoVa that Roland met his wife and family.

Jane and Roland were married in 1997 and lived in NoVa until 2010 when Roland accepted the position of Head Dive coach at SDSU. They currently live in La Mesa, CA where they enjoy the perfect climate, healthy life-style and great people of San Diego County. Jane and Roland have three children…John (Skeeter), Christa and Michael.

Rafaella Suarez

Rafaella Suarez

Coach

Rafaella Suarez has 8+ years of coaching experience with athletes from all ages and skills. She completed her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from Claremont Graduate University in 2017 and her B.A. in Studio Arts from San Diego State University in 2013. During her collegiate career at SDSU, Rafaella was a contributor to 2 consecutive Mountain West Championship titles where she competed on 1M, 3M and Platform. Prior to her collegiate career, Rafaella was part of the Ecuadorean National team for 10 years. As a national diver, she proudly represented Ecuador in many national and international meets. Rafaella was a two-time South American Champion, Junior World’s finalist, and Junior Pan-American’s finalist. She is very passionate about coaching and looks forward to contributing to the success of Aztec Divers.

Nicole Dutton

Nicole Dutton

Coach

Nicole is in her senior year at SDSU where she is a member of the varsity swim and dive team.  She has competed for the Aztecs for three years and, made the Mountain West Conference All-Conference team.  Nicole comes to us from Orange County.  Nicole has coached part time for three years, but has been bumping up her role steadily for the past year and, in April of this year took on the lessons/novice programs.  While Nicole does a superb job with our lessons and novice programs, she is also a great asset to the JO team.  

Emily Bonfig

Emily Bonfig

Coach

Emily grew up in St. Paul, MN and dived with the Minnesota Diving Academy. The highlight of Emily’s diving career was winning the 2011 AAU National Championship 16-18 girls platform event. Emily studied Mechanical Engineering at Harvard while diving and coaching at Charles River Diving. She moved to San Diego in August 2016 to work as a Process Engineer at Ballast Point Brewing Company.  We are happy to welcome Emily to ADSD!