Swim Team Manager
The Branson Waves is led by Swim Team Manager Waylon Cavinder. To contact Waylon at the Branson RecPlex about how to join the swim team or to learn more about the program, call 335-2368 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swim Team Coach
James Grimmer serves as Swim Team Head Coach for the Branson Waves. James grew up in Peoria, IL and has been around the water all his life. He started when he was in the "7 and under" group during the summer and winter swim programs. He continued in the sport of swimming throughout high school, with freestyle as his main discipline. He ended up swimming at the Illinois State meet 3 out of 4 years. After high school, he was blessed to receive a scholarship to swim at Butler University, a Division 1 school. There he started with the emphasis of freestyle sprints and butterfly, and eventually became the middle distance specialist swimming the 100, 200, and 500 yard freestyle.
After college, James spent a year at the Kanakuk Institute, where he gained the biblical knowledge and tools to go into youth ministry. From there, he went to work for K-Life Ministries. He started as a staff guy in Dallas, TX, then started a K-Life in the middle of Kansas, where he served for 3 years. In the summer of 2008, James and his wife moved to Branson, so that he could serve as a Regional Director, overseeing 8 other K-Life chapters. He has had the opportunity to coach Jr. High basketball and football, High School basketball and track, and hold swim lessons for kids of all ages. James now serves as the V.P. of operations for K-Life Ministries. James has been married to his wife, Erika, since 2005, and has three children, a daughter, Briley (age 4) and a son, Grayson (age 2) and Cooper (age 2 weeks). James loves influencing kids and watching them grow not just in their sport, but in their lives as well. He is looking forward to the time with Branson Waves, getting to know all the kids and parents involved, and watching both the swim program and the kids grow.
Swim Team Assistant Coach
Marissa Connolly grew up in Texas where she spent many hours of the hot summers in the pool and doing summer swim league. She attended Texas A&M University where she graduated with a Spanish degree. After student teaching abroad, Marissa moved to Branson to attend the Kanakuk Institute in 2002. She became a full-time staff mamber with the Institute as Dean of Women, were she still works today. For the past six summers Marissa served as the Women's Director at K-7, Kanakuk Kamps. She recently married her husband Peter, who works at Branson Bank. They attend First Baptist Church here in Branson. Marissa has done various triathlons over the years and enjoys being active outdoors.
Swim Team Assistant Coach
Rachel VanderLaan returns for her second season as an assistant coach with the Branson Waves. She brings a lot of experience with the Waves both as a participant and a coach. Rachel began swimming with the Waves when she was 4 years old and eventually began swimming with MSA in Springfield Missouri. After graduating from High School, she worked at the RecPlex as a lifeguard while also beginning her coaching career with the Waves. She is currently attending College of the Ozarks where she plans to major in Human and Molecular Biology with an emphasis in pre-PA and Spanish.
Currently, the City of Branson has 16 parks serving residents and visitors. These parks offer a wide variety of opportunities from swimming to nature trails.