Meet Our Coaches

Aspire Aquatics is please to have assembled a high caliber and talented coaching team: Head Coach Karen Ammon, Coach James Boone, Coach Ellie Furuta, and assistant Coach Mia Wood.

The Coaching team will operate collaboratively and in support of each other. Coach Karen is the head coach of all practice groups. Emphasis will be on providing technical instruction in a supportive, respectful, and community-minded environment. She will apply her coaching philosophy, expertise, and strategies to all age groups and seniors in partnership with the coach on deck to create top-down collaboration. Coach Karen will have a presence on deck with all practice groups, while serving as the primary coach on deck for Age 9-12. Swimmers will enjoy reasonable coach to swimmer ratios at Aspire Aquatics. The coaching staff will scale to meet the size and technical needs of the team. 

Email: [email protected]

Coach Karen serves as the head coach of Aspire Aquatics of Colorado and the primary coach of Ambition and Confidence practice groups. Karen's impact in the community is broad and far-reaching, currently serving as the head coach of the Grandview High School Girls’ swim team, and the head coach of the Mountain Hi Swim League (MHSL) Wheatlands Sharks swim team.

Spanning 27 years of coaching experience, Coach Karen has coached all abilities of swim athletes from water safety and learn to swim programs to National Top 16 age group swimmers and High School All Americans. Prior to founding Aspire Aquatics, she most recently served for 15 years as the 9/10 Age Group coach and Director of Age Group Development for Colorado Stars. 

Coach Karen brings an undeniable love and discipline of the sport to her swim athletes, swim families, and community.  Her respectful, disciplined, and nurturing approach to teaching swim excellence develops the performance excellence, character, leadership, and team camaraderie of her athletes and feeds their growth mindset. She has earned the broad respect and loyalty of her athletes, swim families, and CSI community.

Coach Karen is married to Dale Ammon, well known in the Colorado swim and USA Swimming communities in his roles as official, CSI Board Member, Western Zone Non-Coach Director, and member of USA Swimmer Board of Directors. She and Dale have raised four children, all swimmers and young coaches who graduated from Grandview High School and various universities. She now has two lovely grandchildren to spoil and care for. 

Teams coached by Coach Karen include:

  • Wheatlands Sharks [formerly Chapparal Sharks]
  • Grandview Girls and Boys High School Swim Team
  • Colorado Stars
  • Special Olympics Colorado
  • Brookdale Swim Club
  • Naperville YMCA
  • Hillsborough Hurricanes YMCA



Email: [email protected]

James is the primary coach for the Strength and Inspire practice groups.

Coach James serves as the assistant coach for the Grandview HS Boys swim team, most recently was the head coach for Lifetime Swim Centennial, and assisted coached for the Purdue University Big Ten Mens swim program. James was raised in Colorado and swam for Colorado Stars and Grandview High School. During high school, James spent his summers on deck with the Chapparal (now Wheatlands) Sharks, both swimming with the team and commencing his coaching career on deck with Coach Karen Ammon. 

After high school, James continued his swimming career at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. As a swimmer at Purdue, he was elected captain of the men's swim team, earned Academic All-B1G honors, set several team records and swam at the NCAA Championships.  During the summers James coached the Purdue swim camp while training with the Purdue swim team. 

Following his Senior season, James continued with the Purdue men's swim team as a volunteer assistant coach, learning from some of the best coaches and swimmers in the world. During his time as an assistant, he finished his degree in Industrial Engineering.

James is thrilled to begin his 3rd year with Aspire and is focused on building a team culture of smiles, comradery, hard work, purpose and high aspirations. 






Email: [email protected]

Coach Ellie serves as the coach of the Hope Group and will play a vital role in the technical foundation of our young swimmers. 

Ellie has been swimming competitively since age 10, starting her swim career on the Chapparal Sharks swim team (now Wheatlands Sharks).  She swam at Grandview High School and the Northeastern University Huskies club team.  In college, Ellie set multiple team records and won a National Title for her team, assisted the Huskies in bringing home a National Club title by placing 3rd overall in the 200 Free and anchoring the 1st place finish in the 4x200 relay team.

Coach Ellie has been coaching for 10 years.  She developed her coaching skills with Coach Karen at Wheatlands Sharks swim team as a junior coach and an assistant coach.  As an Assistant Coach on the swim team, she worked with all age groups on stroke technique and the development of swimming skills for competition. While at school at Northeastern University, Ellie furthered her coaching techniques with the local YMCA for the five years of her college career.  Ellie coached small groups of swimmers delivering personalized swim sets to promote safety in the water. 

Ellie’s passion for swimming is only matched by her passion for working with kids to develop their swim proficiency and proper technique skills.

After spending 5 years in Boston at Northeastern, Ellie excitedly moved back to her hometown to pursue her Master's in Public Health at Anschutz medical campus. She will spend her spare time in Colorado hiking and volunteering at the Children's Hospital.





Email: [email protected]

Coach Mia Wood joins as an assistant coach to our group coaches on deck.

Coach Mia is a Grandview High School All-American in the 500 Free, a University of Mines multiple record holder, multi conference champion (200 Free, 500 Free, 1000Free, and 1650 Free), CSCAA 11 time All-America, First Team Scholar All-American, a four time NCAA Division II qualifier, and an NCAA silver medalist in the 1000 Free.

She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics and a Master's degree in Engineering & Technology Management. Coach Mia is currently working as a Technology Consulting associate at RSM and we are thrilled she is also continuing her swim passion as a coach to our young athletes. She brings tremendous talent and energy to the deck.