Zach Spitzer – Head Boys Coach/Director
Zach began his rowing career at Niskayuna High School where he learned to scull and sweep. He then went on to row at Syracuse University for his freshman year. Following that, he began working for the athletic department at Syracuse University, earning his Masters in Secondary Education.
After graduating, Zach went on to coach at Niskayuna High, PNRA/Mercer, Row New Jersey and Saugatuck Rowing Club. In his time at each club, Zach has coached boats to the finals at Canadian Henley, Club Nationals, Youth Nationals and Top 15 finishes at Head of the Charles.
His goal is to make a boathouse of competitive athletes that not only have a passion for rowing, but a passion for life. He will develop a culture where athletes push each other, hold each other accountable and build lasting friendships through hard work, determination and fun.
Jessica Eiffert-Spitzer- Head of Athlete Development/Head Varsity Girls Coach
Jessica began her rowing career at Pittsford Crew in Rochester New York. She won multiple NYS Championships and earned a gold medal at Junior World Championships in the 4+ her senior year.
She went on to row at the University of Michigan, earning 2nd at the NCAA Championships in 2012. In her summers should would row for the U23 National Team, earning three golds and one silver medal over her two summers on the team. She then went on to train with the National Team in Princeton, and have a brief stint as a Volunteer Assistant Coach at the University of Texas.
Following her rowing career, Jessica was the Head of Beginner/Intermediate at Saugatuck Rowing Club, before moving on to be the Women’s Head Coach at PCRA in 2018. Before coming to us, she was an Assistant Coach at Rutgers University.
Jessica is also a Certified Personal Trainer and will be offering personal training out of Nereid.
Ryan Lillis- Boatman/Assistant Coach
Ryan began his rowing career as a coxswain at St. Peter’s Prep where he coxed the boy’s junior 4+ to a Stotesbury Cup and SRAA Nationals gold medal. He then went on to cox the varsity 8+ for four years at Marist College culminating in Marist’s return to the IRA Regatta for the first time in over a decade in 2018. Additionally, Ryan coxed the Vesper U23 Men’s team to multiple medals at Club Nationals and a gold medal in the U23 8+ at Canadian Henley in 2017. After graduating from Marist, Ryan spent time coaching at New York Rowing Association and Mary Whipple’s 9th Seat coxswain camp. Most recently, Ryan served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Georgetown Heavyweight men in 2019 while working towards his Master’s degree.
Ryan’s goal is to help athletes become detail-oriented students of the sport and for the athletes to develop a desire to grow and improve. He is excited to share his love of rowing with the athletes and wants to help create a fun and competitive environment.
“I’m very happy to share my passion of helping boats go fast with the rowers at Nereid!”
Connor Sawyers- Head of Beginner/Intermediate
Connor, a Wisconsin native, was a lifelong competitive swimmer before making the jump to rowing during his undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After learning to row with the UW Men’s Team he continued the aquatic streak by joining the UW Sailing Team, and rowed with the Mendota Rowing Club for the next 4 years.
After graduation he moved to Cleveland, OH, where he joined the Cleveland Foundry Juniors’ (CFJ) coaching staff as an Assistant Coach for their Middle School, Novice, and Varsity coed programs. Over the subsequent 4 years he worked with every boat class and saw the program adapt to a 1x/2x focus and virtual format during the pandemic.
A brief stint in 2021-2022 saw Connor join the Magnificat Rowing staff as an Assistant Coach for their Olympic Weightlifting program before being named CFJ’s Head Coach. Within a short period his focus on rebuilding Cleveland Foundry Juniors saw 3 boats qualify, and 2 row at Youth Nationals, ending the program’s 10+ year drought from the national scene.
Connor is a USRowing and USA Weightlifting Level 2 Coach, and as a recent East Coast transplant, is excited to join Nereid Boat Club as the Head of Beginner/Intermediate.
Jennifer Hagedorn- Assistant Coach
Jenn began her rowing career in 2012 at Greater Dayton Rowing Association in Ohio, where she quickly found a love for the sport. Her junior year of college, she left the Midwest to row at Sacred Heart University, where she worked her way up to the V8+. Less than a year after graduating, she began as the volunteer assistant coach for Manhattan College Women’s Rowing. In her first season on the water, she coached the V4+ to the program’s highest placing finish at the 2019 MAAC Championship. Coming out of COVID, she coached the 2V8+ to yet another highest placing finish at MAACs in 2021. After that, she switched gears to be the head of the middle school program at Manhasset for a year.
Jenn has attributed much of her successes in life to the work ethic and perseverance she learned from the sport. She wants the athletes she coaches to take the same important skills away from the sport as she has.
“I am pumped to bring my passion for rowing to Nereid’s competitive program!”