Our Instructors | Catch the wave swim club
Catch the wave swim club

Our Instructors

Debbie and Troy Stoffregen, Owners   

”Believe in yourself, not only in swimming, but in life itself. You always have to have fun. Enjoy Life!” 

Catch the Wave started as a dream over 10 years ago.  Debbie started teaching out of her home with 4 students and after a few short months grew to over a 100 students.   She needed more pool space, so she started renting local hotel pools in the area.  As the Catch the Wave swim program has developed over the years, the one aspect that has always guided our passion is “swimming lessons save lives”!  Survival and safety is Catch the Wave’s number one focus.   To watch our own children share in the passion and grow as young adults, we are extremely proud of each and every one of them.   With the help of Debbie’s parents, Don and Georgia, Catch the Wave opened its doors in 2011.We will be forever grateful to them for helping us obtain our dream.   We can’t thank our Catch the Wave Families enough for trusting us with your children and teaching them this life saving!

Fun Facts:  

  • We love to spend time with our 4 kids and 3 grandkids!
  • Debbie has been a swimmer all her life and resident of the area since she was young.
  • Troy and Debbie met at Illinois State University.
  • Troy and Debbie both have their Bachelors of Science in Chemistry and Biology.
  • Troy, along with helping out at Catch the Wave from time to time, is currently employed at Johnson and Johnson as a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep.
  • 4 children (Brandon, Tanner, Briana, Somer)
  • 3 grandkids (Lucas, Nathan, Joshua)


Brandon Stoffregen, General Manager   

”From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”

Brandon attended the University of Illinois at Chicago on a track scholarship. He graduated with a major in Biology and Math.  He started with Catch the Wave shortly after graduating.    He has flown all over the United States speaking to members of the United States Swim School Association.  He has had extensive training and certification in Parent/Tot and Special Needs instruction.  Working with children with special needs is just one of many passions for Brandon. He also started a “non-profit” foundation to help children with special needs. In July of 2013, he started the first SPECIAL OLYMPICS for swimming in this area. His training in special needs along with his development of our PARENT/TOT program has made Brandon and our program one of the best “learn to swim” programs in the area! He enjoys teaching kids and wants EVERY child to swim and be safe in and around the water. We are very proud of Brandon’s accomplishments at Catch the Wave!

Fun Facts:

  • Brandon is married to Erin, with three children Lucas, Nathan, and Joshua.
  • Brandon loves to spend his free time with his 3 boys!
  • Brandon is a Bears fan!!!  Go Bears!
  • Erin is a Packer fan!
  • Brandon still holds the 400 yard school record at Boylan High School since he graduated in 2006.
  • He loves to run marathons and triathlons.


Ms. Kelli, Manager

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Hi, my name is Kelli. I am married and have two children, Jacob and Hayley.  I started at Catch the Wave four years ago. I recently finished my Special Needs and Infant/Toddler certification in Florida through the United States Swim School Association.   My family is the joy of my heart and I love to spend all the time I can with family and friends!  I love to Teach and I love all the families I meet every day at Catch the Wave.  My family means everything to me and so does your family.

Fun Facts:  

  • I have been married to my high school sweetheart, Steve, for 29 years.
  • I have a dog named Colt who has eaten 50 pairs of shoes.
  • Love to cook!  Cooking is my passion.
  • Love my garden!  Love to can vegetables and fruits.
  • Hayley is a RN and working at St. Joe’s in Milwaukee on the Mother/Baby unit.
  • Jacob is working at CTW and is finishing his degree in Sociology at Rockford University.
  • I am a “beach bum” at heart.  I travel to “The Keys” every Summer. I want to retire there someday.
  • Worked at Prairie Hill School for 10 years as a food coordinator.
  • Coached Cheerleading and Pom for 4 years
  • Coached Team Penguin for 2 years with my kids.  I loved it!  It was the best experience of my life!    Our team was top 3 in the conference both years! Way to go Team Penguin!
  • Love Sushi
  • Love to Fish, Water Ski, &  Snow Ski


Mr. Tanner, Instructor   

“Every Accomplishment starts with a decision to try”

Tanner attends the University of Missouri..We are happy to have Tanner join us for on his “breaks” to teach our stroke clinics. Tanner keeps busy with his studies and swimming or for The Mizzou Club team.  Tanner is  majoring in Business and will continue his education in pre-law.

Fun Facts:

  • Upon completing his final season of varsity swimming at Boylan, he finished first in sectionals in both the 100 breast and 200 IM and qualified for High School State in both events.
  • He broke the long-standing record for the fastest breaststroker to come through Rockford since the late 80s

Ms. Briana, Instructor

”I swim therefore, IM”

Briana Stoffregen attends Rock Valley College with her Twin Sister, Somer.   Bri is a sophomore in high school and currently attending the high school connections program at RVC obtaining an Associates Degree in Science.   Bri has been swimming since she could crawl and competitively swimming for 9 years. “I love swimming and have A LOT of swimming experience and can’t wait to share it with you and your children!”

Fun Facts:

  • Bri has an older twin by 2 minutes!
  • In Bri’s free time, she loves watching her favorite TV show, Castle.
  • State and National qualifier in swimming.
  • Bri has 3 siblings, all of which work at Catch the Wave. (Brandon, Tanner, and Somer)
  • Bri has almost 10 years of training, working side by side with mom!
  • Wants to be a Doctor when she graduates.
  • Will obtain her Associates of Science at 17!

Ms. Somer, Instructor   

”Life is simple.  Eat, Sleep, Swim”

Somer Stoffregen is 16 years old and currently attending Rock Valley College.  She is a sophomore in High School.  She has been swimming since she could crawl and has been a competitive swimmer for the past 9 years.  “My goal as an instructor is to help kids learn to swim and teach them competitive technique. My ultimate goal is to make my students fall in love with swimming, like I have, and hopefully they will be the next Rebecca Soni or Michael Phelps!  Most of all, I want them to HAVE FUN and be safe in the water!”

Fun Facts:

  • Younger twin by 2 minutes!
  • State and National qualifier in swimming.
  • Somer has almost 10 years of training, working side by side with mom!
  • Wants to be a Physical Therapist when she graduates.
  • Will obtain her Associates of Science at 17!

Don and Georgia Kinser

”Give God your weakness and he will give you his strength”  

Don and Georgia Kinser have been married for 60 years.  They are the parents of Debbie Stoffregen and the Grandparents of Brandon, Tanner, Briana, and Somer.  Don designed and helped with the building of Catch the Wave.  You might see Don around Catch the Wave checking out the “mechanics” of the building and making sure that everything is running as it should be!   Georgia has been very active in the church and plays the organ.  You might hear her play from time to time!

Fun Facts:  

  • 13 Grandkids
  • 5 Great Grandkids
  • Don is a retired Engineer for Dean’s Food Company where he was Vice President of Engineering for over 40 years.
  • Don was a flight engineer in the Navy during the Korean War.
  • Don and Georgia met at a Navy dance in 1953 and have been together ever since.
  • Georgia is a great musician and can play ANY song by ear.  As kids, we played the game “Stump Mom”   We would sing or play a song on the radio to see if she could play it on the piano.  We never won!
  • Georgia has been very active in the church as an organist and in the pro life group.
  • Georgia plays the organ and piano at many of the local Catholic Churches.
  • Georgia was in a traveling Christian band “back in the days!”
  • Favorite Hobby is playing with our grandchildren

Ms. Amanda, Manager   

”Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

I am a writer, a runner, and I love working with children. I served 8 years in the Army as a medic in the military and 5 years in the private sector.  It was an exciting and rewarding experience, but what I love the most is helping children succeed.  I love my family and I love the new families that I meet every day at Catch the Wave.   I look forward to teaching your children this important life saving skill.

Fun facts:

  • I have been married to my husband, Mathew, for 15 years.  We have 2 children, 14 & 10.
  • My 10 year old swims at CTW and is working towards swim team!
  • I have a silly Italian greyhound named Starbuck and 3 spoiled cats.
  • I was a Nanny for 3 years and loved it!
  • Worked at the YMCA daycare with over 600 kids for 3 years.
  • Traveled to China, Albania, Mexico, & India as a missionary. (Before kids!)

Mr.  Jacob, Instructor

Swimming is all about good times”

Hello, my name is Jacob Darin and I’m happy to be allowed to join the other wonderful instructors here at Catch The Wave Swim Club. I currently attend Rockford University obtaining my Bachelors in Sociology.  I have 3 years of competitive swimming in high school under my belt as well as 3 years of swim instructor experience with kids aged 8-12 at the swim club program up at UW-Platteville, WI. I am happy and excited to be able to continue teaching what I know best, which is swimming, to your kids. I hope we all can have a great time together!

Fun Facts:

  • I love Sushi
  • I love comics
  • I play video games online with my friends.
  • I fish, snow ski, jet ski, and golf.
  • Never had a dog growing up, now I do!

Ms. Sondra, Instructor   

”You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.”

Hi, my name is Sondra. I’ve worked at Catch the Wave since August 2014.  I love to teach your children.  I never dreamed I would have this great opportunity to teach.  The importance of what I do every day was told to me by a grateful mother and father.   Their 3 year old son who had taken only a few lessons from me was vacationing in Florida.  Without the parents seeing him, he fell off an 8 foot high dock.   A local cook who saw the incident stated that by the time he dove into the water to rescue him, he was at the surface of the water.    The only thing that this little boy remembers’ is that his clothes got wet!  Wow, what a great feeling to know what I do, can save children’s lives!   I love my job!

Fun Facts:

  • I have a weakness for brightly colored sunglasses and sweet tea.
  • My favorite things are batman, books and music.
  • I love Harry Potter and Star Wars.
  • I have two dogs

Ms. Kris, Manager

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Hi! My name is Krista Fletcher, but please call me Kris, otherwise, I’ll think I’m in trouble! I have two wonderful daughters. Both were born in Guatemala and came to be United States citizens at 5 months old! Adopting them is the major highlight of my life! Currently, Mariela is 12 years old and in 6th grade. Daniela is 10 years old and in 5th grade. They attend Hallstrom Homeschool Co-op in Rockford, IL. I enjoy working at Catch the Wave and love getting to know the families and children at Catch the Wave!  Thank you for allowing me to teach your children this important lifesaving skill!

Fun Facts:

  • We enjoy helping animals, walking outside, and playing on our computers.
  • My first job, at 15, was as a swimming instructor and lifeguard. I did that for about 10 years, loved it, and then I got a “real” job as a special education teacher in Rochelle. Coming back to teaching swimming is like coming full circle for me.
  • I have endorsements in learning disabilities, behavior disorders, and English language learning (2nd language acquisition) as well
  • I am an elementary school teacher in Rochelle, IL. I have taught for 25 years, both as a special education teacher, grades kindergarten through 6th and as a mainstream 4th-grade teacher.
  • I have 2 Masters Degrees in Education. One is in Reading and the other is in Instructional Strategies
  • Held at gunpoint in Guatemala!
  • Deb has been my best friend since college!  (Please don’t count the years!)


Mr. Derek, Instructor

“If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal”

I graduated from UW Whitewater in May of 2015 with a math major and physics minor.  I hope to be a high school math teacher. I love working with kids.  I have been teaching swim lessons for 12 years and competitively swimming since I was six.  I enjoy sharing my knowledge of swimming with others.

Fun Facts:

  • I qualified for D3 Nationals in college for swimming
  • I enjoy playing all sports.  My favorites are fencing ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, and jiu-jitsu.
  • I love to read and hope to write my own book someday.
  • I love animals and I have a cat and hope to get a husky in the next couple of years.