All Splitz Gym gymnastic coaches hold professional coaching qualifications through Gymnastics Queensland.  Each coach also holds a Blue Card and a current First Aid certificate.

John Zhang

Owner and Head Coach

John Zhang - Head coach and owner of Splitz Gym Gymnastics

John’s gymnastic career started when he was 10 years old and living in China and has continued ever since.  While training, John competed at National and International competitions and was in the Top 10 of the Chinese National Team.  A highpoint of John’s competitive years was when he developed a move for gymnast Li Ning, who represented China at the Olympics.

John began coaching when he was 30 and living in Sydney, Australia, after gaining his MAG Level 2 (now equivalent to MAG Advanced Silver) accreditation.  He then moved to Splitz Gym in Brisbane in 2005 where he has been coaching MAG gymnasts ever since.

In 2015, John had the opportunity of becoming a joint owner of Splitz Gym.  In 2017, he took full ownership of the club.

Senior Coaches

Qualified Gymnastic Coaches

Maria Choulenania
WAG Advance Qualification

Splitz is very fortunate to have the highly experienced Maria, who has coached for 16 years, as our WAG Development squad level 5.

Originally from Russia, Maria was following in her mother’s footsteps when she began gymnastics at the age of six, and she loves the mental and physical challenges of gymnastics.

Maria was Moscow Champion three times, and has coached an All Around Regionals Champion and two State Beam Champions.

Our Coaches

WAG and MAG Qualified Gymnastic Coaches

WAG Intermediate Qualification

My parents put me into gymnastics when I was 2 years old as they caught me playing on a garage roof. I trained at Niddrie gymnastics in Victoria for 12 years.  My greatest gymnastics achievement has been representing Victoria in state teams.  I love that gymnastics can set you up for so much in life.  Not only is it great for the body but you learn discipline, resilience and make lifelong friends.  The best part to is achieving things you didn’t know you were capable of.  In the past I coached for 4 years in Victoria.  I then joined the join the Army and am now wanting to get back into coaching.  I will be coaching jumpstart girls.  I enjoy seeing the kids have fun, learn new skills and overcome some fears.

Janis Grommen

I was always doing flips and going upside down as a kid. Hence, mum put me into gymnastics and enjoyed winning nationals overall and being able to experience competing in different states.

What I enjoy most about gymnastics is the competitiveness and the friendships you build.

I joined the Splitz coaching team in May 2021 and coach Level 1 and recreational gymnastics Jumpstart.  What I enjoy about coaching is sharing my experience and teaching the kids to be the best they can.

Finn Williams
MAG Intermediate Qualification

I got involved in Gymnastics at a young age at Splitz, and when I moved school did BBC gymnastics.  Then I decided to come back and coach.   My greatest gymnastics achievement is doing a backflip on the floor for the first time.   I love to learn new skills and achieve goals.  I have been coaching since the start of term 3 2020 and I am coaching level 1-3 MAG.  I love coaching the boys because I like to see them have fun.

Jamie Tromp
WAG Intermediate Qualification

Jamie's greatest gymnastic achievement was winning a medal on vault at the Australian National Championships when she was in Level 10.  Coaching now for a number of years, Jamie enjoys sharing her love for gymnastics with others and teaching her Level 3 Silver gymnasts to achieve their best.  She believes that gymnastics is exciting and fun.  It is also a great sport for building close friendships with teammates.  Jamie started gymnastics when she was five years old after a brief attempt at dancing.  Gymnastics was just around the corner from dance and she loved it straight away.

Jenene Kaczmarczyk
WAG Intermediate/GFA Qualifications

Jenene has been coaching for 23 years since she started as a volunteer in the Northern Territory when the eldest of her five daughters started gymnastics.  Jenene then went on to get her coaching qualification in Darwin and now holds WAG Intermediate accreditation, Intermediate Bronze judging qualification, and her Gymnastics for All (GFA) qualification for Kindergym.  For Jenene, gymnastics is so much more than winning medals – she believes it is more about the life journey of the sport and the life skills that gymnasts develop along the way.  She has loved seeing hundreds of girls that she has coached as gymnasts go on to achieve amazing professional careers and she attributes a large portion of their success to the sport.  She believes gymnastics develops discipline and goal setting skills as well as friendships and life experience.

Laura Barr
WAG Advance Qualification

Laura’s gymnastics career started at the age of five and she competed in the Auckland region until she was 13.  She them moved competitive cheerleading and after only a few months in the sport, she was selected in to a Level 5 New Zealand representative team that competed and won competitions in the United States.  Laura coached as a teenager and then again last year, in addition to her job as a legal assistant.  After going on maternity leave at the end of 2017, she realised she did not want to work in an office anymore, instead deciding to pursue a career as a gymnastics coach. Joining us in 2019 from Aerosports Allstars in Geelong, Victoria, Laura is coaching our WAG Level 5 gymnasts along with our Pre-Levels gymnasts and our Kindergym classes.  She also assists Bo with our Level 6 and 7 gymnasts and is undertaking her Advanced coach's course next year.  Laura is also currently finishing her additional Intermediate qualifications for tumbling and Kindergym

Laura K
WAG Intermediate Qualification
I started gymnastics at the age of 8 after a few years in classical ballet training.  From the time I saw the Australian team in the 1992 Olympics I was fascinated.  My parents also wanted me to stop climbing everything at home!
I’ have done a round trip back into the gym, after I spent 10 years of childhood training at the ViS in Melbourne, and National stream Clubs like Niddrie Gymnastics and competing Levels 9 and 10 for Victoria with MLC Gymnastics.  Because of gymnastics I competed at the National Championships for Victoria for 5 years, I got to travel to and compete in Plano, Texas and Pennsylvania against international gymnasts, as well as represent Victoria in The Pacific School Games.  I was also proud to earn a silver medal in a combined national and international stream competition on Beam, and win gold medals on Bars and Floor in Level 9 competitions.
I love that it teaches you a kind of resilience that carries into so many aspects of life long after the hard hours of training are done.  I love that I will never forget the positive impact my coaches had on my character because of how many hours I spent growing up with them in training, I love that the sport requires so much of a person, and yet proves how strong the human spirit can be in doing what it takes to go from impossible to possible!  I have been teaching acrobatics in varying capacities because of my career that spans dance, gymnastics and circus.  But coaching WAG is a new adventure for me.  I have the wonderful privilege of joining the team at Splitz to coach the Team 1 girls, and The Level 5s.  I love that it is up to me to pass on the knowledge to gymnasts that will make the difference in their level of success in the sport.  I love the challenge of mentoring and the opportunity I have to understand even more about the sport through my gymnasts eyes.
Natalie Katafiasz
WAG Beginner Qualification
Nikita Hogrefe
WAG Beginner Qualification

One of our younger coaches, Nikita only retired from competitive gymnastics in 2018 and loves that she is now able to pass on her gymnastics knowledge to the next generation of gymnasts.  Starting gymnastics when she was six-years-old, Nikita's greatest gymnastics achievement was becoming Level 6 State Champion on beam in 2015, when she also placed 3rd overall.  In 2014, in Level 5, she came second overall with silver on three apparatus.  Nikita loves that gymnastics makes you physically fit and encourages a healthy lifestyle.  She also is a great believer in its ability to develop confidence and to forge lifelong friendships.  Nikita is our Pre-Level Silver and Level 2 Silver coach this year and we can't wait to see her coaching abilities continue to grow!

Peri Brown
WAG Beginner Qualification

Peri's mum decided to enrol her in gymnastics at Splitz when she was five because she spent all her free time doing handstands and cartwheels around the house.  She went on to achieve a fourth place on beam at State Championships and has now been coaching for three years.  A former Level 5 gymnast, Peri believes that gymnastics is accessible to everyone and sees Splitz as a home away from home.  As a coach, Peri enjoys helping her gymnasts to achieve their goals and loves seeing the smiles on their faces when that happens.  She is coaching WAG Level 3 Blue and some JumpStart classes.

Olivia Watson
WAG Beginner Qualification
I started gymnastics when I was four which was in 2009, my mum took me to kindergym and I loved it.   Placing in the top 3 at states for 3 years in a row.  Being able to achieve new skills but the friends ships have been by far the best thing.  I have been a Splitz coach for around 1 year, coaching Jumpstart girls and being able to pass my knowledge on, and making classes fun for the kids.
Sam Weatherhog
WAG/MAG Advance Qualifications

Sharnee Lee
WAG/MAG Intermediate Qualifications

Sharnee started gymnastics when she was six years old and she began training at Splitz in 2004.  While reaching Level 5 as a gymnast, Sharnee sees her greatest gymnastics achievements in coaching.  She finds great satisfaction in helping her gymnasts to achieve skills that once seemed impossible to them. She also enjoys re-learning the skills she did as a 13-year-old.  Sharnee has been coaching since 2013 and is involved with the Challenge 2 and 3 classes this year as well as taking the Tumbling and Level 2 and 3 MAG classes.  She loves that gymnastics uses all the muscles of the body rather than just a few muscle groups.

Steve Harmer
MAG Advance Qualification

Steve’s gymnastics career spanned over 18 years in Cape Town, South Africa, where he trained up to an elite level and won the South African Championships in 1995 and 2002.  He was also runner up in 2003.  Coaching now for four years, Steve’s ambition is to give back to the sport he loves by teaching and transferring all the skills he learnt as a gymnast to the boys and girls he teaches.  He loves how gymnasts make tumbling, twisting, and somersaulting look so easy.  Steve coaches our MAG gymnasts from Pre-Levels through to our Senior levels.

Sydney Debnam
WAG Beginner Qualification
At the age of 3 (2008) I joined Splitz Gymnastics and began participating in kinder gym.  I became involved at this particular gym because my sister had joined prior to me and my mum thought it would be a great way to release my energy.  My greatest gymnastics achievement would have to be competing as a Level 7 gymnast at State Championships.  I love that sport consists of both individual and team aspects, allowing you to feel as if you are always a part of a team.  I have been coaching for just over 1 year.  I am currently coaching Jumpstart Girl.  I love seeing the excitement of gymnasts after achieving skills they may have struggled with or never did before.  Syd is a beginner coach at the moment.
Talitha Debnam
WAG Intermediate Qualification

I started gymnastics at the age of 10 after watching my sister train and begging my mum to sign me up.  My greatest gymnastics achievement is state championships.  I have been coaching for almost 6 years and am taking level 1/2 silver, level 2 blue and Gems this year.  I love that gymnastics teaches you so much more then just the sport itself.  It teaches you how to work as a team, self discipline, positive thinking, and how to trust yourself.

Yama Minoru
MAG Intermediate Qualification

When I was 10 years old I saw the Tokyo Olympics gymnastics on the TV.  After seeing it, I really wanted to be able to do a back handspring.  I went with my friends to the sandhills and we all just tried it.  It was not until I started Junior High School that I had the opportunity to try gymnastics at a gym.  I did not do any others sports but I was a very fast runner at primary school.  At high school I represented our state at the All Japan Gymnastics Championships and also when I represented Australia at the World Championships in 1983 and 1985.  I really like the challenge aspect of gymnastics.  The feeling when you have been trying to achieve a new skill and then suddenly you can do it!  After I got a gymnastics scholarship to go to Chukyo University to train, I would return to my high school and help coach the students during my holidays.  But as a full time coach, I started when I came to Brisbane to live in 1980.  This year I will be coaching the boys in levels one to four.  I enjoy the happiness shown when a gymnast learns something new.

Isla Williams

Intermediate WAG Coach