Paul Lewis Smith
Owner, Director of Coaching-CEO
Since assuming the "helm" of MAC in April of 2009 Paul and his
wife Laura have lead a top to bottom transformation of the club.
The process has involved reorganizing the training groups, adding
dry land training as a component for all age groups, adding
"family" that includes coaches, a team manager and a volunteer
corps that all together have taken the club from a little over 100
to 495 USA Swimming athletes (and over 200 masters registered in
2012). The past year also saw dozens of new team records, USA
Swimming Level 3 Club Recognition achieved, a final ranking of #223
in the USA Club Excellence program (6th best in Arizona) and a VCC
score of 167,553 ranking us at #143 of the close to 3000 year
around swim programs in the country! In addition, with arguably two
of the finest outdoor pools in the country MAC has become one of
the top meet hosts in the world headlined by the 2013 & 2014
Arena Grand Prix events along with Age Group, Senior and 8 and
Under Championships, USA Swimming IMX Championships a USMS Masters
Nationals and co-host of the annual Memorial Day Speedo-Arizona
Invitational that hosted over 900 athletes in 2014.
Paul has a B.A. in Clinical Psychology with a Coaching Minor
from the University of California, Santa Barbara and went on to
obtain his Masters Degree in the same field from Antioch
University. He was a World University Games Gold Medalist and
Record Holder in 1981 and is a two time Olympic Swimming Trials
Qualifier. Paul was an NCAA Swimming All-American in 1980 and 1981
for UC Santa Barbara where he held the 100yd butterfly record of
48.86 set in 1981 for almost 20 years, he was recruited by and
played for their Division l Water Polo Team as well including the
81' & 82' NCAA Championships. Since 2000 Paul has been a two
time USMS Master Swimmer of the Year recipient; is a multiple USMS
World and National Record Holder; has been a USMS All Star 5 times
and is a 10 time USMS All American. He has acquired 174 Age Group
Top Tens in USMS to date. Paul is a USA Certified Coach and an ASCA
Certified Coach. Paul and his wife are Co-owners of Mesa Aquatics
Club, which also encompasses Mesa Masters, MAC Swim Shop and Mesa
Co-owner, Age Group & Strength Coach
Laura Smith is an Arizona native with a life long passion for athletics. She attended Coronado High School, where her achievements included multiple State Records in swimming, State Record in the 800 (Track), Varsity Letterman in Track, Swimming and Cross Country, National Honor Society, President Spanish National Society, and Arizona Scholar Athlete of the year 1984. Laura turned down Academic Full Ride Scholarships to A.S.U.; U of A; and N.A.U. and decided to attend college out of state. She was a Division I Backstroker for University of California, Santa Barbara where she double majored in Comparative Religions and Exercise Science with a Coaching Minor.
Laura worked abroad for 4 ½ years
in the Bahamas, West Indies, Dominican Republic and Mexico designing and implementing sports and fitness programs for both children and adults. Post Graduate, Laura has acquired over 12 National Certifications in the Health and Fitness Industry (A.C.E.; A.F.F.A.; Cooper Institute) and was the Fitness Director / Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Vail Athletic Club and the Arrowhead Alpine Club in Colorado. She is a three time USMS National Champion and was a part of the 800 Women’s Relay National Record team.
Laura and her husband Paul are the Head Masters Coaches and Co-Directors of Mesa Aquatics Club. She currently holds a Level llI ASCA Certification, USMS Level II Certification, and works with our age groupers on deck and all ages running MAC's dryland program.
Meg M Zajdzinski
Age Group Director
Meg Rich-Zajdzinski, better known to us all as Coach Meg, is now
making an impact on the swimming world in Arizona for a fourth decade. Her roots in
swimming, and specifically here in Mesa, began long ago as part of
a swimming family who
spent numerous hours at the pool for practices and meets as her own
competitive career was in its infant stages. She progressed
through the swimming ladder, including an extremely successful
age group experience
with the original version of Mesa Aquatics, continuing on through
her years at Westwood High School, where she was not only an
individual State Champion herself but also a leader on some
excellent teams that
vied for State Championships. Her dedication allowed her qualify
for a college scholarship, first at Arizona State and finally at Colorado State
University. For most, that list of accolades would be enough to
last a lifetime, for
her that was really just a thorough preparation for all that has
Meg reached out to some of the same coaches that had helped
build her own competitive career and sought their advice and counsel on getting started
on a new adventure, a coaching career of her own. She
has worked in
different programs throughout the valley, working side by side with
some of the longest tenured and most experienced coaches in our sport and she
has clearly benefited from those friendships, which now
pay dividends daily
in her work with our own young swimmers. Meg returned to Mesa
Aquatics Club in its newest version 5 years ago and has risen to become
our Age Group Director, responsible for the development
of several hundred
youngsters often younger that she was when her own swimming dream
began. To watch her
teach a skill as simple as drop pushes from the wall, is to
understand the depth of her knowledge and the unique style of her coaching, as she
incorporates in rhyming mnemonics, often incorporated into a
jingle, and small
movements which blend into an integrated whole that will become a
part of those tiny new swimmers base of knowledge for a lifetime.
She is also a big part, along with her husband Chris, in
building a team within a team, as they have 4 children between 12 and 16, all swimmers of
course, who you will see daily as part of our program. You will
also often see Chris
swimming with our Masters program, and when the competitive spirit
moves her, Meg also will jump back into competition as she did when we
hosted Masters Nationals here in Mesa a few years ago, and
what was her
contribution to that effort, National Championships in the 200 and
500 freestyles. They are a family that will sometimes take part in an open water
swim simply because the family that swims together at least gets
to carpool. They live
the typical lives of swimming families, up early, often just as
transportation for teenagers who have 5 am practices at different pools or to
coach one of her own practices.
Meg is an ASCA certified Level III swim coach, in addition to
also being ASCA II certified as a masters coach, but those are not the most important measures
of her value to our program. She and her family are one
of many shining
examples of our team philosophy, "Water is life, swim for life" and
each and every day she instills those same values into athletes as young as 6
or 7 years old, ensuring that the torch will be passed for
Senior Group Director
Jon Shaw grew up in Indiana where he was a
standout age group swimmer and achieved the #1 ranking in US in the
100 fly & 400IM, set state records in the 100 fly, won multiple
state age group and senior championships and is still ranked in the
top 100 in 4 events (40th all time in the 400IM as a 13-14 year
Jon was recruited by and swam for
ASU from 2000-2004 where he was a Pac 10 semi-finalist in the 200
fly and 400IM, he graduated with a BA in Elementary Education and
currently teaches 7th grade Social Studies. Jon's passion for
swimming has never died, he has coached for Sun Devil Aquatics as
well as Sun Devil Masters and joined the MAC family in September of
2009. Jon's forte is technical instruction, in addition to coaching
masters and assisting with MAC's Senior group Jon also does private
Jack joins our team with long history of coaching in
Arizona. He graduated from Saguaro High school, where he swam
for the Varsity Team. From there, he coached a summer Rec
league at South Lake Tahoe, a team of 80 kids. He came back
to the valley and spent 13 years with the City of Scottsdale
working as the summer team coach, team program coordinator and pool
manager. He graduated from Lewis and Clark College in
Portland, Oregon in 1983 with a BS in Psychology and Child
Development. He was the Assistant Coach for the Marcos de
Niza swim team for two years before moving to the Arcadia district
where he coached Arcadia High School to 9 State
Championships! Jack was the Aquatics Director at the Village
Athletic Club for three years before returning to school to obtain
his Law Degree from ASU. He has always been a fan of
swimming, a participant of swimming, and his passion and knowledge
of the sport has led to the success of his swimmers.
Glen L Coy
Age Group Coach-Skyline
Scout, Glen Coy, is a Utah transplant who moved to
Arizona for the availability of year round outdoor activities.
Glen’s full time job is teaching junior high and high school
physical education. When he isn’t teaching or coaching, he
can usually be found enjoying his boat on one of the Valley’s
many lakes, practicing for or participating in wakeboarding
Born and raised in Utah, Glen
swam for Clearfield High School Swim Team, graduating in 1984. He
still holds the school record in the 500 free. In college, he swam
for Truman State University in Missouri, where he held records in
both the 200 back and the 800 free relay.
Glen has coached at the club
level since 1993, mainly coaching the 14 and under age groups.
He holds a Level V ASCA certification. Several of his
age group swimmers, both former and present, have earned National
Age Group Recognition, hold State Records, are State Champions as
well as top 8 finishers at State Championships and Far Westerns.
Glen also has coached several age group swimmers who have
gone on to be Olympic Trial Qualifiers. One former swimmer is a
National Record Holder, as well. Swimmers who had Glen as their age
group coach have gone on to swim for many colleges around the
country, including U-Conn, Stanford, BYU, Washington, U of A,
Pepperdine, UC Irvine, and Drury.
In addition to club coaching, Glen coaches at the high school
level. He has been a high school swimming coach since 1995,
coaching at two 5A schools: Mountain Pointe boys from 95-98 and
Mountain View girls from 1999 to present. During that time,
he has earned numerous coaching recognitions, including High School
Coach of the Year in 02, 03, 05, 06 and 11. Among his high
school swimmers, are several High School State Champions, High
School State Record Holders and High School All Americans.
Glen has been wakeboarding for 14
years and has been the Masters State Champion from 2003 to 2010.
Glen is a big fan of PB and J sandwiches, cheese pizza and
chocolate chip cookies! He stays busy with teaching, coaching and
Age Group Coach-Kino
Eric Dimmery is an Army brat that moved around every three
years. He got to see and experience many places in the United
States and abroad. He moved to Arizona in high school and graduated
from the Mountain View. From there Eric went to the University
of New Mexico on a swimming scholarship. He graduated with a
degree in Education.
He moved back to Arizona in 1997 to teach and coach swimming.
He has coached all levels of swimmers and has been very
successful with each. His swimmers have had all levels of success
from achieving best times to swimming at Olympic Trials. Eric
quit coaching for a few years to further his education and get his
masters in Administration for Educators. He started coaching again
at the high school level for Apache Junction the last three
years where his team made tremendous gains in achievement. He
is happy to be joining our team as a13-14 age group
Novice, Pre-Comp Coach
Paul and Laura noticed Marissa Walz’s natural talent
for coaching young children while she was working for the City
of Mesa. She has been swimming since she was a little girl, and is
still in love with the sport today. She attended Mt.
View High School where she trained under the Legendary Glen Coy.
Currently she just finished her associates degree at Mesa
Community College and plans on returning to receive her Bachelors
this Spring! She would like to become an English professor and have
a part time job as a Fitness Trainer…but we’re
trying to convince her to stick to coaching!!! She is excited to
start spending more time around the pool deck and getting to
know all of the amazing MAC swimmers!
Erin Shields grew up in Northern California and swam as an age grouper and in high school. At 15 she was hired to coach the "Belmont Bullets"- a summer rec. team and quickly realized that she enjoyed the administrative side of competitive swimming much more than participating. Erin coached each summer for 4 years.
Quickly after moving to Batesville, Arkansas to attend Lyon College word got out about Erin's aquatic experience and she was hired to teach the swimming courses at the college. Soon after she was hired to coach the county's year-round team and spent one year coaching the local high school team. During Erin's last season as coach with the "Batesville Torpedoes" the team brought a state title to the team on her last day as a coach- which was also her birthday!
Erin moved to Arizona in 2005 and has been working as a full time swim team administrator since that move. She has served multiple terms as the corporate secretary for Arizona Swimming, Inc., and is on the USMS National Championship Committee. Erin is passionate about the future of swimming in Arizona and hopes to continue to be able to bring world class swimming and competition to Mesa!
When Erin is not running a meet or hanging out at the pool she is busy chasing 7 year old Connor who is thrilled to finally be an official MAC-ster!
Heather Haynes Solomon, joined the MAC family as a six year old. She grew up swimming with the likes of Meg, Sheila and Eric! She was a top finisher in breaststroke and sprint freestyle events, and swam both at Junior National’s. After graduation, while attending ASU (BA Communications 1991), she coached MAC age groupers six years and concurrently coached the Mountain View Girls, leading them to five consecutive State Runner-Up titles. She was AIA Coach of the Year 1992. By 1994 she had four little rambunctious boys and left the deck to raise them and a girl born in 1998.
Heather continued to teach learn to swim, technique and adult swimming lessons. Together with husband Warren, they’ve enjoyed an active lifestyle: hiking, backpacking, running, and adventure racing when they weren’t at their boys' football games and wrestling matches. Their daughter, London, passed away in 1995 at 7 years old from Acute Myeloid Leukemia. To help other families in crisis situations like the one London experienced, Heather was Executive Director of London’s Run (6 years). Directing events and leadership positions has schooled her in mentoring and organizational experience. They are now proud grandparents and are thrilled to see their family growing up.
When her youngest son joined the dive team, Heather returned to the deck (!) to coach the Queen Creek High School swim team as both assistant and head coach (2007 to present), and is excited to be back in the club swimming scene both as a Masters swimmer and coach! She loves working with all ages. Her love is seeing swimmers “get it”, learn to love it, and experience success in competition. With a focus on detail and technique, she believes that swimming is a portal to learning life lessons that will bless and enhance lives... and that swimming is fun!
her coaching career assisting her father at the Lakes Beach &
Tennis Club in Tempe. Over the past 30 years she has implemented
comprehensive learn-to-swim programs and coached swimmers of all
ages from novice to elite. She is authorized as a water safety
instructor by the American Red Cross and volunteers with this
Sheila’s coaching philosophy
— Less is More — evolved while working for U.S.A.
Swimming at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Her
initial responsibilities included the World Championship Tracking
and National Developing Elite Athlete Testing programs. She later
served as Coordinator of Sport Science Services and was responsible
for conducting biomechanical, metabolic, nutritional,
physiological, psychological, and technical analyses. She was also
the first person to experience the internationally acclaimed flume
or swimming treadmill, and conducted numerous specialized training
and research studies using the flume.
The years spent studying the
science of swimming and art of coaching affirmed that
individualization is essential and quality matters most.
Consequently, Sheila’s programs emphasize building endurance
through technique and skill development as well as kinesthetic
awareness, efficiency, specificity, recovery, relaxation, balance,
speed, flexibility, variety, and most importantly —
In addition to being a coach,
scientist, and educator, Sheila is also a swimmer. She began
swimming competitively at the age of 5 and is a former Arizona
age-group state champion and record holder. She earned most
valuable honors throughout high school and college. Sheila
graduated from Occidental College (NCAA Division III) with records
infour individual and four relay events and was selected as a
member of the All-America Collegiate Swimming Team in thirteen
events over four years.
Sheila joined masters swimming in
the early 1990s. In 1994 she won the 50- and 100-yard breaststrokes
as well as the 100-yard individual medley at the U.S. Masters
Swimming Nationals held at Arizona State University. In 2003 she
achieved the honor of “All American Masters Swimmer” by
recording the fastest times in the 50- and 100-yard breaststrokes
for women ages 35-39. She also swam to three individual and three
relay top-ten finishes at the 2006 FINA World Masters Championships
held at Stanford University.
Sheila met her husband, Dave
Faulkner, at the Olympic Training Center where he was a resident
athlete and member of the U.S.A. National Judo Team. Dave continues
to enjoy and coach judo at a local club. Married nearly 20 years,
the couple has two daughters — Darian and Devyn (yes, they
swim and play a little judo too). Sheila earned a BA from
Occidental College, a MS in exercise science from the University of
Colorado, and a PhD in higher education from the University of
Denver. She has worked at Colorado College, Colorado State
University, the University of Colorado, the University of Denver,
Education Commission of the States, and WestEd.
Age Group Coach- Kino
Nichol started swimming at the age of 5 and swam at Kino with the original Mesa Aquatics Club alongside her coaching colleagues, Coach Meg and Coach Eric. She was a 4 year scholar athlete at Westwood High School and a Junior National qualifier in the 200 and 400 IM and 200 fly. She was top 4 in numerous events for four years in AZ state meets, including the IM, fly, and distance free events.
She swam on scholarship at Brigham Young University where she continued competing in distance free, fly and IM events. She was part of a dedicated team that won the WAC 3 of her 4 years. In 1991 was a Cougar Club Scholar/ Athlete. She was 1991/92 WAC scholar athlete. She was a final at the WAC championships in the mile and 400 IM. Nichol was co-captain her senior year at BYU.
While competing at BYU she met and married her husband, a sprinter on the BYU men's team. They have been married for 21 years and have 4 children.
Nichol coached for Scottsdale Aquatics in 1997, then went on to teach first grade for a few years at the Franklin schools. She was a stay at home mom for several years and has spent the last 6 years as a reading specialist with Kyrene Schools. Three of her kids swam for Sun Devils, so when the merge of teams happened, she was blessed to be able to step back on deck with her old teammates. In addition to coaching, Nichol is a youth leader at her church for 40 young women. Besides teenagers, she also enjoys reading, hiking, the movies and a good nap.
Haley J Gordon
Novice, Precomp, Age Group Coach
Haley grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
where she started swimming at the age of 7. Her parents put her and
her two brothers in the pool and they never got out. She quickly
fell in love with the sport and joined the Sioux Falls Snowfox Swim
Team, where she was coached by her mom and swam with her brothers.
The family aspect of swimming has always been her favorite part of
the sport, and she is very grateful that it continually brings her
Haley set many SD state records through the
years and competed at the Junior and Senior National levels. She
was recruited and swam at the Big Ten level for the University of
Iowa, swimming alongside her older brother as an Iowa Hawkeye.
During her sophomore year, she was elected Team Captain and began
serving on the Iowa Student Athlete Advisory Committee (ISAAC). She
served on ISAAC for three years, in which she was Secretary her
junior and senior years. Her junior year at Iowa also welcomed her
younger brother as a swimmer for the Hawkeyes, bringing all three
siblings together on deck. At the Big Ten Championship Meet her
senior year, Haley set the Iowa School Record in the 100 Butterfly
and contributed to another Iowa School Record in the 400-Medley
Haley became a Certified Health Education
Specialist in April 2014 and graduated from the University of Iowa
in May with a BA in Health and Human Physiology. She held an
internship in Des Moines, IA over the summer, working as a wellness
intern in a retirement community and moved to Arizona in August.
She began coaching for MAC in September and continues to swim with
the MAC Masters. She is excited to be a part of the MAC family and
share her enthusiasm for the sport with all the amazing MAC
swimmers! Go Narwhals!
Age Group Coach - Skyline
Kara Keithley is a native to Arizona. She
grew up in Northern Arizona. Kara began swimming at the age of
five. She grew up around water sports: boating and fishing. At the
age of fifteen she began to work for parks and recreation and just
completed her thirty-third year. She has been a swim instructor,
swim coach, and pool manager. She has taught lifeguard training
courses for twenty-eight years as well as teaching instructors how
to teach swim lessons. Kara is involved in many aquatic advisory
committees. She graduated with a BA in Elementary Education
and currently teaches 7th grade English. She also holds a MA in
Administration and MA in Counseling.
Kara has two children. She taught both
children to swim as soon as they could crawl. Her daughter
swam for Red Mountain High School and graduated in 2012. Her
son is in 8th grade.
Kara holds an SG (Starguard), SGIT
(Starguard Instructor Trainer), SSI( Swim Lesson Instructor),
SSIT(Swim Lesson Instructor Trainer), and Coaches Safety Training