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Meet our Coaches

The Vitras Swim Club is dedicated to it's most important assets, our swimmers.

If you have any questions related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, dues, safety, or policy issues please contact Sarah Byers at 630-728-9104 or email at coach@swimvitras.com

Coaching Staff

Sarah Byers

Head Coach

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Coach: Black I, II, III 

2015 Arizona Age Group Coach of the Year 

I have been with the Vitras as the Head Coach since January 2013 and during my time as head coach the club has more than quadrupled in size and talent. We have had multiple athletes qualify for the Regional and State Meet every season as well as having mutiple athletes make State finals and Far Western, Zone and Sectional time standards. VSC recently placed 2nd overall as a team at the 2016 Arizona Regional State Championship Short course Meet as well as 2nd overall at the 2015 Arizona Regional State Championship Long Course Meet. I was extremely honored to be named 2015 Arizona Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year for my work with VSC. 

I have over 12 years of competitive swimming experience. During my swimming career I was an All-American, State Champion and Record Holder, Junior National Qualifier, Empire State Games Gold Medalist and Division I Scholarship Athlete at Miami University. I still continue to swim competitively today and most recently completed my second Escape from Alcatraz Cold Rough Water Swim (without a wetsuit!) placing second overall. 

My experience working with young adults is expansive as well. While a student-athlete in college I taught swim lessons, and after college I had the opportunity to be the Assistant Coach for the Middlebury College USA Swim Team and the Assistant Coach at the Vermont Area Swim Team. I coached at these clubs while earning my Master's degree at the University of Vermont. After earning my Master's Degree I relocated to Arizona and began my teaching career where I taught Middle School Science for seven years at Verrado Middle School. During my teaching career I was awarded the West Side Impact Teacher of the Year in 2012. 

I am very passionate for the sport of swimming and what it can do for young athletes.  I encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle for all our swimmers on our club. To me, swimming is a team sport and nothing beats being on a team full of positive, hard working, healthy athletes! 

My coaching credentials include being a USA certified coach, a Level III American Swim Coaches Association Coach, and a World Swim Coaches Association Coach. 

I live right down the street from the pool in Verrado and you will see me around town walking my two dogs, hiking, biking, running, and of course swimming! 

 

Katie Gunther

Head Assistant Coach

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Coach: Red I II III, LTS and Silver Group

VSC Coach since: 2014

I grew up in Avondale, Arizona and swam in club swimming starting in second grade.  After high school I earned a scholarship to attend the University of Connecticut on a swimming scholarship.  While in college I earned many awards including the, “Outstanding Freshman Award”, the “Outstanding Senior Scholar Athlete Award” and the, “Leadership and Service Award.” 

After earning my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education I spent the summer coaching for the Westside Silver Fins.  Then I went back to the school to earn a Master’s in Education while assistant coaching for the University of Connecticut.  After graduating I returned to Arizona and began teaching middle school science and coaching swimming in the summers at Punahou School in Hawaii.  I recently got married and moved to Verrado!

I am a USA certified coach and a ASCA Level II Coach. I have been with Vitras for two years and I love it! I am so excited to be taking a more active role in the team! I like to workout and occasionally you will see me in the pool working out with my Silver group! 

Colin Gustus

Assistant Coach

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VSC coach since: 2013

I started competitively swimming and training since the age of 4 and ever since, swimming has been something I am extremely passionate about. I learned how to swim before I could walk and at one point in my life I could swim faster than I could run. I swam on a club from the age of 7-19 while also swimming on the varsity team at Greenway High School. In addition, I was captain on the team for all 4 years. Specializing in sprinting I went to state all 4 years of high school in all 4 events. I broke many school records including relays and individual events. Some of my best/favorite events include the 50 free, 100 free, 100 backstroke, and the 200 IM.

I began coaching swimmers at the age of 14 and have loved every second of it. Before this job I was the head assistant swim coach at a local YMCA for two years, the head swim coach at Luke Air Fore Base for two years, and the Vitras Summer Swim coach for two years. I give tennis lessons to children and adults as well. I recently graduated from NAU (GO JACKS!). I live close to Verrado High School so you will most likely see me on a tennis court somewhere in the valley. I am passionate about health and fitness and I love working out!  I can't wait to meet each and every one of your kids and help them in and out of the water!

Carolyn E. Choitz

Assistant Coach

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Coach: Learn to Swim, Red I, II, III 

VSC Coach since: 2014

I was born and raised in Buckeye, Arizona. Growing up with three older siblings who all swam and a mom who coached I was always around water. I never took swim lessons I just hoped in the pool one day because I thought that is where everyone should be. I swam for the Buckeye rec team since I was four and had a few years of club swim when I was little. I swam all four years for Buckeye Union High School, and was captain my senior year. For high school I swam the 200 individual medley, the 100 fly, occasionally the 500 free, the 100 back, and both the 200 and 400 free relay.

I had been a volunteer coach for the Buckeye rec team since I was 13. Coaching for the 6 and under, 7 and 8, and occasionally helped with the 9 and 10. The past two years I had helped my mom teach high school students how to swim. I worked as a swim lesson instructor for the City of Goodyear teaching their highest classes, one taught just freestyle, and the other taught fly, back, and breast. For lessons I had kids from 4 years old to 12 and one or two 15 year olds. I’m very good at working with little kids because I can be goofy and silly, but still teach them in the process. 

I am a certified lifeguard and swim instructor through star guard, but before that I was red cross certified. 

I graduated high school in 2013 and am currently enrolled at Estrella Mountain Community College. I am currently majoring in science. I live at home with my parents while I go to college. I love reading, my two cats, superheroes, swimming, camping, fishing, hunting, I love almost any kind of music, and I’m a huge fan of crime shows, sci-fi shows and comedic shows.