Heather Coulson Haddock
Heather Coulson Haddock has spent the majority of her life in
and around the pool. She attended the University of Tennessee on a
full swimming scholarship. Heather was a nationally-ranked,
All-American swimmer for the Volunteers and competed in the 1988
Olympic Trials in the 400 Individual Medley and was also World
ranked. The 2013/2014 season represents her seventeenth year as the
Owner and Head Coach of Mako.
In the past, Heather also served as the Head Swim and Dive Coach
of the Robinson High School for five seasons - leading the team to
a 90% winning dual-meet record and three consecutive Patriot
District Championships titles in 1996, 1997, and 1998.
Heather is currently also serving as an assistant coach for the
Chantilly High School Swim Team
She also coached the Commonwealth summer league team for two
seasons, including one undefeated season in Division 5 in 1996 and
1997.Heather founded the Mako team in 1996 with a handful of
swimmers from both Robinson High School and Commonwealth swim
teams. Her philosophy is built on her own collective swimming
experiences. In 1998, Makos joined Potomac Valley Swimming as a USA
Competitive swim team. Today, the team is comprised of over 500
swimmers, a staff of excellent coaches, and trains exclusively in
the finest swimming facility in the Northern Virginia region, the
George Mason Aquatics and Fitness Center in Fairfax.
Heather takes great pride in the team’s unwavering
commitment to developing outstanding athletes in a positive, fun
and family-oriented environment. Heather holds a bachelor’s
degree in early childhood development from the University of
Tennessee and a master’s degree in special education from the
College of William and Mary. Heather continues swimming
competitively for the Patriot Master’s Swim Team, where she
holds several individual and relay records. She was also
Master’s National Champion in the 50 Meter Backstroke in
Hawaii in 2002.
Heather is married to Chris Haddock, has two children, Logan (17)
and Ryan (14), and resides in Chantilly.
HEAD COACH - SENIOR/NATIONAL GROUPS
Peter Ward is the Senior Coach leading the Makos' National and
Senior programs. Peter has also served as the Head Coach of the GMU
collegiate team for the past eight seasons, where he has lead the
Patriots to four straight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)
league titles, received CAA "Coach of the Year" honors four times,
produced ten Olympic Trial qualifiers, 22 All-America athletes, and
42 CAA champions and 18 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
A world-class swimmer, Ward was a member of the Canadian National
Swimming Team from 1979-88. He placed seventh in the 200 butterfly
at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and was a silver
medalist at the 1987 Pan American Games. He held the Canadian
national record in the 200-meter butterfly from 1981-84, and was
the Canadian champion in that event in 1981, 1984 and 1986.
Ward, who is a member of both the American Swimming Coaches
Association and the College Swimming Coaches Association of
America, has also been involved with Special Olympics, and also
assisted with the Washington D.C.-area bid for the 2012 Summer
He and his wife, Cheryl, who was also an All-American swimmer at
Arkansas, an international medal winner and an Olympic finalist,
have two daughters, Rebecca (19) and Rachel (16). The Wards reside
HEAD COACH - SR PREP & JUNIOR GROUPS
Mike Cook is a native Northern Virginian having grown up in
Falls Church. Mike has 20+ years of USS and summer league coaching
experience. He has been involved with the NVSL having swum at
Woodley for 12 years, moving up to coach the team for 3 years and
then moving onto Lee Graham, where he has been coaching for over 20
Mike has coached all ages but has concentrated his expertise in
age group development. His coaching philosophy focuses on the
development of a well rounded swimmer, a swimmer who is proficient
in all 4 strokes. His goal is to help each swimmer develop a love
of the sport and to challenge them to realize their own swimming
potential. Mike is an active member of the American Swim Coaches
Association, and continues to educate himself on new training
methods and techniques that he incorporates in his practices.
Mike leads the Junior Blue and Junior Gold programs and the
Senior Prep group.
Mike’s formal education includes a Bachelor of Science
degree in Public Recreation from Virginia Commonwealth University.
He is a former college and club rugby player and continues to train
for local triathlons, and a graduate of Falls Church High School
where he helped start the school swim team.
Coach Mike's Mako Blog
HEAD COACH - MINI MAKO GROUPS
Beth Bedell enters her eigth year as an age group coach with the
Mason Makos. Before Makos, she spent 30+ summers teaching younger
children to swim.
Beth enjoys the challenge of working with age group swimmers (10
and under) and helping them develop their strokes. She continues to
update her techniques and training skills by attending
seminars that provide the most updated information on age group
swimming, strokes, nutrition and psychology. She is certified by
American Swim Coaches Association as a level II coach, and she has
her Water Safety Instructor certification as well. She spent over
15 years swimming in California competing for age group, high
school and college teams.
Beth has a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Long Beach in
Health Science with a specialty in Radiation Therapy.
HS Group Coach
Brian is entering his fifth year as a Makos’ coach.
Brian will be workng with our High School group this season.
Brian has also finished his sixth season as head coach of the
Fairfax Frogs. He is also coaching for Woodson High School
and previously coached for TC Williams High School. Before
moving to VA Brian coached for many years in the MCSL (Montgomery
County Swim League).
Growing up, Brian swam in the MCSL as well as for Rockville
Montgomery Swim Club and for Winston Churchill HS.
Brian teaches 5th Grade for FCPS.
Mini Mako Gold & Junior Blue
Shannon Ice joined the Mako Coaching staff in 2011. Shannon will
be working with the Junior Blue and Mini Mako Gold swimmers during
the 2013-14 season.
Growing up in and around pools, Shannon began swimming
competitively for York Swim Club at age 5 and began diving for the
same team the following year. She continued her swimming and
diving in the NVSL at Lee Graham Pool and at O'Connell High School,
and Shannon went on to college-level diving at University of
Maryland then George Mason University. Shannon continues to
enjoy swimming competitively through training for and participating
in many nearby triathlons.
Shannon began teaching swim lessons almost 20 years ago and has
worked with young swimmers at several area pools including Lee
Graham, Poplar Heights, and Lincolnia Park. She recognizes
the importance of building and reinforcing fundamental swimming
skills in order to give each swimmer the tools to succeed.
She enjoys working with children and sharing her love for
Shannon holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology from the George
Mason University and lives in Falls Church with her husband and
High School and High School Prep
Sandy Veatch has been involved in swimming for most of her
life. She began at the age of 9 at a local NVSL pool,
Lakeview Swim Club. When she moved to Fort Knox in the 7th
grade she chose it as her main sport and joined a "year round"
program when she got her first high school letter in the 8th
grade. She continued swimming once she moved back to Virginia
with a group called Starlit and swam for all 4 years on her high
Sandy has coached youth swimming for a total of 14 years in the
NVSL and Colonial leagues and has been coaching Masters for 17
years now. She also can be found at South Run Rec Center
where she has been teaching both PeeWee and Adult classes for the
last several years. Sandy is ASCA Level I and II certified, a
WSI, holds her Red Cross Lifeguard and CPR Instructor Trainer
Certificate and she believes in attending seminars taught by a
variety of coaches to hear about the latest information available
on swimming and training.
She is also big on technique-stroke first and speed will
follow. And you really have to love it!
Brittany is coming to Mako’s with three years of coaching
and over eight years of teaching experience. Through this
experience, she has taught many people of all ages from six months
old to 60 years old and she continues to learn as well as the sport
of swimming continues to grow and develop.
Brittany’s swimming career began when she was 10 with the
Aquia Harbour Summer Swim Team. After the first summer, she began
to swim for QDD and eventually swam for Brooke Point High School in
Stafford, VA where she was Senior Captain of the 2004-2005 season.
Finally, the most successful and amazing time she had in swimming
was with the University of Bridgeport Women's Swim Team. At
Bridgeport, Brittany was able to set personal achievements and meet
many goals while swimming with a top ranking team in the NCAA
Division II region.
She has coached with Occoquan Swimming and Potomac Senior High
School and has been a water safety instructor for many pools across
As a coach, she works with the 12 and under age group not only
teaching technique but also building motivation and confidence in
the swimmers to help do their best and to love the sport of
Alyson Madsen is joining the Mako coaching staff this year, and
Alyson will be working with the Age Group practices on Tuesdays and
Alyson Madsen grew up in Denver, Colorado and started swimming
at a young age. She had a passion for swimming from the start.
Along with loving to swim herself she loved to teach others,
especially age group swimmers and was an assistant coach on her
She coaches an NVSL summer team Pee Wee program along with
teaching private lessons. She also coaches a Saturday swim clinic
focusing on the four strokes and proper technique. She feels
strongly that proper technique is the foundation for fast and safe
swimming. Making it fun and new, getting the kids involved in the
process and praising them for their efforts is a key combination
for their success and love of the sport.
Alyson currently trains with a Masters swim program in the
mornings and is currently training for Masters meets. Another one
of her passions is running. She trains for half and full marathons
with her favorite being trail marathons.
Her passion for training herself flows into her teaching. She is
constantly reading, studying and watching training videos to
increase her understanding of the latest techniques and focuses in
swimming. She is also very focused on nutrition and the effects it
has on performance. She is a member of the America Swim Coaches
Association and US Masters Swim Association.
Alyson and her husband Scott have four children, three boys and a
girl age 6-13.
She is very excited to work with the 12 and under age group in
building a foundation of efficient technique and a passion for the
sport of swimming.
Junior Gold and Senior Prep AM Practices
Austin Witherow grew up in Mechanicsville, Virginia where he got
started with his swimming and coaching career with the Old Church
Otters, a local summer league team. He swam for the Old Church
Otters from age 7 until 18, and was the assistant coach for the
team for 4 of those years. Austin got into year around swimming
with a small club team, Burkwood Aquatic Club, when he was a
Sophomore in high school and wishes he had started earlier. He also
swam for the Lee-Davis High School varsity team. He was a Captain
of both teams in his Senior year of high school.
Austin swam four years at George Mason University, setting
multiple personal, school, and relay records during his career
there, and he was also a Captain for three of those four years. He
is also a U.S. Nationals qualifier in the 50 freestyle, 100
butterfly, 200 butterfly, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke.
Austin has experience with dryland training diet and, of course,
swim sets He most enjoys fine tuning the small things that can help
one become more efficient in the water, and giving fun, but tough,
breath control and sprint sets.
His formal education is still underway, expected to graduate Fall
2013 with his Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Information
Technology. He is also currently employed as an intern at
Cybermedia Technology, a small, but growing, Government Contracting
company focusing on e-Learning and Database technology.
This is Austin's first year as a Makos coach, and he will be
coaching the Junior Gold and Senior Prep swimmers during the
Mini Mako Developmental
Rachel Anderson will be coaching the Mini Mako Developmental
practices on Saturdays. This will be her fifth year working as a
Mako coach. For three years, Rachel worked as a Mako junior coach
with Coach Beth, helping out with the Mini Makos and Age Group 1
practices. This is Rachel’s third year as head coach of the
developmental group. She also has several years of experience
leading lanes of beginner and Mini-level swimmers at local summer
and winter swim programs. While she is capable of coaching more
advanced levels, Rachel’s favorites are the beginner and
Rachel is Red Cross Water Safety Instructor certified and has
lifeguard certification. She has swum for the Makos since she was
6, and is currently swimming under Coach Peter in the Senior Group.
She also swims for the LRR Stingrays in the summer, and Centreville
High School during the winter season.
Rachel enjoys every second she spends with the kids, watching
them as they grow and learn new concepts of swimming. She believes
that the best part of being a coach is seeing the kids as they
learn and improve their skills, and realizing that they can do many
things they thought they never could. She enjoys the feeling of
seeing the kids she coaches move up to another level, ready to
learn and be excited about swimming. Rachel’s goal is to make
kids want to swim, and have fun while they swim. She hopes the kids
she works with have as much fun working with her as she does with
Brittany P Henry
Mini Mako Developmental
Brittany Henry will be helping coach the Mini Mako Developmental
Brittany has been swimming with Makos since 2009, but has been
swimming with her summer team, Kings Ridge, since 2005. Brittany
has also been on the Robinson High School swim team for the past
two years. Her favorite stroke is Butterfly.
Last year Brittany helped coach the developmental group as well
and enjoyed it very much. She loves coaching the eight and under
age group because they all improve so much throughout the year and
they are always excited to learn. She also helped coach the eight
and unders at her summer team’s winter swim program last
year, and has given private and group swim lessons to little kids
in the summer time.
Cathy Summers runs the Mason Makos data and web operations, and
she is also frequently seen on deck at swim meets taking photos of
the Mako swimmers.