Coaches & Directors

We are here to support your needs. If your questions are related to your swimmer's workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact your swimmer's coach. For all questions related to administrative, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please contact one of the board members.

For help with the web site please contact our administrator, Cathy Summers.

Coaching Staff

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.

Peter Ward



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 (PSAC) champions.

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 Olympic Games.

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 in Fairfax.

Mike Cook



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 years.

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

Beth Bedell



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.

Brian DuFour

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.  

Sandy Veatch

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 school team.  
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 Kartchner

Age Group


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 Northern Virginia.

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 swimming.

Alyson Madsen

Age Group


Alyson Madsen is joining the Mako coaching staff this year, and Alyson will be working with the Age Group practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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 summer team.

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. 

Austin Witherow

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 morning practices.

Brittany P Henry

Mini Mako Developmental


Brittany Henry will be helping coach the Mini Mako Developmental group.

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.

Emma Phillips

Senior Prep and Junior Gold AM


Emma is coming to Mako’s with from Greensboro, NC where she has been coaching for two years at the club and collegiate level. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Sports Leadership from Duquesne University.

Her swimming career began at age 4 when she began summer swim league and continued when she started club at age 9. She went on to swim at Greensboro College at the Division III level. Throughout her career as a Pride swimmer she was twice-named conference swimmer of the year, 5-time conference champion, and one-time conference record holder.

Emma is originally from Durham, NC and is relocating to Northern Virginia to join the Mason and Mako's staff. Emma will be coaching the AM Senior Prep and Junior Gold groups.

Cathy Summers



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.

Board of Directors

Heather Coulson Haddock