Coaches

 

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Coaches

Ashley Whitney

Ashley was an National Junior Team qualifier as an age group swimmer with NAC. She still holds the Southeastern record in the 200 freestyle for 13-14 girls. Ashley swam for the Bolles School, where she qualified for a spot on the US National Team from 1995-1998. She competed in a variety of national and international competitions and won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics in the 800 freestyle relay. Ashley was a member of the 1999 NCAA Championship team swimming for the University of Georgia and completed her collegiate swimming career at the University of California-Berkeley.

A three time Olympic Trials qualifier, Ashley now focuses much of her efforts on training, racing, and coaching for open water swimming. She earned a spot on the 2009 US National Open Water team and has won several open water races around the country. Ashley has coached hundreds of adult swimmers to successful triathlon and open water finishes from sprint to mult-ironman distances. Ashley especially enjoys helping adult swimmers achieve their goals whether they include learning freestyle to participate in their first race or prepare a bid to qualify for World Championship multi-sport competitions. Ashley is excited to bring her swimming and coaching experience back to the team where her competitive swimming career started.

Ashley also enjoys her time as head coach of Nashville’s Seven Hills Barracudas summer league team. She and her husband met in Nashville and enjoy racing triathlons together. They have two daughters who are learning to swim with NAC’s Swim America program.

 

Melissa Cooper
 

Melissa began her swimming career in Florida at the age of 4, swimming for the Heritage Aquatic Team and later for South Florida Swim Team where she trained with world-record holders Alia Atkinson and Dara Torres. In high school, she was a 2x State Champion in the 100 breastroke and was a multi-year Junior and Senior National Qualifier in breastroke and sprint freestyle. At the collegiate level, Melissa swam for Texas A&M under Steve Bultman and finished her collegiate swimming career at Florida State. She came in 2nd at the 2012 ACC Championships with a 1:00.91 100 breastroke, qualifying for the All-ACC Team, the ACC Academic Honor Roll and the ACC All-Academic Team.

After a few years away from the pool to focus on neuroscience research and applying to graduate school, Melissa has now re-joined the sport of swimming as a Master’s swimmer. She competed at the 2015 Master’s National Championships where she won the 50 freestyle, 50 breastroke, and 100 breastroke in the 18-24 age group. Melissa especially enjoys helping other swimmers optimize their swimming technique to maximize their personal strengths, and is excited to bring her swimming and coaching experience to the Nashville Aquatic Club.

Melissa is currently pursuing her PhD in Neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, where she studies the molecular process of neurodegeneration in glaucoma. She also enjoys playing guitar and riding her horse, Athena. 

 
Jeff Ockerman

Jeff’s mother’s greatest fear was that he’d be a swim coach, and now, 50 years after he started swimming at age 9, he is one! Jeff grew up in Lexington, KY, and at 14 became a National AAU All- American, placing 4th in the 1969 National Long-Distance Swimming Championships.  He swam under coaching greats Doc Counsilman, Mark Schubert, Randy Reese, and Eddie Reese.  He was a multi-year Senior National Qualifier in distance free and IM, All-SEC for four years, and co-captain of Auburn University’s 1977 SEC Champion and NCAA 5th place team.

After graduating from the University of KY College of Law, Jeff moved to Nashville, married, and turned to running marathons (and 1 triathalon) in his 30s until family and work responsibilities – including one term as a Nashville Councilman -- interfered with training.  A knee injury put him back in the water, and in 2007 he joined the NAC Masters program and began competing again.  Jeff was 2012 Masters National Champion for his age group in the 200 yard back and placed 4th in the 200 meter back in that year’s Masters World Championship meet.

Jeff is the Director of Health Planning for the State of Tennessee. He has two grown children, sings jazz and plays jazz keyboard, speaks French, and is learning Spanish. He’s a former Adjunct Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University and is the past chair of the boards of the East Area Business Council, the Nashville Civic Design Center, WPLN (Nashville Public Radio), the Sexual Assault Center, and the Nashville Jazz Orchestra.

Allison Ware

Originally from Indiana, Allison spent much of her youth in or around pools, beginning swim & dive competitions in middle school. A year-round swimmer through high school, she was part of many record-holding individual & relay efforts both in high school & club swimming, specializing in distance events.

While attending Indiana University to obtain a BA in Journalism & Political Science, Allison competed as part of the cycling team both inter-collegiately & in IU's annual Little 500 race. After college she picked up triathlon & has been racing since 2003.

After moving to Nashville in 2011, she began swimming competitively again with Excel Aquatics. She then resumed instructing & assisting with their Swim School & age-group teams in 2012, becoming the Masters Coach in 2013.
 
Allison currently competes in all triathlon distances & specializes in long-distance open water swimming, having completed five nine mile or longer races with many age-group placing finishes. She also swims both long & short-course pool competitions & can be found at many regional & national meets swimming for & supporting NAC.  Allison is recognized as a Level 3 coach by United States Masters Swimming.

Tony White

Tony has been swimming and competing in triathlons since 2004.  He attended the University of Kentucky where he was the captain of the Triathlon team.  He has coached athletes since the beginning of 2009 where he first started working with the Wildcat Aquatics and Masters swim teams.  In 2011, he got his USAT level 1 Certification and started working with triathletes as well.  He has raced professionally as a triathlete since 2009 and is the 3x champion of the Music City Triathlon.  He is also the reigning Nashville beer mile champion.
 
He is married to his college sweetheart Casey, and has two pets, a 1.5 year old Golden Retriever Drake, and a 5 month old cat, Kip.

 
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