Joseph P Zemaitis
Head Coach (all sites)
sixteen years of competitive swimming experience and international
accolades as a Professional Triathlete, Joe Zemaitis brings a
lifetime of experience in competitive sports to his work with the
Swim Neptune. Joe’s coaching philosophy is rooted in
the film belief that every child has a genius - a natural talent
that, when recognized and unlocked, paves the way to a lifetime of
success. Knowing the vast array of critical life skills and
lessons learned through sports participation, Joe is a strong
proponent of the myriad benefits for every child.
2002, Joe launched Swim Neptune, a year-round competitive USA
Swimming Club that has grown to include locations across the
Phoenix metro area and continues to nurture young swimmers in
pursuit of their competitive goals. Joe's current leadership
in the sport of swimming includes the roles of Admin Vice Chair of
Arizona Swimming and the Chair of the International Ice Swimming
Beginning in 2006 Joe trained teams of young
swimmers to complete the swim from Alcatraz Island to San
Francisco. After one swimmer achieved this goal in 2006 the
program grew to include hundreds of swimmers in an annual event
approaching it's fifteenth anniversary.
1998 Joe set the 19 and under record at the Hawaii Ironman
Triathlon, the result of a goal he set when he was 12 years
old. He has completed a total of seven Ironman races,
including four at the World Championships in Hawaii. He was
named the USA Triathlon 2005 Professional Rookie of the Year.
Joe won two Junior National Championships, is a six-time Triathlon
All-American, and has represented the USA in ten World Championship
events. He competed in 13 countries and 27 states during his
career as an amateur and professional triathlete. Currently,
Joe is one of the world's most prolific Open Water Swimmers.
He holds the world record for Longest Lake Swim (Multi-Segment),
swimming nearly 70 miles non-stop in over 47 hours. His full
list of open water swims is here.
earned a full tuition academic scholarship to Lake Forest College
where he graduated in 2002 Summa Cum Laude and Phie Beta
Kappa. He was a Rhodes Scholarship semi-finalist and
recipient of the Graduating Scholar Athlete Award and the Senior
Inderpendent Scholar Prize. While at Lake Forest College Joe
was a two-time captain of the Varsity Swim team and three-time
captain of the Varsity Cross Country team, setting school records
in both sports. At Horizon High School in Phoenix, Arizona he
lettered in swimming and cross country.
Ioana Alexandra Sherman
Alex started swimming at 7 years old and competed in multiple
national and international competitions. At the age of 14, Alex
qualified for the Junior European Olympic Festival where she came
in 7th place in the 200meters breaststroke. Alex
is multiple national champion and record holder for Romania in
multiple strokes and distances.
In 2010 Alex received and accepted a full tuition athletic
scholarship at the University of Alabama. Her outstanding athletic
performance qualifies her as a member of the 2011 All-SEC Freshman
Team (Southeastern Conference). The following year Alex received
the Academic Honor Roll award for outstanding academic and athletic
In 2012 she transferred to Arizona State University where she
placed 3rd at the PAC 12 Championship in 200yard
breaststroke and broke the ASU school record in 200 Individual
Medley, record which still stands today. Alex was two-time Team
Captain of the Swimming and Diving team and made the Dean List in
2013 and 2014.
At the international level, one of the biggest athletic
achievements was the participation in the World Championship in
2013 in Barcelona, Spain.
Alex graduated in May 2014 from ASU with a Bachelor of
Interdisciplinary studies in Psychology and Criminology. The
following year she pursued a Master’s degree in Higher and
Post-secondary Education Administration, which she completed in May
A series of unfortunate physical issues that didn’t allow
her to continue as an athlete and the passion she has for the sport
motivated Alex to chase a career as a swimming coach.
In August 2015, as the first coach and employee of Pitchfork
Aquatics, Alex helped and supported the start and development of a
new swim school and club team that has grown to over 120 swimmers.
With a group of only 13 age group swimmers, Alex had 100%
qualification at the 2016 Age Group LCM Championship with 10 top 3
Ronald W Gercke
Coach - Moon Valley
Ron Gercke is a coaching legend in Arizona. With over
fifty years of on-deck coaching experience, Coach Ron is without
question the most accomplished and prolific swim coach in the
history of the Arizona. Ron was just the 25th swim
coach in the US to achieve ASCA Level 5 certification, the highest
available. He holds 10 National Certificates of Excellence as
one of the Top US Swimming Coaches, is a Four Time Olympic Coach
and has been a coach for the Olympic Development Camp at the
Olympic Training Center prior to the Sydney Olympics.
Coach Ron’s swimmers have gone on to succeed at the
highest levels of the sport. Ron has coached 5 Olympic
Swimmers, 2 Pan-American Swimmers, and 2 NCAA Champions. He
has coached 15 different swimmers to National Age Group
Records. 32 of his swimmers have achieved top 25 World
Coach Ron is an expert at preparing kids to swim at the
collegiate level. He has coached over 200 swimmers who have
received swimming scholarships to Division 1 and Division 2 schools
including some of the top schools in the country. A partial
list: Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, USC, UCLA, Texas,
SMA, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Indiana, Michigan, ASU, and U of
Helen Elizabeth Casseday
Age Group Coach - Moon Valley/DC Ranch
Mark J Conte
Dive Neptune - Glendale
Coach Mark joins the ranks of the
Dive Neptune program in Glendale, and we are lucky to have him:
Upper New York State College
Champion 1972; Deputy Swim/Dive Venue Director for the 1984 Los
Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC); Past Chairman of
Masters Diving for United States Diving, Inc. for 6 years;
Coached high school and age group divers and participated as a
master diver since the mid 1970's. Currently the Diving Coach for
the Liberty High School LIONS, and Substitute Teacher in the Peoria
School District. Moved to Glendale, AZ from Redondo Beach, CA, and
we, Dive Neptune, are thankful!
Helen M Zemaitis
Age Group Coach, Team Administrator
Coach Helen has nearly 20 years experience as a swim instructor,
novice swim coach, and team administrator. Helen also brings many
years of experience as a swim parent and certified swim official to
her work with the team. She began working with Swim Neptune in
2002. Coach Helen graduated from ASU with a BA in Political Science
and a teaching credential.
Senior Coach, Moon Valley
Joe Johnson has been coaching in the Phoenix area for over 20
years. His coaching career began as a volunteer assistant coach for
Thunderbird High School where he was a 4 time state championship
qualifier, team captain & 4 year letterman. Joe would remain
with Thunderbird until the 2013 season when he "retired" from his
position of Co-Head Coach. During his time at Thunderbird, the
Chiefs had dozens of state & regional champions and state &
region record holders. Also during his time with the Chiefs
as a coach and athlete, Thunderbird won 12 Men's and / or Women's
regional team titles and the men were 3 time AZ State champion
In 1999, Joe also had the opportunity to become a coach for Moon
Valley Aquatic Club. MVAC had less than 20 athletes on the roster
at the time, and over the next few years Joe and his staff built
MVAC to team size of nearly 100. During his time at MVAC, Joe
produced several state and sectional qualifiers, a AZ state
champion relay, and 4 future NCAA athletes. Joe also eventually
became the Aquatic Director for Moon Valley Country Club. Joe has
also been the head timing administrator for the Country Club Swim
League since 2000.
In 2011, Joe joined the staff at Swim Neptune and was soon
promoted to Head Senior Coach. During his time with Swim Neptune,
Joe has helped to produce over a dozen AZ State Champions and 15
Sectional Qualifiers, numerous state record holders, Six NCAA
athletes and an AZ High School State Champion. Joe's athletes were
also integral in helping Swim Neptune win 7 Arizona state team
championships. Joe also was also the assistant national team coach
for the short-lived merger of Swim Neptune/Arizona Gold in which he
got to implement first-hand the training regimen of some of the
most elite athletes in Arizona.
After a few years away from coaching, Joe returned to Swim
Neptune in 2020 at Moon Valley Country Club.
Joe is also the Design Director for Swimming World Magazine /
International Swimming Hall of Fame.
In his free time, Joe is an avid hiker and has hiked the Grand
Canyon 20 times (and counting).