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Coaches & Directors

We are here to support your needs. If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact one of the coaches. For all questions related to administrative, such as dues or policy issues, please contact Coach Cliff.

Coaching Staff

Clifford L Murray

Head Coach/Silver Coach/LTS Director

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Cliff Murray is the Head Coach and owner of Northern Lights Swim Club.  Coach Cliff has been the head coach of NLSC since August of 1998.  In that time he has seen the club nearly double in size and has coached the club to dozens of state championships.  Coach Cliff is the 4 time winner of Alaska Swimming's Senior Coach of the Year award and is currently working as the assistant Gold coach and Silver Coach.

Cliff was born in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1970.  In 1977 he began swimming competitively on the Eielson Flyers near his mother's job as a teacher on Eielson Air Force Base.  At 12 he moved to the North Pole Aquatics Club which was closer to his North Pole home.  During his 8th grade year he began swimming on the Fairbanks Arctic Swim Team in Fairbanks.  Cliff competed for North Pole High School all four years of high school and was captain for the last three.  Cliff retired from swimming after the Alaska Junior Olympics his senior year in 1988.

Cliff began coaching in Fairbanks in 1991.  His first coaching job was as assistant coach at West Valley High School.  In November of 1991 he became the assistant coach of Midnight Sun Swim Team in Fairbanks.  In August of 1993 he became the Head Coach for both West Valley and Midnight Sun Swim Team.

In addition to his duties at NLSC, Cliff served as the Head Coach of East Anchorage High School Swim/Dive team (2007-2012), and South Anchorage High School Swim/Dive (2015-present).  Under his leadership the East High Thunderbirds won their first men's state title in fall of 2007. 

In his spare time Coach Cliff enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Dagny.  Cliff enjoys hiking, fishing, camping, and scuba diving.


 

Matthew P Hanley

Head Coach - Mat-Su

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Coach Matt Hanley is the Head Coach of Northern Lights Swim Club Mat-Su (January 2007-Present).  He began his work with NLSC in October of 1997, where he was a swim instructor for the club’s Learn To Swim program.  He began coaching for NLSC in the fall of 1999 where he coached the team’s Novice Group.  In 2000, Matt began coaching a combined Novice/Bronze group and was hired as NLSC’s Assistant Gold Coach under Head Coach Cliff Murray, a position he held until January of 2002.  In the fall of 2004 Matt returned to NLSC as an Assistant Gold Coach under Gold Coach Ben Kitchen and continued in that position until January 2007.  In 2007 Matt moved to Palmer, AK, to work as NLSC’s Head Coach of the new NLSC Mat-Su branch.  In addition to Club coaching Matt has worked as an Assistant Coach for Service High School Swimming and Diving for six years (2000, 2002 - 2006) and Head Coach of Bartlett High School Swimming and Diving for one year (2001).

Matt began his relationship with swimming in August of 1993, when he joined the Lathrop High School Swimming and Diving Team.  He began swimming club in November of that year under Midnight Sun Swim Team Head Coach Cliff Murray.  Matt swam for MSST Under Cliff until the fall of 1998.  In 1997 Matt began swimming for the University of Alaska Anchorage.  He swam two years on schollarship until the swimming program was cut from UAA athletics.  He attended NCAA Division II Nationals in 1998 and 1999, where he finished as an All American (Honorable Mention) in the 200 IM and 200 Brst, both years.  When the collegiate program was cut, Matt continued his swimming career, swimming for NLSC under Head Coach Cliff Murray, until the spring of 2000 when he traded in his goggles for a stopwatch.


 

William Ben Kitchen

Gold Coach; Age Group Coach - Anchorage

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Coach Ben Kitchen has been with the Northern Lights Swim Club since starting as a swim instructor in 1996.  Currently the Head Gold Coach, Ben has worked with every level of the team during his tenure.   " I am so blessed to have been able to work with the state’s top swimmers year in and year out." says Kitchen.  He is the 2007/2008 Senior coach of the year, an award given by his peers in the Alaska Swimming community. 

A former high school and collegiate swimmer with over 24 years combined swimming /coaching experience, Kitchen continues to push the senior athletes of Northern Lights towards bigger and brighter things.


 

Grant Gamblin

Coach; Adult Training Squad

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Coach Grant Gamblin is the NLATS coach, and he comes back to us after a three year stint as the head coach of KNIK Aquatics.  In late 2016 Coach Grant was resonsible for developing the KNIK Masters and building that practice group up to over 20 swimmers.  Coach Grant has also been coaching the adult morning group at the Alaska Club South since 2007.  He brings a plethora of adult coaching experience and tremendous energy to our program. 


 

Wyatt J Adams

Service Pool Dryland Coach

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Laurie L Reaburn

Coach; Bronze & Polar Bear

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Coach Laurie has been swimming competitively for over 32 years and was ranked nationally in several events as a United States Masters swimmer. She swam collegiately for the Royal Military College of Canada, and continues to swim with the NLSC Masters group.

Coach Laurie originates from Canada and served as a Navy Diving Officer until 2004 when she retired from the Navy, got married and relocated to Kansas. She was the Head coach of the COOL swim team in Olathe, KS for four years prior to moving to Anchorage in 2012.  She was the Missouri Valley Zone Head Coach in 2011 as well, as participated as a coach for numerous Missouri Valley Zone Teams. She is an ASCA level 3 certified, she is a certified Level 1 and 2 USMS Masters Coach, as well as, a certified as an Adult Learn to Swim Instructor. She was the Missouri Valley USMS registrar from 2010 until 2012.

She has been coaching swimmers for the past fifteen years following her philosophy that better swimming comes from efficient technique, positive encouragement, and a true belief in one’s abilities.  Coach Laurie enjoys spending time with her husband Chris and their two sons, Linden and Clarkson.


 

Coach El

Volunteer Coach; Parent Tot Director

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Coach El is an Oceanographer and SCUBA Instructor who started swimming while growing up in California. She swam competitively and taught swim lessons in high school, started open water swimming as an ocean lifeguard and raced triathlons in college at UCSB. After living in Alaska from 1997-2005, El moved with her husband to Western Australia, where she started a family and spent as much time as possible with her two children in the water.

El has participated in Masters Swimming Teams in Fairbanks, Juneau, Anchorage, and Bordeaux, France. She is a certified USA Swim Coach and an Adult Learn to Swim Instructor, with professional development in AUSTSWIM Teacher of Infant and Preschool Aquatics. She brings over 32 years swimming experience and is delighted to share her love of the water!