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Coaches & Directors

Nothing has a greater influence on the quality of children’s sports than the excellence of the coach. The coaching staff at FAST consists of professionally trained coaches. They, as members of the USA Swimming, have access to the most comprehensive training and certification program for youth coaches of any sport in the United States. Certified coaches in the U.S. swimming programs possess training and experience in the physiology and psychology of adolescent development. Our coaching staff provides the assurance that the time your children spend in swimming will be quality time.

Coaching Staff

Michael C Novell

Head Coach, Arete

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Coach Mike started with the Fort Collins Area Swim Team in October of 2013 as the Head Age Group Coach. During which time FAST Athletes have achieved new levels of success including State, Sectional, and Junior National first place finishes.  Athletes on FAST have broken National Age Group records, numerous Colorado Swimming State Records, and a Pan Pac Pacific Record.  While serving as the Head Age Group Coach FAST achieved it’s first Silver Medal, and Gold Medal club excellence status.

Prior to coming to FAST Mike served as the Head Coach at Castle Rock Swimming for the past 6 and a half years.  While at ROCK the team achieved new levels of success from an athletic and business standpoint.  The team produced it’s first pair of Jr National qualifiers in over 10 years as well sending a sizable team to sectionals that continued to grow each season.  While at ROCK Mike coached multiple swimmers that have gone on to swim competitively in college in each division.

Before moving to Colorado Mike coached in Tempe, Arizona for Sun Devil Aquatics and worked with Arizona State University as a graduate assistant.  During his tenure at SDA Mike coached several state Champions, Junior National Qualifiers, Top 16 Qualifiers, and one Olympic Trial Qualifier.  Additionally his swimmers contributed to 2 National Age Group Relay Records and 2 Junior National Women’s Team first place finishes.  While in his role as a Grad Assistant at ASU Mike had the opportunity to work with multiple NCAA qualifiers, Pac 10 Champions, and a National Record Holder.

Mike got his start coaching while in High School at the Glendale/Peoria YMCA in 1998 and later the Tempe YMCA in 2000.  At Tempe Mike assisted the organization in moving into the competitive ranks of USA Swimming as well as coaching the teams the first State Champion and Western Zone Qualifiers.

Doug Stone

Head Age Group Coach - Ch 1, Tigershark

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Doug Stone

Hammerhead, Tiger Shark, Rise and Shine

Joined FAST:  2015

Education:  B.S. in Political Science, Willamette University

Coach Doug began coaching with Salem Aquatic Club (Salem, OR) while still completing his Bachelor’s Degree and college swimming career.  He started as the 8&U coach and advanced to Head Age Group Coach during his seven years with Salem Aquatic Club.  During his time in Oregon, Coach Doug worked with numerous age group state champions and received an Oregon Age Group Coach of the Year Award.

After moving to Colorado, Coach Doug was the Head Coach at Greeley Swim Club for two years.  During his time with GSC. the team had its first Senior National Qualifier since 1996 and had multiple athletes win individual state titles at both the USA swimming and High School Swimming Championships.

Prior to joining FAST,  Coach Doug also spent 16 years as the Head Coach at the Eaton Red Waves.  After starting with a club of almost thirty athletes and only Silver State Qualifiers, he successfully increased both the size of the team and the levels at which its athletes compete.  Coach Doug developed over a dozen Zone Qualifiers, as well as all of the All Star Selections and Sectional Qualifiers in Eaton Red Waves history.

Coach Doug also has eighteen years of High School coaching experience with both boys and girls.  He has worked with student athletes at Greeley Central, Eaton High School and just this past two years the Fossil Ridge Boys Swimming and Diving Team.  His highlights include multiple individual state titles in individual events and relays at both the 4A and 5A levels, two 4A state records, and an overall team title.

Eric Neilsen

Head Masters Coach

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Eric's swimming background encompasses collegiate water polo, masters swimming and over 100 triathlons.  For the past 25 years, Eric has coached athletes for open water, triathlon and pool competition.  He is currently the head coach at FAST Masters, owner of a multisport coaching business, Train Smart Race Fast and the  2016 Colorado Masters Coach of the Year!  Eric has coached both USA and USMS club programs and multiple masters national and world record holders. He is a 3x Ironman Hawaii World Championship finisher, 8x Boston Marathon Qualifier and Masters Swimming All-American.
 

MacKenzie B Novell

Lead Coach Ascend

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Joined FAST: 2010

Education Interior Design Colorado State University

 

MacKenzie is the longest active coach at FAST and has had many roles since joining the club. In her current position she is the lead coach for Ascend. Her most recent role on FAST was substitute coach when the team needed group coverage and assistance.

 

Prior to her return as lead group coach at FAST, she was the Assistant Women Swim Coach at Colorado State University. During her time at CSU the team moved up 5 places in the Mountain West Conference, earned 11 consecutive Scholar All American Awards, posted their best dual meet records in over a decade, was recognized for having the MWC Swimmer of the Year, Senior of the Year, and was the lead coach for athletes earning over 20 school records and over 30 NCAA cuts. She currently serves as the RAMS Alumni Athletes Association President.

 

MacKenzie swam for Colorado State University on an athletic scholarship. She graduated in 2008 and received the Leadership Award from the College of Applied Human Sciences. Additionally, she was the recipient of the 2011 Doc Counsilman Award given by the American Swimming Coaches Association for creative and innovative workouts. She has represented Colorado Swimming at the age gourd zone level, and was selected to be a member of the USA Swimming Women’s Leadership Summit in 2015 and 2017.

 

MacKenzie coaching philosophy is centered around creating a positive environment for athletes to challenge themselves in while exploring their own personal expectations and goals. She utilizes key learning styles including visual, auditory and kinesthetic to reach a range of athletes. Athletes in Ascend will be shown the importance of building world class character through excellence in swimming on a daily basis.

James Rodriguez

High School and Senior Coach

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Alexandra Taylor Jacobs

Lead Coach Hammerhead/Discovery

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Allie began coaching in 2014 with Collindale, during her summers in college. She swam Division I for Colorado State University on an athletic scholarship, competed on the travel team, and was captain her junior year. She graduated from Colorado State University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Exercise Science with a concentration in Sports Medicine. Once she was done competing in college Allie started coaching at FAST, assisting Hammerheads. Since then she has assisted Arete, as well as become the lead coach of Tigershark, and now leads Hammerhead and Discovery.

Christopher Webb

High Performance Coach

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Coach Chris is originally from Pittsburgh, PA where he attended and Swam for the University of Pittsburgh.

Chris started his career at the University and then moved on to USA swimming club coaching with Team Pittsburgh Aquatics in the early 2000’s.  Early on, it was obvious that he had found his niche, as he helped the program produce multiple 2000 Olympic trials qualifiers. 

He them moved to Carmel, Indiana where he continued to hone his skills with the Carmel Swim Club, one to the top programs in the US.  In Carmel, he continued to produce athletes who swam at the highest levels. Carmel High School won 5 straight state championships and the club produced multiple 2008 Olympic trials qualifiers while becoming the first USA Swimming Gold Medal swim club in Indiana history. 

In late 2009 Chris joined SwimMAC Carolina with Head Women’s Olympic Coach David Marsh. In his time in Charlotte, he led the senior programming and spent time assisting with TEAM ELITE which is made up of U.S. Olympic and National Team members. During his time at SwimMAC the team won the 2012 Long Course Junior Nationals.  Chris coached multiple U.S. Olympic trial qualifiers, 2 Junior Pan Pacific Team members, and an Olympian from Bermuda.  

In 2012 Chris was sought out for the head coaching position with the Fort Collins Area Swim Team (FAST). The team and culture in Fort Collins thrived under his new leadership attracting swimmers from all over Colorado and neighboring states.  In 2016, the program attained Gold Medal status (top 20 in the USA) which it has maintained for 3 consecutive years. Some of his other accomplishments include:

  • 10        National Junior Team members
  • 30+      Olympic Trails Qualifiers
  • 25        Junior National Finalists
  • 2016    USA Swimming Junior Pan Pacific Assistant Coach
  • 2016    National Junior Team Coach
  • 2016    Colorado Coach of the year
  • 2015    National Junior Team Coach
  • 2015    Colorado Coach of the year

Luke Musa

Assistant Coach

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            Coach Luke began his swimming career on FAST back in 2009. Very quickly he moved through the groups and by 2013, he was swimming in Arete for Coach Chris. He also swam at Fossil Ridge High School swim team. He was one the team for all four years, and in that time, helped the team win 3 consecutive state championships and was elected captain his senior year. Right now, he attends Front Range Community College and is pursuing a degree in accounting.

            Coach Luke began his coaching career in 2018, by being the head coach of the Collindale Swim Team. In the fall, he started coaching on FAST. He was the assistant coach for Hammerhead, Discovery, Ascend and Challenge II.  Coach Luke still assists everywhere he can on FAST and is learning everything he can from each coach that he works with and continues to expand his knowledge and skills every day.

Sarah Vlatkovich

Loveland Site Lead Coach

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Sarah’s love for swimming began in 2008 after a collegiate running injury quite literally knocked her off her feet.  She began coaching high school swimmers in the winter of 2011, and found her calling.  Over the years, she has been involved with several high school programs including Skyline High School, Fort Collins High School, and Loveland High School.  Sarah has also coached at the club level, working with high school, middle, and elementary aged athletes.  In the Fall of 2015 she was made the head swimming and diving coach at Loveland High School for both men’s and women’s teams.

In 2019, Sarah decided to make her passion a full time career by co-founding the Loveland Site of FAST.

Sarah’s a USA Triathlon certified Level I coach, and a USA Swimming certified coach. She is a 200 Hour Registered Yoga Instructor, and has a strong understanding of anatomy and injury prevention. In her time off the pool deck, she’s a competitive triathlete, distance runner, cyclist, and long distance backpacker.

Mathew Murray

Loveland Site Lead Coach

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Matt started his competitive swimming career at age six and swam club until graduating high school. While attending Colorado Mesa University he balanced playing water polo and double majoring in exercise science and sports management. He is currently coaching in his third high school swimming season.

Matt’s background in Exercise Science and his battles through injuries during his time as a swimmer have created a backbone for his coaching/training style. His biggest focus is correct technique, this helps create a strong base and decreases the risk of injury to keep improving and become a better athlete.

During his downtime Matt spends time with his wife and two dogs, Larry and Frostee. He constantly surrounds himself in athletics from swimming to soccer, football, frisbee golf, and much more.