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 American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), 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


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


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.

Lara Ruthven

Lara Ruthven


Coach Lara Ruthven brings to Fort Collins Area Swim Team added knowledge and experience both as a coach and athlete. Lara earned a Master’s degree in Exercise Science and Physical Education from California State University, Chico. She received her Undergraduate degree from The University of Texas in Kinesiology where she was a member of the UT swim team.

Coach Lara has spent that last few years coaching for Longhorn Aquatics. She was the Head Coach for the satellite program in Pflugerville, where she grew the team in numbers and developed the team to a higher level of ability. During that time Lara coached several state qualifiers and an individual state champion in two events. Athletes under Lara have broken individual Texas State Records and South Texas records. This past year she has been the Head Age Group Coach for Longhorn Aquatics at the campus site. She has continued to produce several top 16 state qualifiers and Sectional swimmers while also working closely with the Longhorn Aquatics National team.

Lara has been coaching and teaching swimming since she was 15 years old. She has coached all levels of swimmers from beginners to National level.  Lara’s coaching philosophy is based on a foundation of stroke technique and quality training. Through quality training and great technique each swimmer can develop their maximum strength and efficiency to achieve their goals

As a competitive swimmer, Lara was Conference Champion in 1992 & 1993 in the 400 IM. She was a NCAA All American and Olympic Trials qualifier in both the 400 IM and 200 backstroke in 1992.

By 1999 Lara had transitioned to be a competitive road cyclist. She was a two time World Championship Qualifier for the USA Cycling Team in 2000 and 2001. Lara was on the USA National Road Cycling Team from 2000 to 2003. Lara lived in Italy and competed at the Women’s Tour de France twice, the women’s Giro of Italy and numerous World Cup events from 2000 to 2003. Lara has been married to her husband Tom Ruthven for 25 years and has four children.

Kirk Witulski

High School, Senior, Discovery


Joined FAST: 2015

As a Denver native, Kirk is well versed in the swimming culture of Colorado.  Kirk’s foundations in swimming started at an early age.  Competing competitively with AAA as a kid and swimming in high school at Cherry Creek in Denver, CO.  At Cherry Creek Kirk gained experience and a competitive edge through being part of State and National Titles.

While pursuing his education in Computer Science at Colorado State University, he stayed active in the swimming community.  Kirk was a head coach at Forest Park for five years, and an assistant for the ACES Swim Club.  Kirk then joined the ranks of CHSAA officials, and has been on deck for nine years, including as a representative at the Girls State tournament in 2014.  

As the years passed Kirk realized that coaching was something that he wanted to focus on more.  In the spring of 2012, Kirk joined both the Stapleton Stingrays (Summer Club), and Denver Stingrays (USA Club).  He had additional years of experience as an assistant coach for Hinkley High School in Aurora, CO.  Currently Kirk is the Fort Collins High School Boys Swimming and Diving Head Coach.

Kirk’s Coaching philosophy is based on positive reinforcement, teaching proper technique, and having a little fun. Kirk wouldn’t be as successful as he is without the loving support of his wife, his two step-sons, and his very own 3 year old, CJ!!  These are his keys to success. 


Jasmine Eve Lindblad

NOVA, Fireball


Joined FAST: 2012

Real Estate Investor and Entrepreneur

LGI & Aquatics Pool Manager

Jasmine has been FAST's go to coach for developmental success. She has successfully led the Nova and Fireball groups since 2014 and is broadening her coaching repertoire. Through attendance at multiple travel meets as an assistant to the Head Age Group Coach directing FAST swimmers of all ability levels she is seeing the big picture of what she is setting up her swimmers for. 

Jasmine is eager to help swimmers succeed and achieve their goals.  She has a rooted connection with the community since she is a Colorado native. While in high school, Jasmine swam competitively for Fossil Ridge High School and  began working in Aquatics as a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. She continues today as an Aquatics Pool Manager and a Lifeguard Instructor. Safety and fun in the pool will always be a priority for Jasmine.

After years of working with a wide range of ages and skill levels, Jasmine decided she wanted to advance and become a swim coach.  She was very familiar with FAST and knew it was the place for her.  Jasmine strives to inspire young swimmers and help them progress and succeed in the sport.

Samantha Corene Guay

Assistant Age Group Coach


This is Coach Sammie’s second year assisting with the Hammerhead, Tigershark, and Discovery groups. She grew up in Fort Collins, and actually swam for Fort Collins Area Swim Team for ten years. After she graduated high school, she went to West Virginia University on a swimming scholarship. She completed a season swimming for the Mountaineers, and then transferred back home to Colorado State University to complete her education.
This past summer, she head coached the Parkwood Swim Team, a local summer club team. She enjoyed being able to coach the kids and help them discover their love for swimming. Currently, she is a junior at CSU and is studying Human Development and Family Studies with an Intervention and Prevention concentration. Sammie aspires to become a career counselor for high school students in the next few years. She absolutely loves coaching, and is looking forward to continuing to help kids improve and develop their passion for the sport.

Eric Neilsen

Head Masters Coach


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 Brown

Assistant Age Group Coach


Joined FAST: 2010

Education Interior Design Colorado State University

MacKenzie is the longest active coach at FAST and she has had many roles since joining the club.  Mackenzie currently is the clubs go to coach for filling in when coaches are out of town or sick.  Mackenzie also assistants with the Arete group in the summers when she is in her off season as the Women's Assistant Coach At Colorado State University.  Prior to being the Assistant at CSU Mackenzie ran the Blue and Gold groups and was the lead assistant to the head coach at FAST during the 2013-2014 seasons

MacKenzie swam for Colorado State University on an athletic scholarship . She swam competitively for 16 years in southern California and has been involved in the sport of swimming ever since. 

Before joining FAST in 2010, she taught years of private lessons, coached for Poudre High School, Westfield Waves, and Vortex Swim Club.  She received the 2011 Doc Counsilman Award given by the American Swimming Coaches Association for creative and innovative workouts.

"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable." -John Wooden