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Sarasota YMCA Sharks Coaches and Staff
"I want each kid to do as well as he or she can do. We want to create as many good, strong swimmers as we can, not necessarily one or two great swimmers. The important thing is to work with everyone, to make everyone as good as he or she can be."
- Coach Sherwood Watts
Coaching Staff

Brent Arckey

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Head Coach Sarasota YMCA Sharks Swim Team

Coach Brent became a Shark in 2010 as the Senior Assistant under then Head Coach Steve Brown. As an Assistant Coach his success reached both state and national levels helping the team to several championships and turning out seven (7) Olympic trial swimmers.  In 2014 Coach Arckey was the clear choice to take over the program after the departure of Coach Brown to the University of Arizona.  

Under Coach Arckey’s leadership the Sharks have continued success, including: several YMCA National Championships; several Top 10 Finishes at USA Junior Nationals; over a dozen YMCA State and Florida Age Group Championships; Produced Several World Ranked Athletes; Multiple Olympic Trial Athletes; Numerous National Age Group Records holders and ranked swimmers.  

In 2015 Sharks Boys team finished 2nd in Junior Nationals and Coach Brent was named as an Assistant Coach on the World Junior National USA Team. Sharks Keenan Dols and Austin Katz competed in the World Championship in Singapore with Katz taking bronze in the 200m Backstroke.

In addition to the Shark Program, Coach Arckey has been recognized as the Florida High School Coach of the Year in 2013, 2014, and 2015.  As the high school’s Head Swimming and Diving Coach Riverview has won several State Championships including back to back Women’s FHSAA State Championships in 2013 and 2014 and Men's FHSAA State Championships in 2015 and 2016.

Arckey was selected as 2010 Head Coach Team Florida All-Stars Duels Meet, 2009 & 2010 Assistant Coach Florida Zone Championships, 2009 Assistant Coach All-Star Duel Meet.

Coach Brent holds a seat on the Advisory Board for the Florida Local Swimming Committee; is a certified Athletic Coach by the State of Florida Department of Education; is Member of United States Swimming and Florida Swimming and holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management with a concentration in Business Administration from the University of Florida.

Prior to coaching Brent was an age group swimmer for Patriot Aquatics where several of his freestyle and IM team records still hold. As an All-American at Winter Park High School Brent and teammates finished 2nd three years in a row from 2000-2003 in the FSHAA State Championships.  (In 2003 Winter Park was runner up to Shark Coach Sherwood Watts’ Sarasota High.)  Brent went on to swim Division I with the University of Alabama and participated in the 2003 and 2004 SEC Championships

After swimming he turned his attention to coaching starting with Age Group and Master levels with the Gator Swim Club.  He went on coach summers camps with University of Florida and coordinating summer leagues for Gator Swim Club.  Staying in Gainesville, he became a Volunteer Assistant under legendary Gator Coach Gregg Troy’s program. In 2008 he worked with several 2008 Olympians and then in 2010 with the Women’s NCAA National Championship team.

Sherwood Francis Watts

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Head Age Group Coach

Coach Watts grew up in the Y and is a proud to call himself a product of the Sarasota YMCA.  He began as a life guard before starting his coaching career with the Sarasota YMCA under then Head Coach Tim Hill.  Coach Watts later went on to coach at the Joliet YMCA in Illinois and continued there until 1985. Watts retuned to the Sharks in 1985 and has been here ever since leading the Shark’s Age Group to seventeen (17) Florida State Swimming Championships, thirty (30) YMCA State Championships, and twelve (13) YMCA National Championships.

Watts is considered one of the finest age group coaches in the country having been named 2016 National Age Group Coach of the Year; seven time Florida Age Group Coach of the Year (1987, 1990, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012), Illinois Age Group Coach of the Year (1984); two time Florida 3A High School Coach of the Year (2002 and 2003) and also holds a prestigious ASCA level 5 rating in the Age Group Division.  His swimmers have gone on to become top collegiate competitors, world record holders, and Olympians.

Sherwood pays tribute to former YMCA CEO Carl Weinrich, and former Shark head coach Tim Hill for helping him to grow as a coach and as a person. He also thanks his wife and three children, and former Shark coach Mike Simpson, for helping him to come to know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Eric Edward Nelson

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Assistant Competitive Swimming Director

Coach Nelson joined the Sharks in 2016 bringing 20 plus years of coaching experience.  He is an ASCA Level 5 and NCCA Division II Certified Swim Coach and has served in leadership capacities at the local, regional and national levels including sitting on the USA Swimming Board of Directors from 2002 to 2007.  He is known for building quality swim programs and successful swimmers including NAG Top 16, Junior National, Senior National, Varsity, College and International levels including 2004 Olympian Caroline Bruce and Paralympian Jarrett Perry.

The years prior to joining the Sharks he was a Swimming Coach and Recruiting Director at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL where they accomplished 6 school records and successfully recruited athletes including 13 new students for the 2016-2017 season.

For eight years between 2008 – 2014 he helped lead The Lake Highland Preparatory School to finishing 2nd place FHSAA State 1A Championships in 2012, Coached seven state champions and three Olympic Trial qualifiers. Captured 4th place men’s / 8th place combined Junior National Championships in 2011; 9th place combined 2014

From 1991 to 1996 Coach Nelson was Head Age Group Swim Coach for the Wichita Swim Club, before taking the Head Coach position for one year at Tuscaloosa Swim Club, only to return to Wichita Swim Club as the General Manager and Head Coach for 11 years. With Eric’s leadership the program became a Gold Medal swim club and one the best in the Midwest and the country.

Nelson was named six times “Coach of the Year” for Missouri Valley Swimming, three times named “Coach of the Year” for Region VIII Swimming and part of the USA Swimming National Team Coaching Staff 2004 – 2008

He has a BA in Political Science from Wichita State University and was a Varsity Swimmer for University of Kansas from 1988 to 1991.

Kristi Weyant

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Team Administrator

Kristi has been a swim parent for over seven (7) years and has been the 12 & Under Head Group parent for the last four (4) seasons.  Weyant has also been the principle timer coordinator for all Shark meets for the last several seasons. 
 
Her daughters, Emma and Gracie, are not only Shark team record holders but have competed at state, regional and national levels.  With this, Kristi has hands on knowledge and experience with FLAGS, FL All Stars, JR & SR Champs, High School Regional, Sectional and State Championships, Y Nats, National Select Camp, National Championships and World Trials meets.

Prior to the Sharks Kristi was with Berkeley (Barracuda’s) Preparatory School in Tampa, FL where she was the Lead Health Education Teacher and Academic Counselor for grades 11 and 12.  She worked with students and parents with all aspects of college admissions counseling and was the lead health education teacher instrumental in creating school programs.

Before her time with the Barracudas Kristi was the Director of Wellness at United States Department of the Treasury in Washington, DC.  As the Director, she was responsible creating and running wellness employee programs, coordinated and managed a large volunteer base, working with large health vendors, ran large group instructional and training sessions, 5K Runs and other like events.

Kristi was also owner operator of Monogram Me H2O which is responsible for the 100’s of Shark logos and names you see on swim bags, parkas, shirts, and towels.

Kristi has a Bachelor of Science from the Pennsylvania State University in Exercise Science/Health Education and has been working towards her Master of Arts from the University of South Florida in Educational Leadership.

Andrew Eckhart

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Lead Coach and Aquatics Facility Operator


Andrew started coaching with the Sharks in 2012 until 2017 when he became the Head Age Group Coach for Gulliver Swim Club in Miami, Florida.  While with Gulliver Swim Club Andrew helped lead the Age Group Program to two second place finishes at the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Swim Meet.  Andrew also he oversaw the the lessons program, taught physical education, was the Aquatics Facility Operator and in charge of developing and communicating the progression of the program.  In 2018 Andrew rejoined the Sharks as a Lead Coach and Aquatics Facility Operator.

Before joining the Sharks in 2012 Andrew coached at Florida State University as a volunteer assistant coach with both the men’s and women’s programs during the 2011-12 season.  Andrew was also the Associate Head Coach of the club program through the University, Club Seminole, during his time in Tallahassee.

Before moving to Florida Andrew coached in Massillon, Ohio.  Where he was an assistant coach for the boys high school team at Jackson High School for the 2010-2011 season.  Andrew also coached at the local YMCA, Paul and Carol David YMCA, were he coached all levels of groups from 8 and unders up to the Senior Age Groups.

While in college Andrew was a 4 year letter winner in swimming at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) and was selected as captain for his senior year. He is a 2010 graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a double major in Secondary Education (grades 6-12) and History along with a minor in Political Science.  Along with his degrees Andrew attained his ASCA Level 1 certification.

David Miner

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Head Coach Masters

Coach David Miner is a USMS-certified Level 3 Masters coach, ASCA member and Masters certified coach, adult learn-to-swim instructor, open water coach, NAUI Certified Dive Master, and Adult CPR/AED certified. David coaches all morning practices and runs his own open water races along with coaching and instruction through his business Swim Without Limits, is the Florida LMSC Open Water Chairperson, and is the race director for SYSM’s Tropical Splash open water race. With open water swimming as his passion, David has participated in many open water races in Florida, Tennessee, Hawaii, Bermuda, St. Croix, Chicago, Puerto Rico, including multiple 12.5-mile, 10-mile, 9-mile, multiple 10K, 5K, and 2.4 mile swims.

Terri Leap

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Development Coordinator 

Coach Terri has been with the Sharks for well over a decade.  Her experience not only comes from years on the deck developing future champions but from a long and successful swimming career.

As a New Jersey age grouper and senior Terri was a state champion, a two-time high school swimmer of the year, and high school All American.

She competed in senior national championships from ages 12 to 18, and represented the northeast as a 12-year old at the National Junior Olympics in Colorado.

She specialized in the 200 and 400 individual medleys and distance freestyle events achieving a national rank of 8th for the 1650 freestyle.

Leap swam for Florida State University and was a four time All American. In addition, she was a National Championship Finalist and Olympic Trial qualifier in the 400 IM.

Coach Terri’s daughter Bethany, a Shark Alumni, swims for the University of Texas and followed her mother’s footsteps qualifying and swimming in the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Jenn Hart

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Lead Age Group Assistant

Coach Hart has been with the YMCA for 11 plus years bringing decades of swimming and coaching experience.  Before the Sharks, Jenn coached in Gainesville with Florida and then for many years with the Waverunners Swim Team in Negril, Jamaica.

Jenn was a top age grouper in North Carolina holding 14 state records from 1972 to 1975.  She was nationally ranked in the Top 10 seven times and ranked 15th in the world in the 100 and 200 backstroke which she best the Olympic bronze medalist at the time by 1.5 seconds.  She was a Regional Champion and 3-time National Junior Qualifier before becoming a 12-time Senior National Qualifier and an All-American High School swimmer for Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston, NC.  In June of 1976 Jenn brought her backstroke to the Olympic Trials in Long Beach, CA.

She went on to swim for the University of Florida for four years and was a 3-time All-American in the backstroke, butterfly and individual medley.  She then was an assistant for Florida while in graduate school before moving to Jamaica.

Coach Jen’s son and daughter are very successful Sharks.  Her daughter is a Shark Alumni that moved on to swim for Colgate University. Her son has competed internationally and a top Olympic prospect for Jamaica.

Ellen Bennett

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Age Group Assistant

Ava Jones

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Assistant Coach

Dorey Castillo

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Assistant Coach

Meghan Buckley

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Age Group Assistant Berlin

Coach Meghan was a Sarasota YMCA Shark Age Grouper swimming at state, regional and national levels. She was an All-American at Riverview High School. Meghan went on to swim for the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Daphne English

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Coach Masters

Daphne English coaches the evening group. She began her competitive swimming career with the Sarasota Sharks at age 3 under Coach Sherwood Watts. Over the years she’s competed and trained with the Sharks, Gotham (NY), Badger (NY) and Starlit (VA). She’s coached high school teams and the North Port and Venice branches of the Sharks. She is a certified Level 2 coach for USA Swimming and USMS. In 2015 she achieved Top 10 for her age group in the 200 butterfly LCM. Daphne competes as a swimmer in pool and open water events as well as in triathlons.

Marshall Pepe

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Coach Masters

Coach Marshall Pepe writes our Saturday morning sprint workouts, in which he incorporates some on-deck drylands and anaerobic drills. Coach Pepe also volunteers his time with our age group team, assisting the legendary Sherwood Watts with the Black and Gold teams.

Laura Hamel

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Edward Mench

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Coach Masters

Coach Ed Mench writes workouts, coaches and swims at the Lakewood Ranch YMCA, offering our northern-living or working Sharks an alternate training facility.

Erin Bacon

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SASSY Head Coach

Coach Bacon has been a member of the Sarasota Aquatics Synchronized Swimming at the YMCA coaching staff since 2006. She currently holds positions as Administrative Chair of the Southwest Association, Education Chair for the South Zone, and is also a member of the National Coaching Board. She led the SASSY team to National competition during the 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 seasons.

Vern Gambetta

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Functional Training Consultant

Coach Gambetta designs the Sharks' state of the art dryland program for each competitive swim group level.  Gambetta’s program is designed to bulletproof the swimmer by developing strength, conditioning and athleticism outside of the pool.  The results have been exemplary with little to no injuries at the elite level.  

Gambetta is a seven-time author, international speaker, Co-founder of USA Track & Field coaching education program, Associate editor of the IAAF technical journal and considered to be the Founding Father of Functional Sports Training.  He has worked with many sports at the highest levels.  Including: University of Texas Baseball, University of North Carolina Soccer, University of Virginia Soccer, Harvard Women's Swimming, University Michigan women's swimming, Kenyon College Swimming. Mission Viejo Nadadores Swimming, Carmel Swim Club, and Sarasota YMCA Sharks Swimming; USA Track & Field, US World Cup Soccer Team, Australian Olympic bronze metal softball team, and the Canadian National Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams; New York Mets, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Bulls, Tampa Bay Mutiny, New England Revolution, Chicago Fire; San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Jose Sharks; Monica Seles and Billy Stearns Tennis Academy.