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, safety, or policy issues, please contact one of the ACAC Board members.
Coaching Staff

Michael T Peterson

ACAC Head Coach


Michael is entering his fourth season with ACAC.  During the four years prior to returning to ACAC, Michael has been the top assistant coach with the Colorado Stars.  While with the Stars he helped in the development of Olympic Gold Medalist, Missy Franklin, and Olympian, Kara Lynn Joyce.  As the head age group coach, Michael, was a major contributor to the Colorado Stars winning 6 consecutive Colorado state titles and 2 Junior National Championship team titles.  He was instrumental in the coaching of 5 athletes at the 2012 Olympic Trials.

As an athlete, Michael was a standout prep swimmer at Ames High School where he earned 9 high school All-American certificates.  He continued his swimming career at the Denver University where he not only served as team captain, but also set 4 school records.  Michael is married to Jill and they live on a farm near Stratford.

Bryan Lederhouse

Ames - Head Pre Senior Coach


A native of Western New York (Niagara Falls), Bryan has been coaching professionally for almost 25 years.  He recently relocated to Ames from the suburbs of Chicago where he spent 20+ years as a USA/YMCA Head Coach & Senior coach for 3 different teams.  From 1994-2008 he was the Head coach for the Aurora YMCA Sharks.  When that YMCA closed down, the Sharks merged with the Academy Bullets where Bryan served as Senior coach from 2008-2010.  His most recent stop was with the Leaning Tower YMCA Sharks as Head coach for the past five seasons (2010-2015).  During his coaching tenure in Illinois, his teams achieved numerous top-3 finishes at the YMCA State Championships and twice were Illinois Senior Long-Course Men's team champions.

Bryan is an ASCA Level-4 certified coach and has had the privilege to work with and train numerous athletes from the novice level up through Olympic Trial qualifiers.  He graduated from Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL) with a B.S. in Physical Education and was a member of the varsity swim team there for four seasons, serving as Captain during his Senior year. 

Bryan and his wife, Eve, reside in Ames with their daughter Kenna.

Ben J Utesch

Ames - Head Age Group Coach


Ben is entering is first season with ACAC as a coach, but was a swimmer for the team since the age of 10. While swimming for ACAC, he set 18 club records, and won the Petri Vepsanen award in 2004 and 2008. In high school, Ben was a part of the 2009 state runner-up team, and was a 4 time All-American and state champion.

Ben continued his swimming career at Oakland U, where the team won 4 straight conference championships. He graduated with a Degree in Bachelor of Science General Management, from Oakland University in 2013.

Aron Nakama

Ames - Head Novice Coach


Aron returns to ACAC following a three-year absence where he began his pursuit of a PhD in Neuroscience. He hopes to graduate in 2019.  He is now heading up our Novice program where we look to see some great improvements from his vast knowledge of stroke technique.

Aron served as Head Coach of ACAC from 2002-2011. Duriing that time Aron produced 3 National Qualifiers, 4 Junior National Qualifiers, 9 ISI State Records, numerous High School State Champions, and led the team to a 2009 Runner-up finish at the Winter ISI Senior Championships. Aron has coached at National and International level meets including World Championships Trials (2009), and Short Course World Championships (2004). Aron also committed time to developing swimmers in the community by serving as Site Supervisor for SwimAmerica from 2002-2009.

As a swimmer, Aron represented Iowa State University (1998-2001) and was a consolation finalist at Big 12’s (2001). In High School, Aron was the Wisconsin High School State Champion (1998) in the 100 free. Aron competed at 7 Junior National meets for his club and also competed at the 1996 Summer Senior Nationals.

Aron is married to Myra Mendoza and they have two future swimmers: Naya and Kano.

Ali Stearns

Ames - Assistant Sr Coach


Ali is entering her first season coaching with ACAC. She grew up in Mason City, Iowa. She was part of the 2009 Girls State Championship Team, and was an individual state champion in the 100 Breaststroke in 2010. She went on to swim at Iowa State University, specializing in Breaststroke and IM. She placed top 8 in the 100 Breaststroke at the Big 12 Championships in 2013, 2014, and 2015.  Ali graduated from Iowa State University in May 2015 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. In addition to coaching for ACAC, Ali is also a Shelter Advocate at ACCESS Assault Care Center, and works for Cornerstone Church as an Event Coordinator for The Salt Company. 

Taylor Nicole Blatchford

Ames - Assistant Novice Coach


Taylor will be entering her first season as a coach for ACAC. Taylor has swum for numerous clubs over the course of her swimming career, including teams in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Carolina.  She was captain of her high school team in Minnesota and broke the 100 breaststroke school record during the 2013 girls high school swim season. She is an Iowa State freshman this year.  She plans to study Communications and Criminology and participate in the Pre-Law program.

Joseph J Plane

Fort Dodge Head Coach


Kassandra Messerly

Fort Dodge - Novice and Age Group Coach


Kassi was born in Fort Dodge and started swimming competetively for the YMCA at the age of 6.  During middle school, she moved to Chandler, Arizona where she swam for two years for a USS team.  She moved back to Fort Dodge and joined the High School team where she swam and lettered as a varsity swimmer for three years.  During college, Kassi continued to lifeguard and coach swim lessons.  She moved back to Arizona to get her Associate of Science Degree in Veterinary Technology, while teaching swim lessons and swim team. Kassi is now attending her second year at Iowa Central to pursue Elementary Education and coach for the high school as well as ACAC.

Ashley Koons

Fort Dodge - Pre Senior Coach


Ashley is in her first season of coaching for Ames Cyclone Aquatics Club.  She started swimming competitively in high school for Newton and lettered as a varsity swimmer for three years.  Currently she teaches at Fort Dodge High School and has served as the assistant coach for the Fort Dodge High School girls’ team.  Ashley is from Newton, Iowa.

Board of Directors

Jason Horras



Sue Winer



Jen Matthews



Amy Pyle