Coaches & Directors

Alligator Coaches

Alligator Aquatics is committed to providing our swimmers with exceptional coaching. In order to achieve this standard, our entire staff is ASCA certified. In addition to multiple years of coaching and swimming experience, they continually attend Swimming Technique and Coaching Clinics around the United States. 

Contact: Please direct all emails to the Head Coach for questions regarding all swim groups.

 

Coaching Staff

Stacy L Cassiday

Assistant Coach

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Stacy has been swimming all her life, her accomplishments are many. She is a  7 time Illinois State Champion (3 state records) 1981-1985 for Evanston Township High School.   3 time NCAA team champions at the University of Texas (highest individual place was 2nd in the 500 free).  14 time Collegiate All-American,  2 time Olympic Trial participant and  6 time National team member.

In between all her swimming accomplishments in the pool she also has an MA in Counseling Psychology and an MA in School Administration. She is currently working a Jr. High School Counselor for Dist. 15. 

Stacy lives in Arlington Hts., with her 2 boys: Ryan and Alex. 

In her down-time, which is limited, she still finds time to swim and spend as much time as she can with all her family members who live in the area.   

Tom Blumenfeld

Assistant Coach

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Tom Blumenfeld swam as an age group swimmer from the age of 6 for Leaning Tower & High Ridge YMCA, as well as a USS Team in Skokie.  He swam on the Varsity team for 4 years in High School and was team captain his senior year.  He continued to swim in college as a long distance freestyler and butterflyer at Northern Illinois University. Tom currently swims with the Alligator Aquatics master’s program and competes in local triathlons.

Tom also volunteers his time as our Treasurer. He is responsible for keeping the clubs financial records, and making sure the financial needs of the club are met. Swimming, coaching and volunteering his time for the Alligators comes alongside his being a CPA with Pawlan, Blumenfeld, Miscinski & Associates in Skokie.  Tom has been a resident of Arlington Heights for 18 years with his wife Debbie and their 2 children Shannon and Leah!

ASCA level 2 

Quote: "Tomorrow is promised to no one" -  Walter Payton       

Jennifer Suyon Zapler

Assistant Coach

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Jenny’s love of swimming began at the local park district swim team in her hometown of Carol Stream.  At age 11, she moved on to swim for B.R.Ryall YMCA. There, she swam for eight years. Jenny continued to swim in college at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She swam all the freestyle distances.  Upon graduating from UIC, Jenny started coaching swimming at all levels: High School, USA Swimming and Masters.Jenny has a Masters degree in secondary education. Currently, she is an instructional assistant for Reading Specialists at Westbrook Elementary School in Mount Prospect.   She works with Kindergartners and first graders. Jenny is married to a high school teacher and girls’ track and field head coach, Danny, and has two kids: Dahlia (current Alligator) and Zane (retired Alligator). When Jenny is not working at school or on the pool deck: she loves to read, spend time with family indoors or outdoors, working out and loves to cook and eat food. 

Olivia Ruth Hepko

Assistant Coach

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Olivia Hepko began swimming when she was 7 years old for the park district. Her enthusiasm and love for the sport created a natural transition for her to swim on Alligators full-time. After being an athlete, teammate, and an Alligators lesson instructor for many years, the team gave Olivia a profound sense of purpose, patience, discipline, and community that, as an assistant coach, she desires to pass on to other swimmers. She believes in being a well-rounded athlete and individual is the key to success in the pool and, ultimately, carries on into life. As an assistant coach, Olivia wants to give back to the team over the next couple of years and pursue future endeavors in coaching and teaching, as she completes her undergraduate degree at Harper College before transferring out to Ball State University. Olivia loves healthy cooking and country music and in her free time, being active outdoors, running, cycling, CrossFit, weightlifting, surrounding herself with friends and family, traveling/road tripping.

Quote: "It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you."  -Leon Brown

Kyle W Smith

Assistant Coach

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Kyle began swimming in High School. He wanted to join another sport at school and choose swimming. Kyle quickly fell in love with the sport and the grind that came with. Coaching is one of his favorite things to do as he loves working with kids and he loves sports. Kyle is a current Student at Harper College seeking his Associates degree and playing baseball. After graduating Harper Kyle plans on Majoring in Secondary Education and becoming a High School History teacher. Favorite movie is Forrest Gump/Favorite food is sushi/Loves country music/Favorite baseball player is Kris Bryant. Go Cubs!/Loves traveling! He’s been to Germany, Spain, Mexico, and Iceland/Favorite quote: “I love it when people doubt me. It makes me work harder to prove them wrong.”  - Derek Jeter

Michelle Schueler

Assistant Coach

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Michelle first started swimming at the age of 8 on her park district swim team.  She then joined  Alligator Aquatics in 2003 where she swam for many years concreting her love of swimming and finding some of her best friends! She swam on the Varsity tea for 4 years and was captain her senior year.  She also played Water Polo and earned an All-State title in her senior year.  

 

Michelle hung up her goggles when she went to college but continued to swim for exercise.  She took up running but was looking to get back into swimming. She started coaching at Glenbrook Aquatics and coached swimmers 6-12 for three years.  

 

She took a break but realized she missed coaching too much and started coaching her home team Arlington Alligators in 2019.  She is looking forward to continuing coaching with such amazing swimmers!

 

Currently, Michelle is a 4th grade teacher at St. James School in Arlington Heights.  In her free time, she enjoys being active, running, reading a good book and traveling.  She is married to her husband, Bill and they have a dog named Sloane. 

Mia Isabella Drago

Jr. Assistant Coaches

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Mia has been swimming since she was 8 and joined Alligators in 2013. She fell in love with the sport and I wants love to share her passion with the little ones. Mia hase met her best friends through swimming and knows this is a great team to be on! Her favorite food is everything, however, she loves pesto pasta! Her favorite movie is Finding Nemo and Moana. Her favorite book is Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth. When not swimming She is running or outside with her dog. 
 
Board of Directors

Vince Wiltse

President

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Jim Dorshorst

Vice President

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