Jeff has been coaching with the CATS Aquatic Team
since 2004 and has been the Head Coach of the CATS Aquatic Team
since 2008. Jeff spent his first four years at CATS as the
Head Age Group Coach. Jeff has previously served as Head Coach
of the District Unified Swim Team,
Jeff primarily works with the Silver Group but
you will see him at many other practices watching or giving
Jeff is an ASCA Level 4 certified coach he
has worked with athletes of all ages and abilities. He has spent
most of his coaching career working with age group swimmers who
have been Sectional Finalists, Nationally Top 16 Ranked, Age Group
State Champions, Zone Champions and State Record Holders. Jeff has
seen the CATS Aquatic team place as high as 5th at the Illinois Age
Aside from his work with CATS, Jeff has been the
Team Illinois Zone Manager and has served as a coach for many
Illinois Camps and Clinics. He also served as Boys Water Polo Coach
for Libertyville High School from 2004-2008.
Educated at University Wisconsin-Madison,
Valparaiso University and University of Illinois-Chicago Jeff has a
Bachelors’ Degree in Mathematics with an Illinois teaching
certificate. Jeff swam competitively at Wisconsin and Valparaiso
until a shoulder injury ended his career.
Jeff and his wife Nina, daughter Hannah, son
Danny and dog Casey live in Arlington Heights! Jeff has a
simple philosophy when it comes to swimming: He is committed to
providing “something for everyone,” regardless of their
ability or experience. He believes that teaching swimmers Life
Values through competition is more important than fast times. He
feels that learning the value of hard work, discipline and
self-respect though sportsmanship, respect for others, will result
in an overall successful person.
Head Senior Coach
Coach Vlad hails from Russia carrying his enormous wealth of swimming knowledge as an athlete and a coach.
After arriving in America a little more then 18 years ago, Vlad has worked with all different age groups. His heart and soul is swimming and he takes great pride in watching that passion develop in the swimmers.
His motivation is contagious; he will help achieve goals in a proactive and entertaining style.
Coach Vlad is a former Russian freestyler who won one gold medal (World Record) and two silver medals at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and one silver medal 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He also won two silver medals at the 1994 World Aquatics Championships in Rome.
Vlad still compiting at the Masters level and currently holding few US National records for 35-39 and 40-44 Age Group, plus 3 World Records (1 - on 200 Free for 35-39 Age Group and 2 - on 100 & 200 Free for 40-44 Age Group)
Since arriving in the U.S., Vlad has coached at COHO Swim Team, Glenbrook Aquatics (formerly Northbrook Spartan Swim Club) and at CATS Aquatic Team.
Head Developmental Coach
Coach Mike holds a B.S. in Physical Education and coaching, with a
minor in History and Kinesiology from Western Illinois
University. He is a life plus member of ASCA, and a fully certified
USA swimming coach. He has coached numerous regional, age
group state, and senior state qualifiers in his previous 15 years
coaching experience. He was also the 13-18 Zone coach for
Illinois in 2005 and 2009, and the Head Zones coach for Team
Illinois 2013-2015. He started Midway Aquatics in 2005,
the club grew from 25 swimmers to 170, and developed repeated
regional, age group state, central zone, and senior state
qualifiers. He also started Life Time Illinois Swim Team in
2013, and introduced the health club to the competitive world if
Illinois Swimming. Coach Mike also served on the Illinois
Swimming Board of Directors as Coaches Representative and Senior
Vice Chair. Along with his love of swimming, he enjoys riding
his motorcycle, wake boarding, snowboarding, and spending time with
Gold Group Coach
This is Coach Chris' eleventh season with CATS. During his
time with CATS, he has worked with all age levels and worked with
many successful athletes. He is currently an ASCA Level 3 and was
the lead 13-14 Boys coach for the Illinois Central zones team who
won the 2017 Central zones championship. Before CATS, Coach
Chris began his swimming career at the age of six and continued
through his senior year of high school. Both as an athlete and
coach, Chris has 27 years of experience in the sport of swimming.
Coach Chris graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in
History and minor in Sociology. When he is not on the pool
deck, Coach Chris spends his days working in the Special Education
department at Libertyville High School. In his free time,
Chris enjoys spending time with his new wife and dogs along
with staying active competing in triathlon races of various
Barbara K Cunningham
Lead Purple and Blue Group Coach
This is my 3rd year as Lead coach for the Purple group at
Cats, and 2nd year as Lead coach for the Blue group. I am an
ASCA Level 2 Certified Swim Coach, with an 8 and Under
specialty. I really started my swimming life when my husband
and I owned our own Swim America Swim Lesson program for 4
years. Once we decided to close the business, I worked at
Goldfish Swim School for a year, before I started my coaching life
here. My family is a bit of a swimming family. My
husband also works at Cats as the Lead Coach of Orange and Head
Developmental Coach. I have 2 kids, a daughter
and a son. My Daughter swam for many years and was on the
silver and red group at Cats before pursuing
Volleyball. My son is currently in the Silver group and
loves to swim. I love coaching, teaching swimmers new skills,
seeing them progress every practice, and develop a passion for the
sport! My hobbies outside of swimming are baking and
decorating cakes, gardening, and being at the lake in Wisconsin
with my family.
Assistant Silver Group Coach
Amy is in her fifth year with CATS as an Assistant Senior Coach in the Gold Group. Amy started her coaching career when she retired from swimming and became a Co-Head coach for the University of Illinois' Masters Swim Team. Amy swam competitively for close to 14 years and still enjoys to swim today.
She spent many years dedicated to the sport and enjoys sharing her strong passion as a coach. Amy graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009 with a Masters in Special Education and a Bachelors in Early Childhood Special Education.
Along with coaching, Amy is an Early Childhood Special Education teacher with the Fremont School District #79.
Assistant Purple and Blue Group Coach
Coach Pat has been with the CATS
Aquatic Team for the last six years. Besides coaching CATS,
he also coach for Vernon Hills High School with the boys and girls
swim team and the boys water polo team. Coach Pat currently
teach in Gurnee at Woodland intermediate. Recently he moved
into the Vernon Hills area with his fiance and will be getting
married in June.