Head Coach & Aquatics Director
Coach Erica Thomas joined the USSC
Coaching Staff in 2001 as the Head Age Group Coach, and became the
Head Coach and Aquatics Director of the program in 2006.
During her time at USSC, the team nearly tripled in size
to approximately 300 year-round athletes. Since becoming Head
Coach, USSC has broken hundreds of team records, qualified
numerous swimmers for the Central Zone Sectional Meet, and produced
more than 25 NCSA Junior National Qualifiers. It has
been very rewarding to work with such a group of
ambitious swimmers and coaches.
I am proud to say that many of our swimmers go on to represent
their high school swim teams and many become their team's captains
because of the leadership skills and confidence they gain swimming
Swimming with USSC has also opened
doors for many of our athletes to continue swimming at the
collegiate level. We have had swimmers go on to swim in the
Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Horizon League, GLIAC, MIAA, and
President's Athletic Conference, just to name a few.
I hold a BA in Psychology with a Minor in Exercise Science, and
graduated with a Masters in Counseling in 2009 from Oakland
University. Beginning in 1999, I coached various high school
teams in the Macomb and Oakland County area for many years and
eventually became the Head Coach for Girls (2018) and Boys Swimming
(2010) at Stoney Creek High School, our club's home
Head Age Group Coach
Coach Tim Hickey joined the
USSC Coaching Staff in 2012 as the Head Age Group Coach. During his
time at USSC, he helped to elevate our 12 & Under program to a
consistent Top 3 finisher at the Michigan 12 & Under State Meet
for both Short Course and Long Course seasons. He currently
leads the Age Group 1 and Age Group 2 groups at USSC.
Prior to coaching at USSC, Tim was a collegiate swimmer
at Purdue University and Oakland University. Tim began
his coaching career at Adams High School in 1994. Over the
years he has coached many High School State Champions and
All-Americans in his time at Adams. In addition to coaching
at Adams, he has also coached Heart of the Hills and Life Time
Fitness summer clubs and has been an assistant coach with OLY, NOW,
and was the former Head Coach of the Clarkston Sea
Tim grew up in Rochester where he was a member of the Oakland Live
Y’ers swim team from the age of 8. He was a
multiple-time YMCA Nationals qualifier and the Long Course National
Champion in the 200 Backstroke in the summer of 1985. Tim
graduated from Rochester Adams High School where he was an
All-State and All-American swimmer.
Coach Tim holds a Bachelor's degree (BS) in Biology
and a Master's degree (MS) in Exercise Science from Oakland
Lead Senior Development Coach
Coach Clay Youngquist joined the USSC Coaching Staff in 2018 and
is currently the Lead Coach of the Senior Development group. Coach
Clay also works directly with the Senior Performance group and
assists with other groups in the program.
Clay grew up swimming in the Zeeland and Battle Creek areas,
coached for many years by his mother, Julie Youngquist, who
was most recently the head coach of Lakeview Aquatic
Club. Swimming for Battle Creek Lakeview High School, he broke
MHSAA swimming state records in the 50 through 500 yard freestyles
as well as the 100 yard butterfly.
Clay continued his swimming career at the University of Texas at
Austin, coached by the legendary Eddie Reese, where he competed in
sprint freestye, mid-distance freestyle, butterfly and
backstroke events. As a freshman, Clay placed 2nd in the 200
free and 7th in the 500 free at the Big 12 Championships and
contributed to Texas' 400 and 800 freestyle relays, which won
titles at both Big 12 Championships and NCAA Championships, and
placed 5th in finals at NCAAs in the 200 free. As a sophomore, Clay
won the Big 12 title in the 200 free and placed 3rd in the 500
free, and placed 6th at NCAAs in the 200 free. As a junior, Clay
won Big 12 titles in both the 200 and 500 free, was a runner-up in
the 200 fly, and anchored the 800 free relay in its conference
title; and at NCAAs repeated his 6th place finish in the 200 free
and anchored the 800 free relay to a 5th place finish. In his
senior year, Clay helped lead the Longhorns to a national
championship and earned All-American honors in the process.
At the national and international level, Clay was an exceptional
long course swimmer. In 2010, he won the 200 meter freestyle
and set a meet record at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships,
placed 2nd in the 100 meter free, and was a member of the
victorious 400 meter freestyle and medley relays for the American
team. He also won the 200 free at the 2010 Speedo Junior National
Championships. At the 2011 US National Championships,
Clay played 16th in the 200 free. At the 2012 US Olympic
Trials, Clay advanced to the semifinals in the 200 free, eventually
placing 12th. At the 2013 US National Championships, Clay placed
20th in the 100 free, 9th in the 200 free, and 15th in the 400
Clay was named to the 2014-2015 US National Team, where he set
personal best times in the 100, 200, and 400 freestyle events
and won a gold medal for Team USA in the 800 meter
freestyle relay at the 2015 World University Games.
During the summer months, Coach Clay is the Head Coach of the
Western Golf and Country Club Swim Team.
Coach Clay holds a Bachelor's degree (BS) in Kinesiology from
the University of Texas.
Lead Intermediate and Junior Coach
Coach Rich Burns joined the USSC Coaching Staff in 2016.
He is the Lead Coach of our Intermediate and Junior Groups.
Coach Rich brings more than 25 years of coaching experience with
him to USSC, including having previously held a variety of coaching
positions all over the United States.
Lead Senior Conditioning Coach
Coach Stephen Smith joined the USSC Coaching Staff during our
2016 Long Course season. Stephen is the Lead Coach of the
Senior Conditioning group and will be assisting on other Senior
groups during the course of the season. Stephen previously
coached at Clarkston Sea Wolves and Lifetime Fitness.
Senior Assistant Coach
Coach James DeWitte
joined the USSC Coaching Staff in 2010 and has held many coaching
positions during his time with the team, working with all ages and
abilities within the program. For the first several years of
his tenure, he was the lead coach of Age Group 2 and, alongside
Coach Tim Hickey, brought the 12 & Under State Team
to it's first ever runner-up finish at the 2016 Short Course State
Championships. In the years that followed, James transitioned to
the lead coach of the Senior Development group, where he directly
oversaw the development of swimmers that achieved National Age
Group Top 100 rankings and the team's youngest Sectional and Junior
National qualifiers. James now works for USSC on a part-time
basis, primarily assisting with the Senior groups and
providing additional educational components for all athletes within
James joined USSC at the age of 6 and swam competitively as a Polar
Bear for 10 years. He was a 12 & Under State Champion and
Sectionals qualifier with USSC, as well as a MHSAA Division 1 State
Champion in 2007 while attending Brother Rice High School.
Coach James holds a Bachelor's degree (BS) in Health Sciences and a
Master's in Public Health (MPH) from Oakland
Coach Kat Steenson joined USSC in 2016 at the beginning of the
Short Course season. Kat has been the Assistant Swim
Coach at Rochester High School since 2013 and has previous
club coaching experience with the Clarkston Sea Wolves.
She is currently studying at Oakland University.
Coach Emily Frederick joined the USSC Coaching Staff in
2017. Emily was a student-athlete at the University of Toledo
where she completed all four years as a Varsity Swim Team
members, specializing in distance free and
Emily is currently pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
degree at Wayne State University.
Coach Chris Hackett joined the USSC Coaching Staff in 2020 as an
assistant coach, working primarily with our Intermediate and Junior
Coach Chris began his coaching career in 2011 as the Head Age Group
Coach of the North Oakland Waves. Chris has over 30 years of
competitive swimming experience. He represented Solon (OH)
High School and the Solon Swim Club at the State and National Level
as a middle distance freestyler. He swam at the University of
Michigan for Hall of Fame coach Jon Urbanchek, and has remained
active in swimming as a Masters Swimmer. He competes at
Masters Meets in the pool but really enjoys open water
racing. In 2011, he won the high point award at the Michigan
Masters State Swimming Meet. In 2009, he was the 10K Open
Water National Champion for his age group. In August 2019, he
scored for the 14th time in his age group at the Harbor Springs
Coastal Crawl. In his 14 swims he has won 12 times.
Coach Aaron Helander joined the USSC Coaching Staff in
2020. Aaron is also the Head Coach for the Girls and Boys
Swim Teams at Rochester High School and Heart of the Hills.
He is an Oakland University Swimming Alumni.
Coach Landon Shively joined USSC's Coaching Staff in 2020 as an
assistant coach on all levels of the program. Landon is
currently a student at Oakland University and is graduating in the
Spring of 2020.
Landon began his coaching career in 2016, working with the North
Oakland Waves. Landon originally joined NOW as a swimmer in
2008, excelling as a backstroker. He competed at YMCA
Nationals for both short course and long course in