Head Coach, Head National Coach
Gardner Howland became just the second head coach of the Kansas City Blazers in their 40 year history in 2010, following the retirement of legendary coach Pete Malone. Howland was the head coach at Pilot Aquatic Club- Knoxville for 14 years, where the team was a USA Swimming Gold Medal club for his last 7 years. He spent a combined 6 years at the helm of Conejo Simi Swim Club in Thousand Oaks, CA before and after his time in Knoxville. He has placed athletes on nearly every major U.S. National team in his career, including the National Junior Team, Pan Am Games, World University Games, Goodwill Games, and highlighted by a gold medalist on the 2000 Olympic Team. Coach Howland’s swimmers have qualified for U.S. Nationals in every stroke and every distance, and he has trained multiple National finalists, Junior National champions, and Olympic Trial qualifiers. He was the head coach of the National Junior Team in 2004 and 2008, and he was an assistant on the 2001 Goodwill Games staff. Howland was named Southeastern Swimming(LSC) Coach of the Year 4 times and has been voted Missouri Valley Swimming Coach of the Year twice. Prior to his time at Conejo Simi he was the head age group and head masters coach at Santa Barbara Swim Club, and his athlete’s have earned #1 national age group rankings individually and as relays.
Coach Howland has also given to the governance side of the sport, serving on the USA Swimming Senior Committee for 4 years and holding the position of Technical Chairman for Southeastern Swimming for 5 years. He was the Coaches Rep of the Coastal Section in Southern California Swimming in the early 90’s, and has served on numerous training camp staffs.
A native of Wheaton, IL, Gardner was a 7 time National YMCA champion, high school All-American, a U.S. National and Olympic Trial qualifier, and was a letter-winning swimmer at the University of Tennessee. He credits his exposure to a variety of accomplished coaches and gifted swimmers for helping shape his coaching philosophy, which he considers comprehensive, holistic and driven by what his athletes and teams present in their talents and needs. He likes to share both a technical and conceptual approach to the sport with the staff and swimmers of KCB.
Howland enjoys living in Kansas City with his wife Paige, son Gardner, and a dog.
George L Adcock
Head Coach, Junior I
Kia Ora! George Adcock is the Head Junior I Coach at Blue
Valley North. George comes the the Blazers from the Iowa Flyers and
TOPS swim clubs.
He was born and raised in Aukland, New Zealand. George swam for the
Mount Eden Swim Club. He participated in Age Group Nationals where
he finshed Top 5 in the 100 and 200 Backstroke. George also
competed in Team Surf Lifesaving Championships in 1997. He achieved
a BA/BCom from University of Auckland in Ethics and
George is an ASCA Level 3. He was the head coach at TOPS swim club
in Chicago, IL where he had both Junior and Senior National Level
Swimmers and a Top 15 team finish at YMCA Nationals. He coached
High School Boys at ORPF where they finished top 10 in Illinois
High School State. George has coached multiple YMCA National
finalist in various age groups. He spent a year at IFLY where he
coached swimmers to multiple state records and National Top 10 age
When asked what his favorite thing about coaching was, George
stated "Seeing kids achieve something they worked so hard to get
and at one point probably thought was impossible".
In George's free time he enjoys hanging out with his Wife Tessa and
son Quinn. He likes to ride bikes, snowboard and to watch/play
Head Coach, Junior II
Coach Mary-Catherine Ivey is the Head Junior II coach,
overseeing the programs at both Blue Valley West and Shawnee
Mission North locations. Mary-Catherine came to the Blazers in 2015
from the Aiken-Augusta Swim League (Georgia LSC) where she was the
Aiken Site Director and brings over 12 years of coaching
experience, having coached with all levels from beginners to
National level senior swimmers.
She has a B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science and a Minor in
Business from the University of South Carolina - Aiken.
Mary-Catherine is originally from South Carolina and currently
lives in Merriam, K.S. In her free time, she enjoys yoga,
reading and spending time outdoors.
Head Coach, Age Group I and II
Coach Shawn grew up in
Topeka, Kansas and swam for Topeka Swim Association
(TSA) and Mid America Swim Team (MAST) under legendary
coaches Casey Converse and Paul Shubert.
Before coming to the Blazers in 2013,
Shawn was the Head Assistant Coach for TSA
from 1994-1996. In that time, Shawn attended the
1995 National Age Group Coaching Conference, was a 1996 Zone C
11-12yrs girls coach, and started TSA's weight training program and
the Varsity (High School) team. Shawn is also the Head Coach of the
Roeland Park Stingrays in the summers.
coaching for TSA, Shawn attended Washburn
University and studied Exercise Physiology &
Kinesiology along with Public Relations. During my
departure from coaching I always felt pulled back to my love of
teaching swimmers. Now I find myself coaching a bunch of
wonderful Blazers! I am thrilled with the opportunities the Blazers
have given me, including the opportunity to be the full-time Head
Coach of the Age Group I and Age Group II
Head Coach, Senior I (Senior II Admin)
Coach Alex has been in a number of various roles with the
Blazers since 2011. He is now serving as the Head Senior I
Coach, and oversees communication for the Senior II and High School
Prep groups. In the past, Alex has been a deck coach at the
Blue Valley North and Shawnee Mission North locations, as well as
the Lead Junior II coach for SMN last year. Alex is also a
math teacher at Shawnee Mission North, and has been the Head Girls
Swim and Dive Coach there since 2014. Alex also coaches with
the Mission Marlins in the summer and coached the boys teams at
Mill Valley and DeSoto High Schools for 3 years.
Alex was a competitive swimmer for 12 years, including 4 years
at Bishop Miege High School. Alex played water polo for 3
years at Kansas State University (GO CATS!) and graduated from
Mid-America Nazarene University in 2015 with a degree in Secondary
Math Education and an ESOL endorsement. Alex is very
passionate about swimming, has worked with swimmers of all levels,
and loves to share his passion and love of the sport with his