The CKS Mako's Swim School coaching team comprises of collegiate and former University of North Carolina collegiate swimmer/coaches.  Each coach has impressive swimming and academic accolades. Members of our coaching staff have competed at Worlds, Nationals, Collegiately, and Olympic Trial sanctioned competitions. Our coaching staff has collectively over 100 years of competitive swimming and open water experience. 

Coaching Staff

Sarah Chaires

Co-Head Coach & Founder - Sarah Chaires


Coach Sarah Chaires started competitive swimming at the age of seven in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and advanced to compete at club, regional and national level swimming.  She was a team record holder and one the Ontario's best backstroker at a young age. She swam and rowed for Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  She has won medals/ranked highly at Provincial and National sanctioned sporting events for; competitive swimming, water polo, war canoe, rugby and rowing.  She was captain and led her high school teams for swimming, water polo, cross country, track & field, and rugby every year. She was a certified competitive Swim Coach in Canada and a current USA Swimming age group coach. She is also a level 2 USA Masters Swim Coach.  She was also a physical trainer for collegiate sports teams' for Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her competitive swimming specialties were; freestyle, backstroke and medley, and she competed middle to long distances as well as open water competitions.

The confidence, leadership skills and athletic abilities that she developed through competitive swimming has mirrored into her professional endeavours. Sarah received the renowned award for greatest contribution to student life at Dalhousie University for the Medical School & Allied Health Professions combined.  While obtaining her Masters in Nursing and Nurse Practitioner degrees from University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, she twice was the recipient of the prestigious Jimmy Butts Scholarship. She has been a Nurse Practitioner for ten years, the past 9 years at UNC Hospitals in the Emergency Department. Coach Sarah Chaires is a very proud wife and mother of three boys. 

James Alex Henderson



Co-Head Coach Competitive & Pre-Competitive Swim Teams - Alex Henderson

Club Kick Start is excited to announce the recruitment & hire of new Head Coach, Alex Henderson. Alex Henderson is leaving his home state of Virginia for an Assistant Coaching position with the Duke Swim Team. He will be Co-Head Coach of CKS with Sarah Chaires while providing great coaching to Duke’s Division I swimmers.

Coach Alex recently graduated from The College of William and Mary where he was a contributing member to the Men’s CAA Swimming and Diving Championships and their three consecutive CAA Championships (15’,16’,17’). During his sophomore, junior, and senior year, Alex was selected for the CAA Swimming and Diving All-Conference Team. Also during his time at William & Mary, he qualified for and competed in both the 2016 and the 2017 USA Swimming AT&T Winter Nationals where he placed 12th in the 200-yard backstroke. Following his breakout sophomore year, he was awarded Tribe Swimming’s Most Improved Athlete for dropping twenty-three seconds in his 500-yard free, one second in his 200-yard free, and two seconds in his 200-yard backstroke. This past spring he qualified for the U.S. OPEN in the 200-yard back at his final collegiate swim meet with the Tribe, posting a time of 1:45.75. That time ranks him 3rd ALL-TIME for the Tribe, alongside his 4th place ranking in the 100-yard back, 48.87, 5th place ranking in the 500-yard free, 4:27.25, and 8th place ranking in the 200-yard free, 1:38.79. Alex was also a part of the record holding 800-yard freestyle relay set during his junior year. Alex was able to perform at a high level in short course yards as well as long course meters where he holds the Tribe’s school record in the 400-meter free with a time of 4:04.49. He ranks 2nd ALL-TIME with the Tribe in the 200-meter free, 1:53.56, and the 200-meter back, 2:05.44.

Coach Alex is originally from the small city of Hopewell, Virginia, located in south central Virginia. He began his competitive swimming career when he was eight years old for his local summer swim team, Wood-Dale. He didn’t begin year-round, or club swimming, until he was eleven for a club team named VACS, which is now NOVA. During his time with VACS (NOVA), he qualified and swam at Junior Nationals while breaking many team records. He also played baseball, tennis, and wrestled.

Alex earned his first coaching position seven years ago with his hometown summer swim team where he started swimming and hasn't looked back since. He has had the opportunity to coach with three more teams: two summer teams and one club team. During his senior year of college, he helped coach 757Swim, located in Williamsburg, VA, where he coached all ages and traveled with high level athletes to swim meets. He earned his degree in Kinesiology and Health Sciences at the College of William & Mary while maintaining the high demands of being a Division I Collegiate Athlete.

Coach Alex is very excited to join Duke’s Swim Team coaching staff as well as join & help lead the Club Kick Start coaching staff. Coach Alex wants to develop swimmers (age group & collegiate) by sharing his passion & expertise of the sport. He loves working with swimmers to increase motivation and to help them reach their goals not only the water, but also in life. Coach Alex believes his coaching responsibilities are to 1: make the athlete a better swimmer and 2: make the athlete a better person.

Please welcome Coach Alex to CKS!