Coaches & Directors


We are here to support your needs. If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact one of the coaches. For all questions related to administrative, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please contact one of the board members.

Nothing has a greater influence on the quality of children's sports than the excellence of the coach. The Stingrays Swim Club staff consists of experienced, professionally trained coaches, certified in the U.S. Swimming programs, possessing training and experience in the physiology and psychology of adolescent development. Our coaching staff provides the assurances that the time your children spend in swimmin will be quality time.  

Coaches Responsibility

The head coach's job is to supervise the entire competitive swim program. The Stingrays Swim Club coaching staff is dedicated to providing a program for youngsters that will enable them to learn the value of striving to improve oneself - "to be the best swimmer you can be." Therefore, the coaches must be in total control in matters affecting training and competition.

  • The coaches are responsible for placing youngsters in practice groups. This is based on the age an ability level of each individual. When it is in th best interest of a swimmer, he/she will be placed in a more challenging training group, but this is the sole decision of the coaches.
  • Sole responsibility for stroke instruction and the training regiment rests with the Stingrays staff. Each group's practices are based on sound scientific principles and are geared to the specific goals of that group.
  • The coaching staff will make the final decision concerning which meets Stingrays swimmers may attend.
  • At meets, the coaching staff will conduct and supervise warm-up procedures for the team. (A parent should NEVER be on deck at meets instructing their child.) After each race, the coachs will offer constructive criticism regarding the swimmers performance. It is up to the parent to offer love understanding and support regardless of their child's performance. Remember, our kids go out there and swim their hearts out. They need encouragement and support especially when the difference between an improvement in time can be as small as a tenth of a second.
  • The building of a relay team is the sole responsibility of the coaching staff. It is their decision who will swim.
  • The coaching staff is constantly updating and improving the Stingrays Swim Club program. It is the swimmers and parents' responsibility to make the mostout of the excellent opportunity this program provides for success in swimming.   
Coaching Staff

David Jeffrey Finger

Head Coach


Hello, my name is David Finger, I am 52 years old, single and own my own home in Akron, N.Y.  I graduated from Akron High School, recieved an A.O.S. from Bryant and Stratton Institute, and a B.S in Elementary Education from Buffalo State College.I am in my 28th year of coaching, beginning as an assitant with Akron Central School, 17 years as the head coach of the Clarence Swim Club and 11 years with the Stingray Swim Club.I have coached all levels, from learn to swim through college scholarship level swimmers. A highlight for me was watching a swimmer I coached during his formative years (10 - 12) compete at the 2004 Olympics. He was 4th in the 100 Breaststroke and won a gold medal as one of the preliminary swimmers in the 400 Medley Relay. On the local and Zone level, I have had numerous Niagara District Champions, and have qualified dozens of swimmers for the Zone meet.

I have personally been selected as a zone coach on 13 occasions. This past season I helped one of my swimmers qualify for the Short Course Eastern Zone Championships.

I have served in various positions on the Niagara District Executive board, serving as Age-Group chair, Coach's represetative and Technical Planning Chair.I have developed calendars and designed meet formats currently being run in the district and served in the position of meet director for the most recent Long Course J.O.'s.

I truly have a passion for the sport of swimming and am committed to my swimmers. I have formed a strong bond with my swimmers and truly care about them as individuals as well as athletes.I demand respect and show respect and compassion to them and teach that hard work is a key to success. Determination, staying on task, and physical fitness are benefits that they will learn through swimming and are great life skills also. Swimmers are statisically the best students because they learn time management, and because consistency and attendence at practice is critical.

I have formed some lifelong friendships through swimming and hope to form many more in the future. Enroll your child in the greatest sport of all, it's good clean fun! Join the STINGRAYS!

A motto I try to live by is " A swimmer doesn't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. And I truly care about your athlete!


Veronica M Knittel

Coach - Barrcudas


Hello, my name is Veronica Knittel. I have been a swimmer since the age of 7. At Lancaster High School I dedicated most of my time to the Women’s Varsity Swim Team. A recent graduate of Niagara University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Luxury Hotel Operations, I am currently the membership coordinator at the YMCA.  In addition to swimming for Lancaster, I swam many years with the Stingrays Swim Club. Unfortunately I had to take a few years off due to shoulder surgeries which as set me back as a swimmer but formed me into a coach. My philosophy is that if I cannot perform the sport I love I will assist others to become stronger swimmers and prevent them from injuries. I was previously an assistant coach with the Stingrays Swim Club for two years and am currently one of the head coaches. I will teach my swimmers that progression comes with respect, dedication, time, patience, knowledge, and strength. I strive to push my swimmers to become the best athletes they can be both in and out of the pool.

Colleen Wilkie

Coach - Marlins


Gracie A Crittenden

Coach - Guppies