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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 the head coach.

Coaching Staff

Chris Karelus

Competitive Aquatics Director/Head Coach

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Chris Karelus began swimming with FSPY in 1993 as a 13-year-old who had just moved from Poland with his family because of his father’s job. Chris continued his swim career at the University of Delaware.  During breaks from college, he worked at FSPY as a part time coach. He became the head coach of FSPY in 2010 and has consistently promoted a sense of family and teamwork.
Coach Karelus has always maintained a “Team First” mantra. When he won the 2016 Nationals Coach of the Meet Award at Long Course YMCA Nationals, he was quick to share the recognition with his swimmers and fellow coaches. “It is not an individual award,” reflected Chris. To him, it recognized the collective effort and spirit of the entire Y community, which he strives to instill in his fellow coaches and swimmers.

Gillian Hauptman

Assistant Head Coach

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Gillian began her swimming career at the Central Queens YMCA in New York—in a 20-yard, four-lane pool with a lion’s head fountain in the shallow end. After graduating from Columbia University, she worked in publishing for several years in the editorial departments of Vanity Fair and GQ magazines. In 1992, she began working at the Fanwood Scotch Plains YMCA in the Aquatics department as a swim lesson instructor and lifeguard. Her children (Ryan, David and Lindsay) were all swimmers on the FSPY team, and their great experiences as part of FSPY made her excited to join the coaching staff in 2003.

In working with FSPY’s youngest swimmers, it isGillian's goal to both instruct and challenge, while keeping the practice atmosphere relaxed and supportive. She believes strongly in the Y core values of respect, responsibility, honesty and caring, and strives to reinforce them to all her practice groups. She knows from experience that the support and friendship that come with being part of the FSPY family can be very valuable on many different levels to every swimmer and parent on the team.

Gillian speaks French, has traveled to South Africa many times, and can say “give me a sandwich please” in Afrikaans. Her favorite activity is snorkeling (even though she has been stung by fire coral and chased by a barracuda), and she loves finding places where you cannot hear any man-made sounds. She is very grateful to be married to a wonderful manwho totally supports her career as a coach!

Allison Hessemer

Assistant Coach

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Swimming has been a big part of Allie’s life since she was very young. Her swim team career began at the Highland Swim Club when she was 6 years old, and she swam there every summer for 13 years. At 10, she joined the FSPY swim team and began swimming year-round. She swam with FSPY throughout high school and was also a member of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School team for 4 years. After graduating high school, she attended Susquehanna University and was a member of the Crusaders’ varsity swim team.

When she was 17, Allie began her coaching career at Highland Swim Club where she was an assistant coach for 5 years. After graduating college, she joined the coaching staff at FSPY. The coaches and teammates that Allie has worked with throughout her life have made a huge impact on her life, and, as a coach for the team she once swam for,  she hopes to do the same, as she shares the passion she has for swimming with the FSPY family.

Allie has also been teaching Pre-K in North Plainfield since 2006 and recently completed graduate school earning her Masters’ Degree in Special Education. When she is not teaching or coaching, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. After spending a month in Australia last summer visiting family, she gained a love for traveling and she is currently planning her next big adventure!

Linda Mcdonough

Assistant Coach

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Linda joined FSPY as a swimmer when she was 8, swimming there until she was 13 when she became part of the Scotch Plains Fanwood High School swim team. She joined the coaching staff in 2009, working with the senior swimmers on dry-land and strength training. Now she is involved with in-water training as well as general fitness training.  Her aim as a coach is to encourage swimmers to love the sport, and to assist them in developing and achieving their own personal goals. In addition to coaching, Linda is also a swim instructor, group fitness instructor and personal trainer at FSPY, enjoying both the physical and mental aspects of training. She likes music, games, robots and ice cream, and her favorite animal is the octopus.

 

 

Aaron Moore

Assistant Coach

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Aaron was born and raised in Washington, DC. He began his swimming career as a member of the DC Department of Recreation Summer League Swim Program at the age of 9, although he actually learned to swim at the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain at Union Station, which was often used as a cooling off spot for DC youth in the early 1970’s.  He attended DC Public schools and was a member of the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) at the University of the District of Columbia during the summers. This is where he learned competitive swim techniques and met his high-school swim coach and life-long mentor, Coach Stanley M. Gainor. Under Coach Gainor’s guidance, Aaron became a standout member of the Cardozo Senior High School swim team whose motto was “Books and Chlorine,” reflecting the program’s mission to provide access to advanced education through competitive swimming.

Aaron attended Penn State for one year, after which he transferred to The Tennessee State University where he became a member of the TSU “Tiger Sharks” Swim Team, was voted team captain twice and was the athlete with the highest grade-point average in all sports for two years. He began his career as a Software Engineer with Bell Communications Research in 1990, and has continued to work in the telecommunications industry for more than 21 years.

Since graduating college, Aaron has continued to be involved with competitive swimming. He has been a member of the NJ State Master’s Swim Program as both a swimmer and a coach since 1992; he has coached at several competitive swim camps including Mary T. Meagher’s Swim Camp and the “Arete” Swim Camp at Rutgers University. In 2000, he began working at the Fanwood Scotch-Plains YMCA as an Assistant Age-Group Swim Coach. Aaron believes that the YMCA Core Values, his passion for the sport of swimming, and his love for enhancing the lives of young people through competitive swimming serve as his motivation as a swim coach. His personal mission is “2 Encourage, 2 Enlighten, and 2 Inspire”. In 2006, the “Aaron T. Moore Leadership Award” was named in honor of his contributions to the FSPY Swim Program. This award is presented annually to the FSPY Swim Team member who demonstrates the highest qualities of leadership throughout the year. Aaron credits this honorary distinction to the influence of his high school swim coach and mentor, Stanley Gainor, a man whose impact has forever changed his life for the better.

Aaron lives in Plainfield, NJ. He is married and has 4 children. He enjoys biking, art, music, travelling, sports, philosophy, being active, and good sci-fi. His favorite activity is swimming.

 

 

Sara Johnston

Assistant Coach

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Sara was a competitive swimmer in high school, and has always kept up with her swimming as fitness. She was a swim Coach at the Scotch Plains JCC for two seasons, 2000/1-2001/2.  She took a hiatus when her 4th boy was born in ’02, then joined the SPF YMCA in ’08 co-teaching Parent/Child and Perch.   Currently Sara still teaches Parent/Child and Perch and Little Fish, adult beginners and Kinderwrap.  As a matter of fact, many of the kids in the 8 and under were in her previous classes (and some of the older swim team members too)!  

Sara also keeps up with the adult swimming community as Editor/Designer of the NJ Masters newsletter The Fastlane and is also a NJ Masters Volunteer Board member.

Sara lives in Fanwood with her husband Charles, her 4 boys (from junior in college to Park Middle) and two dogs. 

Anne Auda

Assistant Coach

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Anne is excited to be a part of the FSPY team once again.  She started her swimming career at FSPY, swimming for the team from the age of 8 years old through high school, competing at YMCA Nationals three years during her FSPY career.  In the summers, Anne swam as a Willow Grove Barracuda and was their head coach for several years.  She continued swimming at Bucknell University, before returning to Scotch Plains after college.  Anne has been able to stay connected with the FSPY swim team over the past 9 years through her youngest son Matthew, who has been a Piranha since 2005. In addition to her coaching role at the Y, she also currently teaches both pre-school and adult swim lessons.

 Anne also works as a kindergarten teacher’s aide and part time bookkeeper.  She is president of the Union County Outdoor Swim League and serves on the Board of Directors for Willow Grove Swim Club and the Wesley Hall School.  Her spare time is spent relaxing on the beach, baking in her kitchen and spending time in her garden.

Shane Tonery

Assistant Coach

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Shane joined FSPY in September, 2016.  He started his swim career at the Metuchen-Edison YMCA (MEY) and later swam for the College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ.  2017 marks Shane’s 4th year as a swim coach.  In addition to coaching FSPY, Shane is also the head swim coach for the middle and high school teams at Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, NJ.

Shane’s interests outside the pool include warm weather, working out and cooking.

Coach Shane says “I coach not only because swimming has been a part of my life since I was 5 years old, but also because I was fortunate to have an amazing coach (Ryan Patterson) growing up and I hope to help my swimmers in and out of the pool like she did for me.”

Kelsey Tonery

Assistant Coach

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Kelsey joined FSPY in September, 2016.  She started her swim career at the Metuchen-Edison YMCA (MEY) and swam there from 5 to 18 years old.  She later swam for Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ.  2017 marks Kelsey’s 5th year as a swim coach, having coached at MEY for 3 years prior to FSPY. 

Kelsey is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in school counseling from Montclair State University and will start practicum at Colonia High School in the Fall 2017.   She is also the head coach for the Metuchen Municipal Pool summer team and substitute teaches in the Metuchen school district.  Outside the pool, Kelsey enjoys running and working out.  She also enjoys going to the beach and spending time with family and friends.

Coach Kelsey says, “Swimming is so challenging, yet so rewarding and I definitely wouldn't be the person I am today without it. I learned so much both in and out of the pool from my coaches and teammates and made memories that will last a lifetime. As a coach, I hope to help swimmers not only learn about the sport but themselves too and to have the same positive experiences I had.”
 

Alma B Lopez-Holder

Assistant Coach

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Alma joined FSPY in September 2017.  She started her swim career on the SwimAtlanta Swim Team in Atlanta, Georgia.  She later received a scholarship to swim at Saint Peter's University in Jersey City, NJ.  After college, she was a swim instructor at SwimAtlanta for about 9 years and also coached at a summer league team back in Georgia called River Oak Rapids for 3 years.  Locally, she coached at Bayonne High School for 1 year.

In addition to coaching for FSPY, during the day Alma is a Spanish teacher in Berkeley Heights.  Outside of swimming, Alma enjoys music, golfing, running and dance. Her hobbies include watching football, reading and writing.

Coach Alma says “I love to see athletes grow as individuals and student-athletes. My motivation comes from the small success I had with the sport, and I hope to somehow reflect that into the generations today, teaching the athletes that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. I want to see athletes be successful and enjoy all the opportunities that are available to them that they may not know about.”

Naomi McPeters

Assistant Coach

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Michael J Spark

Assistant Coach

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