Competitive Aquatics Director/Head Coach
Chris Karelus began
swimming with FSPY in 1993 as a 13-year-old who had just moved from
Poland for his father’s job. He also swam with the
Highland Swim Club in Scotch Plains, NJ during the
summer. Chris continued his swim career at the University of
Delaware. During breaks from college at the University of
Delaware, he worked at FSPY as a part time coach as well as
coaching at Highland during the summers. He became the head
coach of FSPY in 2010 and has consistently promoted a sense
of family and teamwork.
Coach Karelus has always
he has 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
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. Allie has gained a love for traveling and is currently
planning her next big adventure!
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
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
Lauren M Sharkey
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
Naomi B McPeters
Naomi became a 12U coach
for FSPY in Fall 2017, in addition to working on a public
television documentary series. She missed working directly with
kids, and coaching swimming, which is one thing which brought her
back to took me back into a sport that she had forgotten that she
Growing up, Naomi swam
for the Albany (NY) Starfish, then turned her attention to rowing
and softball, leaving behind competitive aquatics and restricting
my involvement in swimming to lifeguarding and teaching
lessons. While a 10U swimmer on the Starfish, Naomi had an
amazing coach who made every swimmer feel special and capable
– this inspires her every time she I'm on the pool deck, and
driving her to help FSPY swimmers see those qualities within
Becoming a coach at FSPY
also brough Naomi to the triathlon club, and brough her back in to
the pool after years away from the sport. Naomi now competes in
triathlon, which keeps her pretty busy swimming, biking, and
running. These activities help keep Coach Naomi in touch with
the physical and mental challenges young athletes are facing in the
pool every day, and gives her the tools to help kids overcome
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.
Alma B Lopez-Holder
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.”