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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 one of the board members.

Coaching Staff

Benson Spurling

Head Coach Senior/National Group


Benson Spurling

Head Coach & Senior/National Group

Email     [email protected]

Benson is currently in his 27thseason with Cincinnati Aquatic Club. In addition to his administrative duties, overseeing the entire coaching staff and training regimen, he is also responsible for developing and leading our Senior and National groups swimmers training.

A native of Tennessee, Benson started his swimming career at the Knoxville West Side YMCA. During his high school career, he qualified for Y Nationals and gained All-American honors his senior year, placing third in the State Championships in the 100 yd. Backstroke. He then swam for four years while earning a Bachelor of Business Administration at Eastern Kentucky University.

Benson began his coaching career in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1980 at the summer club level.  He found a passion in developing young swimmers of all ages.  He move to Cincinnati with his wife and he founded the Clermont County YMCA Clippers swim team in 1985. He developed the Clippers quickly while having the team finish 6th at the LC YMCA National.  While coaching there, he earned his Teacher Certification in Physical/Health Education and a Master’s in Education from Xavier University with his thesis on the effects of mental training on athletic performance.

Benson assumed the position of Head Coach of CAC in 1990. Since that time, he has successfully led CAC to be recognized as one of the top competitive swim teams in the Midwest and State of Ohio. He served 18 years as Vice Chair of the Ohio Coaches Association as well as the 9 years Ethics Chair. 

The Seahawk Team has grown from 80 swimmers to over 200 swimmers and has gone from 33rd place at the Age Group 14 & under Junior Olympic to finishing as high as 2nd place several times.  The Seahawk’s 15 and Over swimmers won the USA Ohio Senior State Championships Team Titles in the Men’s, Women’s and Combined Standings in 2014 season.  Having finished runner up in 2013 & 2012.  In addition to these accomplishments the Senior Seahawks Team has consistently finished in the top 10 at the Central Zone Sectional Championships and have had several swimmers compete at the USA Jr. National Championships.

Many of Coach Spurling’s swimmers are swimming and breaking records at the college level. Several Seahawks have competed in 2004, 2008, 2012 & 2016 USA Olympic Trials.  In 2011 the Seahawks were very excited when three of our Seahawks (Nick Thoman, Elliot Keefer & David Plummer) all made the World Team and competed in Shanghai China.  Spurling’s Swimmers have won individual titles at every level including Age Group J.O’S, H.S State, Ohio Seniors, USA Sectional, USA Nationals & Most recently back to back Olympians Nick Thoman & David Plummer represented the USA in the London 2012 & Rio 2016 Olympic Games. David won the Bronze medal in the 100 meter backstroke and a Gold medal in the 400 medley Relay in Rio 2016. David had the 2nd fast 100 time in the world in 2016.   Nick Thoman won a Silver Medal in the 100 meter Backstroke and a Gold Medal in the 400 Medley Relay in London 2012!  Nick also held the World Record in the 100 SC Meter Backstroke and was the American Record holder in the 50 & 100 yard Backstroke events.

Benson and his wife Shelli, have two children who both swam for the Seahawks- Andrew & Lisa who both swam and graduated from Ohio State University.   Lisa just finished coaching with the CAC Senior and National Groups.  She has returned to Ohio State to work on her graduate studies.

To contact Coach Benson you can email [email protected] or call the office at (513) 474-9461.


Kevin S Rachal

Associate Head Coach T1/2 Group


Coach Kevin is now in his 19th year with the CAC Seahawks as the associate Head Coach.  For the 2016-2017 season he will continue his focus on the T2 and T1 training groups.  

Kevin, a native of Centerville, Ohio, started swimming competitively when he was five years old. In 2002, Kevin received outstanding recognition as Ohio’s Age Group Coach of the Year.

Coach Kevin has successfully coached in every level of the CAC program!  He has coach two Olympic medalist (Nick Thoman & David Plummer), multiple top 16 swimmers & state champions! Kevin works to inspire athletes to be their best while working within the "TEAM FIRST" philosophy! 

A graduate of UC, with a degree in Information Systems – Marketing – Management, he has returned to swimming with the Ohio Masters Program. Away form the pool, Kevin likes to participate in all types of sporting activities.  Kevin and his wife Cristi have two sons, Jackson (12) & Thomson (8) who both compete for the Seahawks!!!  Contact Coach Kevin at [email protected]

Ken Dunlap

Assistant Coach – A3 Group


The 2010-2011 season will be Ken’s 8th year with CAC. He was named Ohio Swimming’s Age Group Coach of the Year in July 2006. Ken will be primarily responsible for the A3 training group.
Ken’s swimming career includes 10 years with Foxcatcher Swim Club and 4 years with Germantown Academy which are coached by Dick Shoulberg. After gaining All- American honors, Ken then swam 4 years for the University of Virginia where he earned his Masters in Teaching. In 1992 Ken was ranked 23rd in the World Rankings in the 200 Meter Butterfly and finish 2nd at the US Nationals. He was an Olympic Trials Qualifier in both the 200 Meter Butterfly and the 400 Meter Freestyle.

Ken’s coaching/teaching experience includes 5 years as the Head Coach of the Mariemont Aquatic Club, 5 years as the Head Coach of the Turpin Hills Swim Club and 4 years as the Head Coach of the Mariemont Junior High School . Ken teaches Math in the Indian Hill School System. Ken and wife Amy have two daughters, Kiley and Mackenzie.  Contact Coach Ken at [email protected]

Ben Clark



Coach Ben was a Seahawk swimmer for 10 years and has been coaching with the CAC program since 2004. That's almost a quarter-century of red and black pride! Ben was a Junior Olympic-level swimmer as an age-grouper, and finalist in multiple events at Ohio Senior Championships during his high school career. At 14, he was a member of the 1994 CNCA National Championship team. 

He has coached at every level in the CAC program and is entering his 5th year leading the A3 training group. Coach Ben enjoys coming up with new and creative ways of teaching technique, skills, and habits. He challenges and motivates all A3 swimmers in different ways to reach their potential as they build a strong foundation for a long swimming career. Coach Ben is passionate about developing young swimmers into great people, and enjoys watching our athletes succeed at each stage of the program.
Clark has coached dozens of swimmers to their first Junior Olympic or Zone qualifying times, and the A3 group has continued to be a key component to CAC Age Group Championship teams under his leadership. His groups have produced several Ohio JO top-8 finishers, as well as relay depth in the 10 & under age groups.  The success of the group over the last year led to Coach Ben being nominated for the Ohio Age Group Coach of the Year award in 2016.
Ben and his wife Megan, also a former Seahawk swimmer, have two children and live in Loveland. Maren will turn 3 this season, Maxwell is 9 months, and both keep Coach Ben busy outside the pool. In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Clark enjoys creating CAC team apparel, current events, and is a huge college football fan.
He is a graduate of Saint Xavier High School, Ohio University, and Xavier University.
Contact Coach Ben at [email protected]

Cynthia M Donovan

Transition Assistant Coach


Coach Cynthia started her swimming career with the CAC Seahawks at age 5 and is the definition of a true Seahawk! Cynthia graduated from CAC and continued her swimming career at Miami University where she swam under Mark Davis.  Cynthia had a magnitude of success at Miami included 4 trips to the MAC championship meet. Cythia returned to the pool in the 2015 - 2016 and trained with the transition group!  Cynthia had an tremendous impact on the entire transition group!

Cynthia will take her expertise to the pool deck this season and assist the transition and senior group!  This will be Cynthia's first season coaching but will continue her long history with CAC!  WELCOME CYNTHIA!

Emily A Thomas



This marks Emily's first year with the Hawks program as well as the Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Emily is a former UC Bearcat swimmer where she was a record holder as well as team captain. She was a breastroker and sprint freestyler. She received her college degree in Communications. She was previously a North Canton Hoover Viking, where she gained All-American honors and was state runner-up.
Coach Emily enjoys working with all ages and thrives on challenging yet encouraging the competitive spirit of all of her athletes. 

Emily is the co-owner of Benefit Studio where she is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Her and her husband are both former UC athletes and just had their first child, Ivy Lynn Thomas. Contact Coach Emily at [email protected]

Sara Stacey

Assistant Coach


Sara began swimming at an older age of 13 after trying a variety of other sports. She soon found that it was something she truly enjoyed and started competitively with the Blue Ash YMCA She later went on to swim for St. Ursula’s varsity team until shoulder injuries sidelined her at the beginning of her senior year of high school.

Sara started her coaching career during the summer of 2005 as an Assistant Coach with the Sycamore Flying Fish. She started out coaching during the summers while still attending college at Indiana University. In the fall of 2008 after graduating with a degree in Sports Marketing and Management she began coaching year round with the Fish. During her time with the Flying Fish she has worked with all ages.

Sara currently works full time at Shoptech Software in Sharonville where she markets and sells their shop floor control software. She recently moved into an apartment in Madeira and is excited to join the CAC family and is looking forward to the upcoming season.