Founder and Executive Director
Benecki is the founder and
Executive Director of the FISH. He formed the club in 1991 for his
oldest son Steven, when he was 4 years old. Coach Ray works mostly
with the Awesome and Incredible FISH at Spring Hill and the Amazing
and Fantastic FISH at Wakefield. However, don't be too
surprised to see him in the water with the Mini FISH on a Saturday
Coach Ray worked with Kate Ziegler for 9 years in
which she set several world records and qualified to be on the 2008
Olympic Team in Beijing and the 2012 Olympic Team in London. He is
an ASCA Level V Coach and was appointed Assistant Women's Coach for
the USA National Team at the World Championships in March 2007 and
he was also an appointed member of the 2008 Olympic Team coaching
staff in Beijing.
In addition, he served as an assistant open water
coach for the USA National Team at the Pan Pacific Championships in
August 2006. He served as Assistant coach for the Eastern Zone
Regional Distance Camp in 2005, ran the National Distance Camp at
the USOC in 2007, and was appointed by Mark Schubert as Special
Consultant to the Junior National Team in Melbourne
In 2010 Coach
Ray won the Dirks/Gould Award. He was nominated for the Golden Goggles
Award Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2007. Ray has presented
seminars on distance swimming for USA Swimming and the American
Swim Coaches Association in 2005 and 2008. He was a collegiate
swimmer at Cornell (1970-71) and Delaware
Monika A Paris
Managing Team Director
Monika Paris is the Managing Team Director for the FISH; she
ensures that the coaches can focus coaching.
Monika holds a BS degree
in business, with specialization in hospitality, from the
University of Houston. She brings a diverse set of experience and
talents to the management of the FISH: she owned and operated a web
design company in the early days of the Internet and more recently
worked in recruitment and placement for legal professionals.
Besides her business and professional skills, Monika is an
accomplished artist and she loves to run and trek and climb
mountains. Her favorite mountains are the Himalayas. She is living
her dream by completing a Half Marathon in each state of the US and
on each continent.
Coach Matt (703.946.9471) is in charge of the Terrific
FISH, but you will see him working with the other groups as well,
from the Mini's all the way up to the Awesome
Matt has been with the FISH for over 7 years,
coaching both Advanced Age Group and Terrific FISH.
Following both the 2013-2014 and 2016-2017 seasons, Coach Matt was
selected by the American Swimming Coaches Association as a Top 10
Age Group Coach of the Year. Matt has coached athletes to
over 50 USA Swimming Top Ten Rankings, including seven #1
rankings. In 2014, the 10 & Under Boys Relay teams
coached by Matt set National Age Group Records at the NASA Showcase
Classic in Clearwater, FL. In addition, Coach Matt has been
selected as a PVS Zone Coach on multiple
Coach Matt swam collegiately for four years at
American University before joining the FISH coaching staff in
2010. While at American, Matt was captain and MVP of the
men's program during both his Junior and Senior seasons.
Swimming under Coach Mark Liscinsky, he focused most of his
training around the sprints, setting the AU school record in the 50
Freestyle and 100 Backstroke, while earning an NCAA "B" qualifying
time in the latter event. In addition, Matt has AU Top Ten
Times in the 100 Freestyle, 100 Butterfly, and 200
Nicole Elizabeth Harmon
Coach - Advanced Age Group and Wakefield
Nicole Harmon (703.946.8615) is the Head Age
Group Coach of the FISH, and primarily coaches the Advanced Age
Group program. During her time with the FISH, Nicole has had the
opportunity to attend various meets including Olympic Trials,
Senior Nationals, Sectionals, Zones, and the NASA Showcase Classic.
In 2016, she was a presenter for the ASCA World Clinic, where she
gave two presentations. That year she was also a top 10 finalist
for the Fitter and Faster Age Group Coach of the Year. Her favorite
thing about coaching is being able to help all levels of swimmers
achieve goals higher than they thought possible.
Nicole grew up in
Maine and has been swimming year round since she was 7 years old.
She spent her age-group swimming days swimming for her club
team Coastal Maine Aquatics (CMA). She moved
down to Virginia to attend George Mason University, where she
graduated in May 2012 with a degree in Health, Recreation and
Tourism with a concentration in Exercise Science. In her final
semester at Mason, Coach Nicole was an intern with the Strength and
Conditioning staff for the intercollegiate athletics, where she
learned an incredible amount of information regarding strength
training. While Coach Nicole attended Mason she was a member of the
varsity swim team for all four years. She specialized in sprint
backstroke and butterfly, and was able to achieve her Nationals cut
in the 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle, and 100
Ryan P Westhafer
Head Site Coach - Audrey Moore
Coach Ryan (703.946.3424) will be entering his fourth season
with FISH and is the primary coach for Audrey Moore Age Group. You
can find Coach Ryan working with all of the groups at both Audrey
Moore and Spring Hill.
Coach Ryan swam all
four years in high school where he represented Bayard Rustin High
School at the PA State Meet in the 100 Breaststroke Final for 3
years. Ryan completed collegiately at Towson University under Coach
Pat Mead before joining FISH in 2013. Although he focused mostly on
distance training, Ryan holds Top 10 Times in both the 100 and 200
Ryan began coaching
in high school where he was an assistant coach for his local summer
league team, West Chester Golf & Country Club, just
outside of Philadelphia. During his fifth-year Ryan was a student
assistant for Towson University where he helped the Women’s
Team earn their sixth conference title in seven
Callan T Heidkamp
Coach - Incredible FISH Prep
Callan Heidkamp (703.946.6167) grew up in St. Charles,
Illinois. He started swimming competitively at age 7 with the St.
Charles Swim Team and continued swimming until age 18. Coach Callan
was a four-year varsity swimmer while at St. Charles East High
School and was honored as an All-American during his tenure. He
attributes his father, former Coach Thomas Heidkamp,
as his inspiration for coaching.
started his coaching career in 2007. During the past 11 years,
he has guided many swimmers to develop the skills, technique and
training needed to produce champions, finalists or qualifiers at
Age Group Regionals and States, High School
State, Junior/Senior Championships, Speedo
Sectionals, Junior Nationals, Senior Nationals, Olympic
Trials, and Olympic Games.
is celebrating three years since he joined The Fish
Callan’s favorite food is sushi and spends his hours away
from the pool cheering on his favorite soccer or (football) team,
the Tottenham Hotspur. Callan has great enthusiasm and dedication
to the sport of swimming that radiates to the kids whom he coaches.
Swim Fast FISH!!!
Ruth H Logan
Coach - Mini FISH
Coach Ruth is in her first year with
the FISH. She grew up in Clinton, Connecticut, where she
swam for the Valley Shore YMCA from the ages of 11 to 18. For
all four years she swam for the Morgan School under the Team of
One, practicing with the Haddam-Killingworth High School girls swim
team. During this time she attended many Regionals, States,
and New England meets. Ruth attended Bryn Mawr College, where
she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African
Studies in 2014. She also swam Division III for four years
and was a co-captain the final year. Her favorite events
are the 1650 free, 500 free, and 400 IM!
Ruth has been teaching swimming for the past six
years at various YMCAs. She has taught and coached
all age groups, primarily swimmers three to seven years old.
In early 2015 she moved to Washington, D.C. from New England,
and has enjoyed the DMV area. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys
swimming, running, hiking, trying new foods, and traveling.
Ruth is excited to be working for The FISH and
building her coaching career!
Jeanne Diana Fye
Age Group Coach - Spring Hill
Over the past 40 years,
Coach Jeanne Fye has maintained her love of swimming by
participating as either an athlete, coach, official or parent of
swimmers. Coach Jeanne began swimming competatively at age 7
in the NVSL with the Walden Glen Wahoos. She went on to swim
high school with West Springfield and competed collegiately for
Penn State. During her swimming career, Coach Jeanne was
named to the NAG top 16 three times, was a Junior National
finalist, a Senior National qualifier and was named to the 1986
collegiate All-America Honorable Mention
Coach Jeanne began
coaching in the NVSL as an assistant with Walden Glen and then
moved to head coaching the Cottontail Cobias and the Village West
Vikings. After college, Jeanne coached age group swimmers for
Solotar Swim Team. Jeanne has also coached for the Ashburn
Village Swim Team, the Mavericks Swim Team in Illinois and the
Albany Area YMCA in Georgia. During the past two summers,
Jeanne was the head coach for the Belmont Sharks in the
Coach Jeanne is the
mother of FISH swimmer Reese. Her daughter, Nicole recently
graduated from the FISH program and is swimming for Ohio
Art Vera started his
competitive swimming career at 8 years old swimming for teams in
the Colonial League, NVSL, and USA/Potomac Valley Swimming.
Along with honing a competitive spirit, making lifelong friends,
and instilling discipline, swimming gave him the opportunity to
travel all over the Nation. He competed at meets as far
north as Buffalo, New York to as far west as Santa Cruz, California
and the sense of adventure has stuck with him.
Art began coaching
at 17 for the Belle Haven Country Club. From there, he went
on to receive the American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor
certificate to teach swimming on an individual level at pools for
Fairfax County RECenters and currently for the past 4 years at the
McLean Racquet & Health Club.
Even with his time
as a competitive swimmer long behind him, swimming will always be
essential in Art's life. Swimming is still teaching him new
skills and taking him new places. At college in California,
he learned to surf, and has since surfed the coasts of several
states and some countries including Mexico, Uruguay, and
Japan. This past year, he lived abroad in Japan teaching
English and American culture, and was fortunate enough to teach
swimming as part of the Physical Education
Art will be working with the
Mini FISH at Spring Hill RECenter.
Coach Jo Podlasek joins us as a Mini
December birthday, Jo spent her first summer in the water making
her a true 'water baby.' Since then, she has spent all her
summers swimming and has taught private lessons in our area for
almost 10 years.
She grew up in
McLean, attended Bishop Ireton High School and has a Bachelor of
Science degree from James Madison University in Harrisonburg,
Virginia. She is also involved in the community as a
paramedic with the McLean Volunteer Fire
swimming, she enjoys the sport of running. She has run many
races from charity event 5Ks to 50 mile ultra marathons. Jo
comes to us with a great attitude and diligent focus that she has
developed through years of experience as a teacher, paramedic and
Jo has a love of
swimming but even more she is eager to share her sense of mental
strength with our young athletes.
Coach Alex Vaillant is excited to join us as one of the Mini FISH coaches. Prior to joining us at FISH, she was a swimmer for BASS swimming in Virginia, and is a graduate of Virginia Tech. She believes that hard work, dedication, and fun are the keys to success.
Katie L Vintimilla
Hello I am Katie Vintimilla, a junior at South Lakes High School. I have been swimming on FISH for about 10 years now and love swimming more and more with each year. My plans for college are uncertain, however I ideally would like to continue my swimming career throughout college. One of my favorite swimming memories was actually before I was on the FISH, I used to go to the pool everyday with my father when I was 6 years old and Coach Ray would be there as well and as my dad and I continued going to the pool Coach Ray would tell us how great swimming was and eventually told us about the FISH. And I've been on the team ever since! Those encounters with Coach Ray really sparked my love for swimming. I can't wait to share what I've learned over my years on FISH with our young athletes! I hope our young athletes enjoy swimming as much at I do!