Coach Chad's 2015 Swimmers' Goals Sheet
Chad Gusler enters his fifth season as head coach and seventh season overall with the Westover Waves.
Chad and his wife, Cyndi Gusler -- head coach's wife is the First Lady ;-) -- have two children -- son Aaron, a freshman at Eastern Mennonite University; and daughter Lily, a freshman at Harrisonburgh High. Like Chad, Cyndi is also professor at EMU; she is also an accomplished artist. Aaron & Lily have held multiple Westover Waves individual & relay team records.
A native of Goshen, IN, he attended Eastern Mennonite University. Upon graduation, he taught for a year in Costa Rica and then tutored community college students in southeastern Kentucky. He earn a Masters in Fine Arts in fiction writing from Seattle Pacific University. In 1994 he returned to Harrisonburg, where he is an Associate Professor of English at EMU.
- Q: Do you have any fiction published?
- A: Yes, here and there in small journals no>
- Q: Are you really J.K. Rowling in disguise?
- A: Ha ha! You're funny!
Coach Chad swam competitively in high school, then for fun in college. He currently swims with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Masters swim team, along with the Masters group at the Sentara RMH Wellness Center. He is a certified USA swimming coach and, in addition to being head coach for the Waves, is an assistant coach for the Valley Area Swim Team (VAST).
His coaching philosophy is simple: swimmers should work hard and have fun while learning all the ins and outs of swimming, and he hopes to create lifetime swimmers.
- Q: Something crazy/fun about you we do not know already!
- A: Cat videos make me happy.
- Q: Anything else that may make parents like you?
- A: I think kids spend WAY too much time>
- Q: Anything else that may make kids like you?
- A: I can stack twenty or so pennies>
- Q: You strike me as somebody who travels? Where?
- A: I'm actually a homebody. If I weren't married to Cyndi, I'd probably never go anywhere––she pulls me out of my shell, and I'm grateful for that. However,>
- Q: Long-term plans?
- A: At some point I want to sell all my stuff, move to California, and live in a van while traveling up and down Highway>
- Q: Proudest moments? As parent? Coach?
- A: As a parent, I'm really proud of Lily for reading well over ten thousand pages this school year in her English class. I'm also impressed that Aaron has been doing double workouts this past month (lifting/conditioning in the morning, swimming with VAST in the evenings). As a coach, I am always impressed that our kids looked poised and confident. I was also extremely proud of our team taking fourth place at Champs for a second straight year.
Associate Head Coach Diane Haldane begins her 10th & final season coaching the Waves. Many, many Harrisonburg children are the better for it. Plus, she was an English major, so when she instructs swimmers, she does it with good grammar.
A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Coach Diane moved to Harrisonburg in 1979. She also lived in Richmond, New York and Charlotte before returning here in 2006.
“I knew I would be at the pool every day with my young swimmer, so it made sense to participate,” Coach Diane says. “I was a swimmer a long time ago and love teaching and kids."
Coach Diane, along with Coach Kati, also coached a local running program for fifth-grade girls called Go Girl Go. Her coaching philosophy is:
- Have fun!
- Push yourself to do a little more than you think you can.
- Be proud of your accomplishments, even if they seem small.
- What YOU do affects the whole team, even when you think it doesn’t.
- Every kid is special.
Coach Diane embraces being an odd duck, which may be why kids respond so well to her. An avid reader and blogger, she loves to go camping, to hang out with two furry friends, a black shelter dog named Finn & a crazy cat named Rue.
The joy of her life, however, is undoubtedly daughter Ryan Doerr, a recent HHS graduate, long-time outstanding Waves swimmer currently a lifeguard at Westover & heading to UVA this fall. Congrats, Ryan!
Today Coach Diane works helping others with the non-profit Valley Associates for Independent Living (VAIL). She also coaches swimming to area Special Olympians. Eventually she will retire to England, in a cottage by the sea, take long walks with her dog, drink tea, read good books, and write all day long.
Associate Head Coach Kati Derrick, with her ever present smile, returns for her ninth season & final season coaching the Waves.
Born in Arlington, VA, she began swimming with the Waves at age six, and also swam several seasons with the ERRA Barracudas. Coach Kati still loves to swim, and to snow ski, and to read. She used to coach and participate in triathlons, too. She coached “Girls>
“I love swimming,” she says. “I love working with teens – and younger kids, too, but teens are my favorite – so it’s a perfect fit.
“I hope the reason kids like me is I treat them with respect and love. I believe all kids and teens are not just our future, but our NOW, and should be treated accordingly.
“My goal as coach is to build skills for life-long participation in sports. Our kids are kids, not Olympians. If they are not having fun while they are learning to swim, or improving their swimming, then we have a problem.”
You probably see Coach Kati around town. She lives within walking distance to Westover Pool, and she works as Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Coordinator for JMU’s Office, so she’s a regular in both city and county schools.
Coach Kati and her husband Paul Derrick have been married 20 years. Their two children, both attending Harrisonburg High -- daughter Anna, a junior who also attends the Massanutten Regional Governor's School; and Eli, a freshman who is also a nationally competitive snow skier.
We are happy to have Assistant Coach Pat O’Neill, 33, back for his fourth year coaching the Waves.
“I’m back because Coach Chad threatened my dog,” he laughed. “No. No. I’m just kidding!
“I like coaching kids and helping them get better. I help with swimming because I’ve been doing it all my life, and I almost know what I am doing.”
Coach Pat was born and grew up in Warren, PA, where he swam, played football and soccer, and was an Eagle Scout. He holds two degrees from Alfred (NY) University, in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, with a minor in History. Still a soccer fanatic, he attended Japan’s shut-out victory over the United States at 2011 Women’s World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany.
He continued as a diver and a sprints swimmer in college, where he began helping run soccer camps for kids. As a fifth year senior, he coached Alfred’s diving team. He also continues to compete & coach Masters Swimming.
Coach Pat is a Systems Analyst at Serco-NA, a British outsourcing company with an office in Harrisonburg. He lives with his big hound dog, Toon, in New Market. He loves video games of strategy, and board games, mostly fantasy with dragons. He also loves his Cleveland Browns, his Cleveland Cavaliers & his Cleveland Indians! If he could, he would probably marry LeBron James!
Our swimmers love him, particularly boys, because he's funny & cool.
The Westover Waves are privileged to have back Assistant Coach Zsuzsa Fox for her second year. Coach Zsuzsa is from Hungary, where she swam competitively during her childhood. She has been invoved with swimming through Master swimming, officiating, or coaching ever since she was a child. Husband Chris Fox, a Computer Science Professor at JMU, has been a Stroke & Turn Judge for many years. They have two daughters at Harrisonburg High -- Zoey, a graduating senior, and Andi, a rising junior. Both enjoyed contributing to the Waves' success last summer in their first season, and they will be returning this year again. Andi also swims year round with VAST. Coach Zsuzsa and her family love to travel in Europe, and visit their relatives in Hungary.
After a year as a Westover Waves mom, Cara Shrum is an Assistant Coach this summer.
Like Coach Zszuzsa, Coach Cara is an accomplished swimmer. A native of Charlotte, NC, she attended Providence High, where set state records in the 500 free & 100 fly to earn MVP for the State Championships. She wound up at the University of Virginia, where she became the first UVA woman to win an NCAA title in 2000 en route to two NCAA titles, four years an All-America in a total of 11 events, two ACC Swimmer of the Year awards & ACC Championships MVPs. Wow, right!
She and her husband Phil Quagliariello have two children -- daughter Calais, an accomplished Westover Waves swimmer herself, and son Olin -- and another in the oven.
We know she will be a wonderful addition to the coaching staff.
Assistant Coach Deanna Pelkey is new to the Westover Waves, but not the Westover Pool, where she participates in Masters Swimming with Coach Chad & Coach Pat. She also competes in triathlons and is a accomplished 5K runner.
Coach Deanna grew up in Richmond, where she attended Trinity Episcopal School, the city's first International Baccalaureate (IB) school. She then earned a B.S. in Bioengineering: Signals & Systems at the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. She's a outspoken proponent of STEM (Science, Technology, Egineering & Math) for middle & high school students, something Waves families also appreciate. She currently works as a Patent Classifier at Serco-NA, where Coach Pat also works. She plans to begin law school in the fall.
Please welcome Coach Deanna to the Westover Waves swim family.