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

David Kuck

Head Coach / JO II Coach


David Kuck, a top level coach of elite and emerging swimmers alike, has been engaged in the development of people as swimmers and individuals for 20+ years.  David took over the Head Coaching role at Canyons in the fall of 2017. 

Kuck (pronounced cook, just like dinner), made the long cross country trek from the east coast where he spent his time immersed in the SwimMAC program.  While there, Kuck was a Senior Coach along with being the Senior Division Lead where the program won back to back Winter Junior Championships along with the 2017 Summer Junior Nationals Championships.  While water performance is the goal, more impressively, the Senior Division at SwimMAC led the country in Scholastic All American recognition with more swimmers qualifying as student athletes than all other teams in the nation.

While at SwimMAC, Kuck was engaged in all aspects of the program.  One highlight and of his time there was working side by side legendary coach David Marsh with his Team Elite squad.  The 2016 Team Elite squad that Kuck worked with placed more members onto the U.S. Olympic team than any other program in the nation and if it were its own country, Team Elite would have placed 3rd in the medal counts in Rio. 

In addition to working with the Elite squad, Kuck was also plugged into the foundations of the program, working with the youngest and most raw age group swimmers, advanced and nationally ranked age group swimmers, all the way up through the seasoned U.S. Masters group.  Working with the Masters may have been the biggest challenge, because working with adults is like working with kids that have better arguments, however, they can also be the most fun because they have more advanced senses of humor.

Prior to joining SwimMAC, Kuck was the Head Coach and director of the swim teams and swim programs for the City of Dublin in central Ohio.  There, he substantially grew the USA Swimming program to state and national accomplishment, along with managing three separate summer league swimming programs. 

Before taking over the programs in Dublin, Kuck was able to work with and coach alongside Jim Peterfish at his home team of Westerville Aquatic Club for approximately 15 years.  He began working there while still in school in the early 90s, teaching and supervising the Swim America learn to swim programs, and continued on seamlessly after graduating college as a full time coach, where he worked with every group on the team.

Kuck swam at The Ohio State University from 1995-1999 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education.  His wife, Heather, also represented Ohio State as both a synchronized swimmer and as a coxswain with the women’s crew team.  They have four children and no pets, a statistic that is a point of discussion often.

Sean Kakumu

COC Site Director / Swim School Director


Coach Sean Kakumu has coached and provided leadership for every significant swimming organization in the City of Santa Clarita over the last decade. In 2012 Sean was brought onboard the Canyons staff by former Head Coach Jeff Conwell. Sean is currently the College of the Canyons (COC) Site Director and Swim School Director. At COC, aside from coaching the Age Group II Performance group, Sean supervises all of the coaches and instructors and ensures that everyone on the staff is giving their very best; infusing his philosophy that swimmers are people first and every one of them has unlimited potential if they work for it. With Sean's efforts, the Swim School program has doubled in membership through a new comprehensive program and the hiring of qualified swim instructors. Before he was instructing age group swimmers, Sean coached the Senior 1 and Varsity groups, where he produced a multitude of Junior Olympic, Senior Development, and numerous Sectional cut swimmers. In 2012, Coach Sean was selected as the 13-14 Girls coach for the Southern California Swimming Pacific Coast All-Star Team in Santa Rosa. Since 2015, Sean has been on the staff for the North American Challenge cup; in 2017 Sean was the 17-18 Girls and Boys Coach in UC San Diego. Sean for the last two year has been the Southern California Swimming Coastal Committee Age Group Chairman, giving age group swimmers a voice in the Coastal Committee. As of 2018, Sean was appointed to Open Water Chair for Southern California Swimming. 

When Sean is not with Canyons Aquatic Club, he holds the position of Adjunct Professor of Kinesiology and leads the successful College of the Canyons Cougar Swim & Dive team as Head Coach. Starting his era in 2012, Coach Sean implemented a modern and unique program never before seen at College of the Canyons, or their competitors, in the team’s four-decade-long history. Over the last six seasons the program has set 43 new school records and claimed 11 individual Western State Conference championships, 14 California Community College Athletic Association State qualifiers, Junior National level swimmers, four medley conference championships, and produced five CCCAA state finalists, six All-American relay teams, six All-American Individuals, one WSC Men’s Swimmer of the Year, one CCCAA Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and one on the 2-year College National Rankings. Climbing the Western State Conference ranks, College of the Canyons Swim & Dive program has achieved unprecedented success in the pool, both in team and individual competition.

Before taking his position with Canyons, Sean served as Pool Manager with the City of Santa Clarita. During his 15 years with the City of Santa Clarita, Sean has overseen and supervised multiple city swim teams, trained and mentored city swim team coaches and meet support staff, initiated the creation of swim meet events for 5-6 year olds, and currently still trains the staff in and helps run swim meet timing equipment and video scoreboard design. Aside from the swim team, Sean oversaw, directed, and influenced thousands of swim lessons at his facilities. Being a natural competitor, he wanted his swim lessons to be the best taught, have the most fun, and be the most professional out of all other city lessons.

Personally, Coach Sean has been waterlogged his whole life. Starting at Canyons Aquatic Club in 1989, Sean swam his way to the Senior group at the age of 12 and worked under former Head Coach Bruce Patmos. During this time he swam for Hart High School as a varsity member for four years, finishing his high school career winning a CIF Championship with his team. In 2002 he went off to swim for Division I University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Sean graduated from Hart High School in 2002 to study Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago, earning multiple Dean’s List awards and leading the student body as President. Graduating in 2006, he went on to the University of Southern California (Fight On!) to earn his Masters in Architecture with a specialty in building systems and materials application.  

In his off time, Sean is an avid reader and writer, designer of everything, furniture maker, traveler, and attends multiple sporting events including USC football.

Mikaela Kristine Smith

COC Program Dir. / Age Group Coach


Kevin Nielsen

Senior II / Senior I


Coach Kevin Nielsen, former Class Aquatics Senior Coach and standout swimmer, has translated his successful National-level in-the pool swimming career over to on-deck coaching duties with immediate results.  In the 4 years he was with Class, he guided age group swimmers to multiple Individual and Relay Junior Olympic Championships, multiple sectional qualifiers, CIF Championship titles, several National qualifiers, and an Olympic Trials qualifier. 

As an age group swimmer, Nielsen had over 25 national age group top 16 rankings, including several no. 1 overall rankings in the United States, and top 100 All-Time rankings. His success continued through high school, as an Oaks Christian Lion, by earning several Junior National Times, and claiming 20 CIF-SS Titles (8 Individual, 8 Relays, and 4 Team) over his 4 years in High School.

After receiving over 16 All-American times in high school, he swam for a powerhouse college swim program at the University of California, Berkeley.  At Cal, Nielsen trained with some of the best swimmers in the World including 3-time Olympic gold medalist, Nathan Adrian, and under future hall of fame coaches, Dave Durden and Greg Meehan.  As a freshman, Nielsen earned NCAA Division 1 "B" Standards in the 100 butterfly, and placed 20th in the 100 Butterfly at the 2009 World Championship Trials (Senior Nationals).  Later in his career, he swam under another world class coach, Dave Salo, at the Trojan swim club before competing at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50 Freestyle, & 100 Butterfly.  He also qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50 Freestyle.

In 2010, heading into his sophomore year at the University of California, at Berkeley, Nielsen decided to switch paths from being a swimmer to begin his coaching career, by joining the Cal coaching staff.  Mentored by Dave Durden, as an under graduate assistant coach, he worked primarily with the butterfly group which included multi-time NCAA D1 National champion, and current American Record Holder Tom Shields (50 scm, 100 scm, & 200scm Butterfly).

From training with over 30 Olympians, and Olympic level coaches, Nielsen has a great grasp for maximizing the potential out of every swimmer by routinely practicing sound fundamentals, and precisely managing the energy of the swimmers over the course of a season.  Having an acute eye for stroke-technique fundamentals, and with his speed and sprint oriented background, has been a huge testimony to his immediate success as a coach.

Coach Kevin was born in Ojai CA, and raised in Camarillo CA.  He also, helps his father manage an online eBay business selling consumer electronic accessories and devices.  Playing basketball and golf are other activities he enjoys outside of the sport of swimming.

Sean Gucciardi

JO III Coach


Erik Johnson

Senior Varsity / AGIII Coach


Brooke Coffey

Age Group II / AG II Performance Coach


Courtney L Skelley

Age Group Coach


Courtney Skelley is Canyons Aquatic Club latest swimmer to come back to the club as a coach in our Age Group program. She is looking to make a positive and fun experience for all of her swimmers with Canyons.

Courtney began her affinity for the water at the age of seven. Courtney started to swim for Canyons at the age of ten, eventually reaching Coach Jay in the Junior Olympic group. Finding success, she found the pinnacle of Canyons swimming with then Head Coach Coley Stickels in the Senior 3 National group.

Graduating Saugus High School in 2016, she continued to swim at Indiana State University, producing results for the school as a finalist in the 100/200 butterfly and 200 freestyle in their Missouri Valley Conference Championship.

Coming back to California in 2017, Courtney will continue her education at College of the Canyons and swimming for the Cougar Swim & Dive Team under Head Coach Sean Kakumu. 

Whitney Cox

Assistant Coach


Mike Bechtholdt



Coach Mike is an ASCA Level 4 coach with an excellent record of advancing swimmers to their next level of competition. Swimmers under Mike's guidance have achieved Junior National, National and Olympic Trial qualifying time standards. Mike has had swimmers go on to become professional athletes, Olympic Team members, and Olympic medalists.
Before coming to Canyons, Mike commuted from the SCV to Pacific Palisades where he coached at Westside Aquatics from March, 2014 to May, 2018.   While at Westside, Mike helped his swimmers reach their goals of competing in college, and Westside swimmers reached the National, Junior National, Futures, and Sectional levels under his guidance.  Before joining Westside Aquatics, Coach Mike served at Canyons for over ten years, working with the senior level swimmers. During that time, he also had a 5-year stint as the Head Coach at Valencia High School, which culminated in the team's 25th (boys) and and 31st (girls) places nationally. Prior to joining Canyons, Mike was the head coach at Riverton High School, where he coached the Riverton Aquatic Team and was selected as the North 4A Coach of the Year. Before coaching, Mike was a collegiate swimmer at the University of Wyoming, and he swam in high school at Cheyenne East.
Mike has also been part of the North American Challenge Cup coaching staff for the 2008 and 2007 seasons as well as Pacific Coast All Star Coaching Staff and Southern California Zone Coaching Staff. He has also been invited to travel as a "host" coach to the Olympic training center with his athletes for both the Diversity Select Camp and the Junior National Select Camp.
Mike's supportive wife is excited that he is working again for Canyons who threw her a great baby shower for their only daughter Francesca, now five.  Francesca is also excited that dad will be closer to home.