Jim LaFave - Head Coach
Jim joined the program after spending two years as an assistant coach for the DePauw University Women’s Swim Team, from 2016-2018. There, Jim primarily worked with a sprint group that earned all conference honors in the 200 freestyle relay and finished Top 30 in the nation. For the past two summers, Jim has worked as the head coach for Pine Lake Country Club where he has led the team to three undefeated dual meet seasons and a finals championship victory in 2018.
Prior to DePauw, Jim worked as assistant coach for the 2016 Seaholm High School Boy's Swim Team where he helped the team to a 3rd place finish at the MHSAA State Championship Meet. This team included 4 All American performers. Jim’s career as a swim coach started in 2012 as an assistant coach for the Forest Hills Swim Club WaterHogs.
As a swimmer Jim competed for the Birmingham Blue Dolphins, Seaholm High School and Grand Valley State University. His best events were the 100&200 Backstroke and the 100 Butterfly. Jim was a member of BBD's YMCA National Team, as well as a 2-time BBD team record holder. In high school he earned multiple All State Awards and was a part of the 2011 State Champion Seaholm Maples. Jim went on to make the All Time Top 10 List in the 200 backstroke for Grand Valley State University where he also earned his BS in Exercise Science in 2015.
Jim is from Troy, Michigan and is currently a resident of Grand Blanc
Haylee Skank - Blue Group Lead Coach
Haylee began swimming at the age of 9 for the Fenton Tiger Sharks. Her career also included time on the A.G.S middle school team and four years on the Fenton High School team. She is a returning coach to the Flint Falcons swim team for her second full season with us. As a swimmer Haylee's specialty was distance freestyle. And despite that she is surprisingly normal.
When asked why she coaches she replied saying "I coach because I remember the support and life lessons my coaches gave to me. I am a stronger person today due to tough practices and tests on my mental and physical capabilities that my coaches pushed me through. Swimming changed my life and I hope to impact these kids the same way."
Haylee's favorite memory as a swimmer comes from her last meet as a high school senior. After two years of recovering from shoulder surgery, in the finals of the 200freestyle, she equaled her pre surgery best time - a time that at one point she thought she might never go again.
Haylee is currently a senior History major at UofM Flint and upon graduation in December will be working toward her teaching certificate to become a history teacher. She currently works closely with the 9-12 age group
Aric Plamondon - 13&Up Lead Coach
As one of the Flint YMCA's most accomplished swimmers ever, Aric joins our staff with many years of experience and a high level of expertise. Before jumping in with our senior group in early 2019, Aric had spent time as an assistant coach at Powers Catholic High School and Swartz Creek High School. In 2020 Aric led a group of Swartz Creek sprinters to their first Division 1 state meet appearance in decades!
As a swimmer, Aric speacialized in Butterfly and mid distance freestyle, making multiple YMCA Nationals Top 8 finishes including a 3rd place finish in the 200butterfly in 2016. Aric currently holds 8 Falcons team records across various age groups.
Sam Gross - Assistant Coach
Sam started competitive swim when he was 11 years old at Flint Swim and Racquet Club. He has since gone on to swim for the Flint Falcons and the Powers Chargers High School team, as a captain.
Sam has been coaching swim for 4 years and for the last 3 as the head coach at FSRC. As a swimmer his events were primarily the sprint freestyle events as well as 100 Fly, 100 Breast, and IM. Between the Falcons and his Powers HS team, he has competed in multiple state championship meets.
A product of the Falcons Program, Sam is excited to be back and to help the team achieve the success and experiences that he had as a swimmer here.
“The value in coaching for me is knowing that I can share the experiences that helped shape me as an athlete, and as a person, with others. My swimming career has had a tremendous impact on my life and I hope to be able to pass that on to the next generation of athletes.”
Sam is from Flint and is currently enrolled at Michigan State University. He is a Kinesiology major, and is working towards a career as a strength and conditioning coach
Devon Bryant - Assistant Coach
Devon joins us after having spent a long time as a swimmer with the Falcons. Devon specialized in breaststroke and mid distance freestyle. During his senior year at Grand Blanc HS Devon won the 100breaststroke at the Saginaw Valley League Championships in a team record setting time.
As a coach Devon is motivated by helping every swimmer improve and reach their goals. Devon feels that age group swimming is an important time for growth and development. His message to swimmers is to listen to coaches and always remember to have fun!
Cydney Taylor - Assistant Coach
Having already worked at the Flint YMCA for several years, Cydney comes to the program with a strong understanding of the YMCA community and its values. She is currently the aquatics coordinator at the Pierson Road YMCA Branch. Cydney has extensive experience teaching one on one and group swim lessons that are geared towards technical improvements in all four competitive strokes.
Cydney comes to us after having been the one of the lead assistant coaches for the 2018 Interclub Champions, Genesys Athletic Club. There, she worked with all age groups overseeing their conditioning and technical development on a daily basis.
When asked why Cydney chooses to work at the Y she said "It is the children that help me strive to be a better leader in all aspects. That, and the chance for personal growth within my community". We are excited to have Cydney on board. She will be working closely with all age groups.
Cydney is from Detroit, Michigan and is currently a resident of Flint.
Chase comes to us after having been a Falcon swimmer himself. Chase competed mainly as a freestyler for the Falcons and also spent time as a distance freestyle specialist for Powers High School. He graduated Powers in 2014 and was hired as assistant girls swim coach in the Fall of that year.
Chase spent 3 years as assistant coach of the Powers girls and boys high school teams before taking over the head coach role in 2017. Chase has coached multiple state qualifying teams during his time at Powers and has helped develop a number of swimmers into collegiate talent.
Chase's Pro Tip for our swimmers: "With the mindset and proper motivation, you can accomplish all your goals in the pool. Your mentality will define your training and competitions so do not neglect the mental training"
Chase is from Grand Blanc, MI and is currently enrolled at UofM - Flint for Business Management.