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 - 9-10 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 third 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 swim again.
Haylee graduated from the University of Michigan - Flint in 2020 and is currently in the application process for attending law school in the fall of 2022.
Cydney Taylor - 11-12 Lead 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. 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.
Aric Plamondon - 15&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 specialized 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.
Devon Bryant - Assistant Coach
Devon joins us for his second full season coaching with the Falcons after having spent a long time as a Falcon himself, joining the team in 5th grade. Devon specialized in breaststroke and mid distance freestyle during his time on the Y team and as a Grand Blanc swimmer. During his senior year at Grand Blanc HS Devon won the 100 breaststroke at the Saginaw Valley League Championships in a team record setting time. Apart from swimming, Devon also played water polo for Grand Blanc High School.
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! Coach Devon's favorite memory from his time as a swimmer was during his senior year when he got his first individual state cut and an all time PR in the 200 free.
Coach Devon is currently a junior at Oakland University, majoring in Biology with aspirations to become a veterinarian.
Bailey Schultz - Assistant Coach
This is Coach Bailey's first year on Falcons staff where she will be primarily working with the 11-12 age group. Bailey began swimming at the age of 4, and started competitively swimming at 11. She has swam for Grand Blanc’s middle school and high school teams and started teaching swim lessons when she was 14 at Grand Blanc Parks and Rec. Bailey now both teaches swim lessons and coaches at Genesys Health Club where she has been since 2018.
Bailey is currently a junior at University of Michigan studying molecular biology. She is very excited to start this season with the Falcons and get to know the swimmers.
Abbie Walker-Hackett - Assistant Coach
Lauren Gruber - Assistant Coach
Coach Lauren is joing us for her first year on staff and will be working with the 8 and Unders! Lauren began swimming when she was 10 years old for Spring Meadows Country Club and soon after joined the Fenton Tiger Sharks. In Middle school she swam with the Flint Falcons and for Fenton’s Middle School team. She raced on the Fenton Girls Varsity Swim Team all four years of high school.
After having two shoulder surgeries in high school she decided it was time to be done swimming and to follow her love for swimming as a coach instead. As a swimmer, Lauren’s specialty was breaststroke and sprint freestyle. She loves to work with younger kids and is excited to watch and help them grow as swimmers this year.
Lauren graduated in December 2020 from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations and is the Marketing Manager at Crust - a baking company in Fenton.
Coach Haylee, Coach Jim and Coach Cydney
Falcons Coaching Staff