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Coaching Leadership



The Gator Coaching staff has the direct responsibility to teach not only swim techniques, but also the value of hard work and goal setting, as well as the ideals of honesty, integrity, fair play, organization and true sportsmanship.



Head Coach:






The overall Program direction for all locations and groups are under the direction of Head Coach, Doug Fonder, whose credentials include:


-       International Trip List Coach

-       National YMCA Coach of the Year

-       Coaching of Olympians, numerous Olympic Trial Qualifiers, World Ranked Swimmers, Senior National Finalists, Olympic Sports Festival Winners, Junior National and YMCA National Champions and countless nationally ranked age group swimmers








Kathy Fonder, as Co-Head Gator Age Group Coach, is responsible for helping with the overall direction of the Gator Age Group Program. Over her 15 years of coaching experience, Kathy has been accredited with developing numerous National Top 10 Age Group swimmers.


Besides working with the overall direction of the Age Group Program, she is responsible for a portion of our elite Gold Group. Swimmers in this group are preparing to become future senior swimmers. The improvement of a child's self image through emphasis on sportsmanship, strength training, nutritional values, continuation of endurance training, goal setting and required practice attendance are major priorities within this group.






Brett Fonder is an established coach with the Virginia Gators.  Brett has had an illustrious career as a Gator, himself.  He swam 12 years for the program, set numerous team and state records and was a member of Y National Championship Relays. 


Along with his Gator swimming, Brett was Captain of Cave Spring High School’s swim team, which won back-to-back state AAA championships - the only time a team, other than Northern Virginia has ever won a state title.  After his High School graduation, Brett was awarded a swimming scholarship and attended West Virginia University. 


Brett’s experience of over 20 years connected to the RVAA summer program should pay dividends to the Gator program. 










Coach Salvatore Russo has fifteen years of competitive swimming experience and four years coaching experience, the past two years with the Gator swimming program.  He has been involved with the Hunting Hills Country Club as an assistant then head swim coach for three seasons.  He had an impressive swimming career as well, including High School state runner-up his Junior and Senior years in the 100 yard butterfly, while attending Roanoke Catholic.

He swam in college for Mars Hill University where held multiple individual team records and was part of three record setting relays. He was named Appalachian Swimmer of the week two times as a freshman, finishing in the top three in both the 100 Butterfly and 200 Backstroke his freshman and sophomore seasons.



All of our coaches, as members of the International Swim Coaches Association, have access to the most comprehensive training and certification program for youth coaches of any sport in the United States. They provide assurances that the time children spend in swimming will be quality time.