The CKS Mako's Swim School coaching team comprises of collegiate and former University of North Carolina collegiate swimmer/coaches.  Each Coach has impressive swimming and academic accolades.  Members of our coaching team have competed at Worlds, National Team Member, Nationals, Collegiate, and Olympic trial sanctioned competitions.  Our coaching staff has collectively over 100 years of competitive swimming and open water experience. 

Head Coach & Founder - Sarah Chaires

Coach Sarah Chaires started competitive swimming at the age of seven in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and advanced to compete at club, regional and national level swimming.  She was a team record holder and one the Ontario's best backstroker at a young age. She swam and rowed for Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  She has won medals/ranked highly at Provincial and National sanctioned sporting events for; competitive swimming, water polo, war canoe, rugby and rowing.  She was captain and led her high school teams for swimming, water polo, cross country, track & field, and rugby every year. She was a certified competitive Swim Coach in Canada and a current USA Swimming age group coach. She is also a level 2 USA Masters Swim Coach.  She was also a physical trainer for collegiate sports teams' for Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her competitive swimming specialties were; freestyle, backstroke and medley, and she competed middle to long distances as well as open water competitions.

The confidence, leadership skills and athletic abilities that she developed through competitive swimming has mirrored into her professional endeavours. Sarah received the renowned award for greatest contribution to student life at Dalhousie University for the Medical School & Allied Health Professions combined.  While obtaining her Masters in Nursing and Nurse Practitioner degrees from University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, she twice was the recipient of the prestigious Jimmy Butts Scholarship. She has been a Nurse Practitioner for ten years, the past 9 years at UNC Hospitals in the Emergency Department. Coach Sarah Chaires is a very proud wife and mother of three boys. 


Former Head Coach Competitive Swim Club - Chip Peterson

2010 graduate of UNC with a BS in Biology. Originally from Pine Knoll Shores, NC.  Open water and distance freestyle specialist. 

World Champion in 10 kilometer open water. 3-time Pan American Games medalist. 2-time Pan Pacific Games Champion. 7-time and current USA Swimming National Team member.  6-time USA Swimming National Champion.  5th FINA 25 kilometer open water Worlds.

In college, Chip was recipient of the 2010 Walter Spearman Award for the most outstanding male graduate of UNC and also the Patterson Medal, the highest honor for an athlete of the university. He was a 7-time UNC school record holder, 3-time NCAA All-American, 2-time ESPN Academic All-American and was twice named the ACC Scholar Athlete of Year.

Since college, he has continued to swim competitively and achieve success in international open water competition. Even after taking a year hiatus and having surgery, he has come back to be on this year’s USA Swimming National Team and to win the 2015 Pan American Games in the 10K. He is still training in Chapel Hill and has high hopes for the coming year.

Chip has been a USA Swimming certified coach since 2012 and has had coaching experience at age-group, high school and collegiate levels. He loves to inspire, teach and guide others

Former Head Coach Pre-Competitive Swim Program - Ben Colley

Coach Ben graduated from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill in 2016 with a major in Sport Administration. While competing on the varsity swim team, he qualified for Olympic Trials and was selected to the USA National Team in 2014-2015. He also holds 6 individual and relay records at UNC. 

Native of Williamsburg, VA Ben assisted his summer league coach/team for two seasons while still in high school. In North Carolina he has coached with CKS since the beginning of the 2015 season and was head coach for the Briar Chapel Barracudas during the summer. 

He swam for Williamsburg Aquatic Club (WAC) and Coach Harold Baker since he was 5. Baker well known for focusing more on technique/skills rather than volume, and making sure his swimmers were enjoying the sport, Coach Ben follows a similar coaching philosophy. Coach Baker believed in having well rounded student athletes all the way through high school which allowed Ben to play basketball all the way until he went to UNC. Coach Ben decided to take his expertise to Club Kick Start because he felt that CKS embodied similar philosophies towards competitive swimming. He believes that promoting confidence and success in and out of the pool will create a well balanced athlete that will be able to succeed in all walks of life. As head coach of the pre-competitive program at CKS, the main goals are promoting passion/enjoyment towards the sport of swimming, fostering an environment that raises confidence no matter of skill or ability, and refines the technical aspect of your child’s swimming strokes.

Former Coach - Danielle Siverling

Coach Danielle is a 2015 UNC graduate and was fortunate to compete for the Tar Heels and to serve as co-captain during her senior year.  She has several UNC individual and relay records.  She competed at 2012 Olympic Trials in the 100, 200, and 400 meter freestyle events.  She has earned All-American honors during all four years of competition at UNC.  This past season, she received the Most Outstanding Award for the UNC women’s team, as well as the Team Spirit Award.  She was also named a Leader of Distinction by her teammates and coaches this past season (alongside several other senior leaders on the team).  She received the Mildred McCaskill Award for Service this past spring, which is given annually to one male and one female athlete at Carolina for a combination of achievement in academics, athletic performance on a national level, and service to the Chapel Hill community.

She is originally from Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, and grew up swimming for Malvern Swimming Association, a club that emphasized technique and speed training in order to prepare their athletes to reach the peak of their career in college.

She just received a middle school teaching certification, and completed her degree this past fall student teaching at Smith Middle School.  She hopes to find a full-time teaching position for next school year, and in the meantime plans to substitute teach and coach at CKS.  She is excited about being able to provide the swimmers with the knowledge and passion that she has for the sport, and is grateful to have the chance to stay in touch with the sport now that her own career has ended.

Coach, Competitive and Pre-Competitive - Kelsey Vetalice

Coach Kelsey is a current junior at The University of North Carolina.  She specializes in 200 and 500 freestyle and qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials in the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle. Kelsey is majoring in Psychology and Exercise and Sports Science.

She is originally from Houston, Texas and swam for The Woodlands Swim Team and her high school team, John Cooper. Kelsey was captain of both teams her senior year. She started competitively swimming at the age of seven and worked for the Woodlands Swim Team for two years coaching the 10 and Unders. Her team had a hands-on approach, so she loves being in the water with swimmers helping/demonstrating proper technique.

Kelsey was selected to attend the USA Swimming National Select Camp and placed 7th in the 200 and 400 free at Speedo Junior Nationals in 2013. She was forced to medically retire in 2016 due to injury. Since she is no longer competitively swimming, she enjoys sharing her passion and love for the sport with our swimmers. In her downtime, she enjoys scuba diving and hiking when she has the chance to travel.

Coach, Former Collegiate Swimmer- Katie McKay

Katie McKay graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 2017 with a degree in Biology and Psychology, and a minor in Neuroscience. Katie was a four-year letter winner on the UNC Swim and Dive Team, specializing in sprint freestyle and butterfly. As a student-athlete at UNC, she swam lifetime best times in her 3 main events: 50 free (23.19), 100 free (50.41), and 100 fly (54.83). She co-founded the Carolina Athletics Relay for Life Team at UNC, which raised over $14,000 over three years. She was named the ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2017, and was awarded Leader of Distinction from the Richard A. Baddour Carolina Leadership Academy in her senior year. Katie is currently a research associate in a neuroscience lab at UNC, and is applying to medical schools with hopes of becoming a future pediatric surgeon.

Former Coach & Current Collaborator - Logan Heck

UNC of Chapel Hill graduate in Exercise Sports Science.  

He is an Olympic Trial Qualifier & Participant in 2012 in the following events; 100 meters & 200 meters Butterfly and 100 meter Freestyle.  He set USA Swimming National Age Group records 2010-11 in the 200 meter & 400 meter Freestyle Relays.  He was the 2011 USA Swimming Scholastic Swimmer of the year. He was AAA Scholastic All-American from 2010-12.

He is originally from Orlando, Florida and then Morrisville, North Carolina. He competed on the Swim Team for Lake Norman High School from 2009-2012. He also competed at the competitive swim club level with SwimMac Carolina.  He was captain of the Lake Norman High School Swim Team, and as a senior he led that team to a 3A State title in 2009.  He won 4A State High School Championships, winning the 50 meters and 100 meters Freestyle.  He was the Lake Norman High School MVP in both 2011 and 2012.  He was awarded “Athlete of the Year” his senior year at Lake Norman High School. He established five Individual Records and three Relay Records for Lake Norman High School Swim Team.

He was member of the Baddour Leadership Academy at the highest level, as a Veteran Leader.  He has coached swimming for The Tennis Club and lead the Chapel Hill Country Club and Briar Chapel Barracudas. 

He will combine his knowledge of Exercise Sports Science with his elite athletic expertise in the sport of competitive swimming and apply those unique skills to coach your children to success.

Coach Luke Lechner

Specializes in 200 yard Individual Medley, 400 yard Individual Medley, 200 yard Breaststroke, 200 yard Butterfly, and 500 yard Freestyle. 

He was named All Star and Captain of his High School Team an alumnus of Asheville High School.  In 2014 he was AAA State Champion and MVP for Western North Carolina YMCA Swimming Team.  He won the Western North Carolina Ironman in 2013 and 2014.  He placed third at the YMCA Nationals in the 400 Individual Medley and was inducted into the YMCA National Honor Society.  

He is a sophomore studying entrepreneurship and communications.  He is a current Carolina CREED Leadership Mentor.  He volunteers heavily with Habitat for Humanity.  

He has swum competitively for over 12 years. He enjoys whitewater kayaking and camping.  He loves the outdoors and traveling. His father Chris Lechner (his role model) just completed the adventure challenge of swimming Lake Michigan!  Strong family swimming legacy.

Former Coach - Chris Gondek

Named to ACC Academic Honor Roll and 2012 Dean's List Honoree.  Three time Junior Classical League Latin National Honor Society Honoree. Majoring in Economics. Chris is a CREED Mentor and part of the Rising Stars Program within the Carolina Leadership Academy. 

Career best: 20.71 in the 50-yard freestyle; 45.47 in the 100-yard freestyle; 1:39.71 in the 200-yard freestyle. 

Swam for North Carolina Aquatic Club (NCAC) since the age of seven. Four-year Letterman at Carrboro High, swimming all distances of freestyle events and acquired multiple conference, region and state awards. He was the 2012 Carolina 12 Conference Swimmer of the Year. He was 2011-2012 Carrboro Jaguars Senior Team Captain and won the 2011 1A-2A State Championship in 200-yard Freestyle. Two-time MVP of Carrboro High Team. He led the Jaguars to three consecutive NCAC 1A-2A state team championships in 2010-2012. He was the anchor of the NCAC 1A-2A state record holding 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Chris holds five Carrboro High School records (100 free, 200 free, 200 and 400 free relays, 200 medley relay.

He has coached club competitive swimming for NCAC. He lead the coaching staff for the Chapel Hill Country Club to the best season since 2006.  He was one of the first Club Kick Start coaches.

Former Coach - Hellen Moffitt

She is now a graduate from University of North Carolina.  Current U.S.A. National Team Swim Member

She has broken 9 College all time records for fly and backstroke events short and long course.  She qualified and placed in the semi-final heat at Olympic Swim Trials in 2016. She is a College all time top 10 in the 100 yard Butterfly, 200 yard Backstroke, and 100 yard Backstroke.  She is a 2-Olympic Trial Qualifier 2012 for the 100 & 200 Backstroke, 2-time ACC Team Member, Senior Nationals qualifier in the 100 & 200 Backstroke, 100 Butterfly & 50 Freestyle.  She was also a USA Swimming National Finalist in the 100 Butterfly.  She was Virginia State runner-up in the 100 Butterfly and 100 Backstroke 2012-13, anchored State Championship 200 Freestyle Relay Team, 7-time High School All-America Selection, regional record holder in the 100 Butterfly.  She was also named to the Washington Post All-Met Girls Swimming Team for multiple years.

She is originally from Alexandria, Virginia where she attended West Potomac High School and swam for Machine Aquatics.  She was captain of her High School Swim Team and was awarded West Potomac’s most valuable athlete accolades on multiple occasions.  She was National Honor Society member, AP Scholar with distinction, honor roll student and 4-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.

She is a current member of the Rising Stars program in the Carolina Leadership Academy.  She has coached for Mansion House Club Swim Team in Alexandria for many years and has volunteered for the Nadar Por Vida Program. 

She is energetic & lovely!  She is excited for the opportunity to share her expert knowledge & love of the competitive swimming sport with your children.  She is a returning Club Kick Start coach.

Former Coach - Ozzie Moyer

He ranks seventh in the his College's history on the one-meter board with a career best score of 342 and is fifth all-time in the three-meter diving with a best score of 373.80 points. He is a Co-Captian for 2015-20.

He is a true athlete. He graduated with distinction with honor roll accolades from Souderton Area High School, PA. While in High School he competed on both the Varsity Swimming & Diving teams.  He qualified for the PIAA District 1 Swimming Championships in the 50m Freestyle with a qualifying time of 23:08. In 2012 he won the Pennsylvania Class AAA State Diving Championship. He also played four years of Baseball as a pitcher & infielder on the Souderton High School baseball team. He was named to the Connie Mack State All-Star Team on the Diamond through Harleysville Community baseball. 

While at College, he has focused his determination on Competitive Diving & Academia. He has been named to the Dean’s list; fall 2014, Spring 2014 and Spring 2013. He has been named to the ACC Academic Honor Role in 2013 & 2015. He was named College Swimming Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America, 2013; and Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Honor Roll, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015.

In 2014 he participated in the USA Diving AT&T Senior National Championship in one meter diving. He placed 6th on the three-meter event at the 2014 USA Diving National Preliminary Championship and placed 17th on the 3m NCAA Zone B Diving Championships. In 2015 he placed 9th on 1m and 16th on 3m at the ACC Championship. In 2013 he placed in two events at the ACC Championship, 11th on the 3m and 16th on the 1m. In 2013 he qualified for Senior National Championship and NCAA Zone B Diving Championships. In 2013 he placed 3rd on the 3m and 4th on the 1m at Nike Cup. He was named ACC’s Men’s Diver of the week on November 5, 2013. In 2012 he won the Nike Cup Championship on the one-meter. He received the David McInnis Award.

He is studying Exercise and Sport Science. He has participated in Carolina Sports Leadership Summit. He was awarded Atlantic Coast Conference “Top 6 in Service Award”. He has volunteered on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council for the past two years. For the past three years he has participated in Carolina CREED, Rising Start and Richard A. Baddour Carolina Leadership Academy.

He was the Aquatics Director at the the Chapel Hill Country Club, Swimming & Diving Instructor and Lifeguard. He aspires to be an Occupational Therapist. He has many hours volunteering and in community outreach. He has very strong leadership and organizational skills.

Former Coach - Graham Williams

Graduate of University of North Carolina Sports Administration with interest in sports management.  Former member of the UNC Tarheel Men's Swim Team.

He is originally from Hickory, North Carolina and graduated from Hickory High School.  

Career Best Times: 1.39.74 in the 200-yard Freestyle; 4:30.33 in the 500-yard Freestyle; 9:12.73 in the 1650-yard Freestyle; 15:23.02 in the 1600-yard Freestyle.

He graduated from the Richard A. Baddour Rising Star Program and Veteran Leader. He is also a CREED Mentor.

He swam for Jon Jolley at the YMCA Seahorse Swim Team and Hickory High School.  He was the Hickory High School Team Captain from his sophomore year through to his senior year.

He won 200-yard and 500-yard Freestyle events at the High School State Championship both his junior and then senior years.  Voted MVP at the High School State Championship his junior year.  He was the YMCA National Champion in the 1500-yard Freestyle in 2011.  He held two North Carolina State Records for the 15-16 year old age group for the 1000-yard Freestyle and the 1650-yard Freestyle events.

Two-time Scholastic All-American.

He has coached at the Alexander Family YMCA Swim Team.

Coach Henry

Rising sophomore. In his freshman year he was named All-American and he broke College records.  He medalled at ACC competitions and was named to the All-ACC Team.   He holds both Olympic Trial and U.S.A. Swimming Senior National cuts.  His speciality is middle to long distance in Freestyle, Individual Medley and Butterfly events.  

He has been a competitive swimmer for 12 years.  In High School he also played lacrosse and was a midfielder.  He volunteered throughout his High School years for the Medical Missionaries for Health.  His Mother is an accomplished Nurse Practitioner.

He has been a competition swimmer for 12 years. He is originally from Manassas Virginia.  He is from a family of eight children.  His brother graduated and swam for the U.S.A. Naval Academy.  His Grandfather played professional soccer for Ireland.  His father is currently stationed in Afghanistan.  

Former Coach - Matt

In 2012 at the Olympic Trials in Canada he won the bronze metal in the 200 meter Individual Medley.  He has won three bronze metals in the past three years at Canadian Senior Nationals. At the 2010 Canadian Summer Nationals he was third in 400 meter Individual Medley. In 2011 at the Canadian Spring Nationals he was third in the 200 meter Individual Medley. 

In 2009 he was first named to The Canadian Junior National team. He has competed at multiple International competitions and tours.  He was awarded the honor of being named The Canadian Junior National Team Swimmer of the year in 2010.   In 2009/2010 he represented the Winter Canadian Tour Team in Australia.  Then in the winter of 2010/2011 he represented Canada on the Tour Team in England. In 2010 he was named to the Pan Pacs Team and competed in Maui, Hawaii, in which he was a finalist in the 400 Individual Medley. Then in 2011 he competed in Peru at the Junior World Championships and earned finalist status in the 200 individual Medley.
He is majors in Exercise and Sports Science.  He was born in Chicago. He graduated from Mother Teresa Catholic Secondary School in London, Canada. He swam for 10 years at the London Aquatic Club.  He specializes in 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 Back, and 200 Breast. He  represented Team Ontario at the Canada Games in 2009 in Nova Scotia. 

Former Coach - Ted Steinkamp

Coach Ted Steinkamp is a junior varsity swimmer at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  From Indianapolis, Indiana, Coach Ted is pursing a Business Administration major as well as a Spanish minor.  Coach Ted is the oldest of four boys - one of them, his twin brother, attends Indiana University. 

Before coming to Carolina, Coach Ted was a four-time Indiana State competitor, Captain of the Riviera Club Swim Team, and Captain of the North Central High School Swim Team.  His senior year, Coach Ted placed third in the 50 yard Freestyle, third in the 100 yard Butterfly and shared an Indiana State Championship in the 200 Freestyle Relay.  

In the summer of 2012, Coach Ted coached at Highland Country Club where he led his team to an undefeated dual meet season and a runner-up title in the Indiana Interclub Championships. 

Since joining Carolina, Coach Ted has been a member of the ACC Academic Honor Role, the Richard A. Baddour Leadership Academy, and Special Olympics North Carolina. 

Coach Ted seeks to combine his swimming and coaching expertise to help Club Kick Start and our athletes thrive and grow. 

Former Coach - Jesse Mendes

Coach Jesse Mendes was Co-captain of the 2011-12 University of North Carolina Tar Heels Men's Swim Team.  He was the 2010-11 Swim Team Academic Captain. He was the Top flight distance freestyler and Open Water Specialist. Coach Jesse Mendes swam for North Carolina Aquatic Club (NCAC) and four years for Chapel Hill High School (CHHS) swim team.  He had a four year undefeated dual meet career as part of CHHS swim team, finishing 29-0 over that time. He was Team Captain his senior high school year and helped lead the 2007-08 team to the North Carolina 4A State High School Championships.

Coach Jesse Mendes was two-time U.S.A.  Swimming Scholastic All American Honoree. He had 14 different citations on his High School's All-Conference Team.  He was the runner up in the 2008 State Championships in the 200 yard Free.  He was the North Carolina State Champion in the 500, 1000, 1650 yard Freestyle in 2008.  He was also the North Carolina Open Water Male Swimmer of the year in 2011,

Coach Jesse Mendes is the Aquatic Director, Head Swim Coach for the Chapel Hill Country Club since 2013 and Club Kick Start.  His leadership skills and love of the sport are contagious!!!  

Coach Phil

Currently a sophomore at the University of North Carolina. He specializes in sprint freestyle and breastroke. Participated in the ACC Championships both his freshman and sophomore years. Has been a competitive swimmer for over 13 years. He also played golf and basketball as a high schooler. He is involved in the Rising Stars Leadership Program at Carolina. Was a high school All-American in three events and broke state records in two relays at the 2013 State Championships. 

He is originally from Greenville, North Carolina. His dad and two sisters all swam at Virginia. His father is an Orthopedic Surgeon in Greenville and his mother is a nurse there. One of his sisters is in dental school at UNC and the other won a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics in the 800 freestyle relay. He is double majoring in "Peace, War, & Defense" and "Political Science" with a concentration in Intelligence studies. Is a member of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies.

Coach Emily Trusky

Emily was awarded the Internship Coaching position with CKS for  2015-2016.  She has been a competitive swimmers since the age of 6 years.  She has been helping coach kids since she was thirteen at the Chapel Hill Country Club. She currently swims for Chapel Hill High School and specializes in freestyle sprinting events.  She has strong interpersonal and leadership skills. 

Coach JT

Coach JT is a sophomore on the swim team at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He is originally from Greenville, North Carolina where he swam for East Carolina Aquatic Club and J.H. Rose High School. 

He specializes in sprint freestyle and swims the 50(20.42), 100(45.08), and 200(1:39.15) freestyle races. In High School he was a two-time Academic All-American and a one time Athletic All-American. He received multiple awards at the conference, regional, and state level. He was a four time letter winner and captain of the swim team his senior year. He was apart of the 4A State record holding relay at High School States. He also received the Sportsmanship Award during his senior year at High School States.

James is also a current member of the Baddour Leadership Academy in the Rising Stars Academy that teaches the importance of Leadership and how to become effective leaders in everything they do. He is a certified lifeguard and has worked with kids from ages 2-12 years old for swim lessons. 

He loves the sport of swimming and wants to help guide and teach others to enjoy it and to grow in their abilities as much as possible.