Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Steve Hall Program Director and Head Dolphin

Coach Steve started working with our developmental swimmers in 2009. As he describes it, “New and welcome challenges arrived when I began developing the Age Group Preparation program in 2012 and the Age Group/Senior program in 2017. Working with the Dolphin Swim Team not only afforded me more quality time with my daughter, Hannah, an age group/senior group swimmer herself, but it also gave me a chance to give back to the sport that helped make me who I am today.”

As for his coaching philosophy, Coach Steve says, “My goal is to help young athletes achieve their training goals, of course. I also want to help parents ensure that their kids develop strength, resiliency and great character so that they can achieve anything they want, including being future leaders of society.”

Coach Steve achieves this by taking the time to understand each swimmer’s athletic, educational and personal goals and looks forward to knowing parents and siblings.

Additionally, his passion for the sport of swimming is evident in his relentless study of it. He loves increasing his knowledge because it directly impacts the success and growth of his athletes.

Coach Steve has trained with all levels of swimmers from State Qualifiers, Zones Qualifiers, Region 8 (Sectionals), NCSA, Futures, Junior Nationals, Senior Nationals, and Olympic Trials qualifiers to Pan-American Swim Champions.

A certified USA Swimming Coach, he has personally coached state champions, high school state champions, Zone champions, AAU National champions, Sectional qualifiers, NCSA qualifiers, Futures qualifiers, Winter Juniors qualifiers, Junior National qualifiers, ASI swimmers of the year, Scholastic All Americans and NISCA Swimming All-Americans.

Born and raised in North Little Rock, Coach Steve attended Northeast High School before going on to be awarded a Henderson State University’s Men's Swimming scholarship. He started his career swimming for the Indian Hills Sting Rays Summer League, which led to swimming year-round for the North Little Rock Boys Club Marlins, then to Central Arkansas Swim Team Seals (CAST), and finally ended up on the Dolphin Swim Team (LRRC). In 1985, Steve became a swim coach for the West Optimist Club under the mentorship of legendary swim coach Paul Blair. In the summer of 1992, he took on the Head Coach position for the Lakewood Wave Swim Team.

Without a doubt, Coach Steve finds great joy and fulfilment passing on his swimming knowledge to kids of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

His personal awards and accomplishments include Arkansas State Age Group 1st Place (100 Fly & 200 Fly), Top 8 at Zones 100 Fly & 1st Place 200 IM Relay and Junior Nationals. Qualifier for Arkansas State Age Group 1982 - 1989, Arkansas Zones Team, Region 8 "Sectionals" 1984 -1989, and USA Junior Nationals Qualifier 1988-1989.

Other athletic accomplishments include Age Group Triathlete Awards 1981 – 1985 and Track & Field City Meet first team 1982 -1984.

Coach Steve served on the ASI Board as technical chair in 2014 and was named 2019 Age Group Coach of the Year.

Keith McAfee Head Coach -Jacksonville and Sherwood
Coach Keith is the Head Coach of our Jacksonville and Sherwood sites and Team Administrator. He joined the Dolphin coaching staff in 1986. He took over the Jacksonville program in 1994 and developed the Sherwood site in 2004. As a coach for the Dolphins, he has been instrumental in the development of many of the tops swimmers in Arkansas.

Coach Keith is a Little Rock native and began his swimming career at age 6 as a member of the Millers Swim Gym. He joined the Little Rock Racquet Club Dolphins swim team in 1972. As an age group swimmer, he held several state records and was selected as team captain for the Dolphins his senior year. While at swimming Hendrix College, he not only served as Team Captain but, received the prestigious Carl Babcock Award for Outstanding Leadership in Athletics.

White attending Hendrix College, he coached the Hendrix Aquakids from 1983-1986. He has taught hundreds of children how to swim as an instructor at the Little Rock Racquet Club.. He was active in the development of the West Little Rock Optimist Summer Swim League and coached five of the competing teams over a four- year period. In 2003, in addition to his Dolphin coaching duties, he took over the coaching of the struggling Sherwood Sharks Swim Team, which is part of the Central Arkansas Swim League. Through his direction, he took this summer program to the top of the league with four straight undefeated seasons and is one of the largest in the state.

He has been involved in many aspects of Arkansas Swimming, Inc. He has volunteered his time by serving as Equipment Chair and Awards Chair. He has been the Meet Director for many ASI Age Group Champs meets. He has been instrumental in the Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame, serving on the committee since 1987.  He was awarded the highly coveted Conoco Phillips 66 Volunteer of the Year in 2000 and Arkansas Swimming Coach of The Year in 2013.
 
Recognizing his numerous contributions’ to Arkansas Swimming, Keith McAfee was inducted into the Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame in 2009.  Keith's Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame Page.
 
Juliana De Santi LRRC Age Group & Developmental Coach
Mary Heye Jacksonville Sherwood Coach
Palmer Ristroph LRAC Age Group Coach

Coach Palmer is from Augusta Georgia. She coached summer league swimming for four years, and was a swim instructor for Dolphin Academy Swim School for ten years. She moved to Little Rock in 2017 to compete for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock swim team. While swimming for the Trojans she was a team captain for two years. She is currently the Graduate Assistant coach for the UALR Trojans and began Coaching the Dolphins this fall.

Amber McCall LRAC Developmental Coach
Chelsea Schieber LRAC Developmental Coach
Jordan Godbee Cabot Age Group & Senior Coach
Hope Ernhart LRRC Age Group & Developmental Assistant
Kaylie Noll Senior Assistant Coach
Braden Gentry Senior Assistant Coach

Born and raised in Little Rock, Braden Gentry grew up in the Arkansas Swimming community. Braden began his coaching career as an Assistant Age Group coach on the Arkansas Dolphins in the summer of 2019. He then joined the coaching staff for the Razorback Aquatic Club Aquahawgs where he was the Assistant Age Group and Senior Group coach during their 2019-2020 season. Braden was hired at the Aquakids in 2020 where he spent time as the Head Age Group and Assistant Senior Group coach during the 2020-2021 season, Head Satellite coach in Little Rock during the 2021 season, and Interim Head Coach during the 2021-2022 season. During his time coaching for the Aquakids, there were over 50 team records broken on multiple occasions.

Braden has coached swimmers of all ages including Developmental, Age Group, Senior, College, and Masters who have qualified for 14 & Under State, Senior State, KMSC Pro-Am & AESC Elite Meets, Zones, Sectionals, Futures Championships, NCSA Jr. Nationals, the IMX Games, Speedo Winter Jr. Nationals, and Speedo Summer Jr. Nationals.

Braden has had the opportunity to coach swimmers who have repeatedly broken both high school and club team records, become top finishers at Sectionals, AESC Elite Meet Champions, State Champions, Scholastic All-Americans, and NCAA Division 1, 2, & 3 scholarship athletes.

 

Braden began his 14 year long swimming career at the age of 5. During his career swimming for the Arkansas Dolphins and Catholic High School, he was a multiple-time Arkansas State and Region VIII Sectional meet qualifier, four-time All-District, and three-time All-State athlete. Braden has had multiple top 3 and top 5 individual finishes at 7A High School State and Senior State. He has also been a key contributor to multiple State champion relay teams, and helped Catholic High defend their 3-year consecutive Conference titles and 2-year consecutive State Runner-Up titles.

After high school, Braden continued his swimming career at Henderson State University on an athletic scholarship where he specialized in sprint freestyle and butterfly.

Board of Directors