Our Coaches
Our professional coaching staff is dedicated to providing high quality coaching and technique instruction to give each swimmer the best opportunity to achieve their goals. Our coaches bring years of experience coaching at the collegiate and international levels, including the Olympics. Our swimmers routinely qualify for the National Championships, World Championships and Olympic Trials.


Meet our Coaching Staff 

  • Mike Chasson – Head Coach 
  • Kyle Johnson – Head Age Group Coach, Assistant Senior/Pre-Senior Coach
  • Jens Nielsen – Assistant Head Coach Senior 1, Co-Head Coach Senior 2, Assistant Age Group Coach 
  • Christine Sugihara  – Age Group 2 Coach
  • Joanna Woodward - Assistant Coach
  • Alex Shultz - Assistant Coach 
  • Sam Iida – Assistant Age Group Coach
  • Steve Mancuso – Assistant Senior Coach
  • Shawn O’Connell – Assistant Senior Coach



Michael Chasson - Head Coach 

Personal Mission Statement: Age group swimming should promote technique, sportsmanship, and academic excellence.  A successful program should help swimmers develop a passion for the sport and encourage them to compete through high school and college, depending on their academic interests and school choice.

Achievements: Mike Chasson has been involved in competitive swimming for over 45 years and has coached at every level of swimming.  He began his career as an age group coach at Los Altos Aquatic Club in 1971.  Since then, he has coached at Santa Barbara Swim Club, Stanford University, Harvard University, Mass Bay Marlins, Arizona State University, and Sun Devil Aquatics.  He has coached Olympic Gold Medal winners, USA Swimming National Champions and Junior National Champions, NCAA Champions, and many NCAA and High School All Americans.

Mike coached swimmers at every Olympic Games from 1984 through 2008.  He has been a USA National Team Coach for many international trips, including Head Men’s Coach at the 1997 World University Games and an assistant coach at the Olympic Games in 1988 and Pan Pacific Championships in 1993.  He has had teams place in the top five at every major swimming competition in the United States.  He has been a speaker at the American Swim Coaches Association Convention as well a number of regional clinics.

While at Stanford, Mike coached five different NCAA Champions, and helped coach the team to the NCAA Championship in 1989.  While at Harvard, he won six Ivy League Championships and helped Harvard achieve an 11th place finish at the men’s NCAA’s in 1998, which is the highest finish ever for a non-scholarship school.  While at Arizona State, the men’s team finished in the top 20 nine times, and the women’s team did so six times.  This included three top ten finishes.  Mike coached 52 All Americans and helped swimmers to 58 school records.  His swimmers also achieved seven Pac-10 Championships and earned 165 Pac-10 All Academic honors.

Currently, Mike is the Head Coach of the Gold Medal Swim Club. His background in club swimming for 18 years before going into college swimming gave him great preparation for guiding Sun Devil Aquatics, which he started in 1998.  He previously started two club programs and one masters program from scratch.  

Personal Achievements: Mike is proud of the fact that he has remained in contact with swimmers he coached in the 70s, 80s, 90s and the 2000s.  These swimmers went on to successful academic and professional careers.  Mike has always encouraged his staff to have this same type of connection and interest in their athletes. Mike will continue to build a positive environment that encourages future athletic, academic and personal growth.


Kyle Johnson - Head Age Group Coach,  Assistant Senior/Pre-Senior Coach 

Personal Mission Statement: To create and maintain a positive team environment that fosters high level academic and swimming excellence. 

Why I Coach: I coach to represent and promote the sport, the coaches, and the mentors that taught me so much growing up. I coach so that participation in the sport of swimming can be a positive influence and developmental platform in as many kids' lives as possible, just as it was for me. 

Achievements: Over 4 years of club coaching for GMSC (since 2018). Coached GMSC to their first ever Age Group State Championship 1st Place Finish (2022). Developed Nationally ranked age group swimmers, Arizona State Champions, Senior Sectional qualifiers, multiple Age Group State high point winners, and dozens of Arizona State qualifiers and finalists. ASCA Certified Level 2 Coach. ASCA Level 5 Certification in Coaching Education. Was selected as one of ASCA's '30 under 30' coaches (2022). Twelve years of USA Club Swimming experience.             

Education: University of Nebraska- Lincoln / Mesa CC - General Business


Jens Nielsen - Assistant Head Coach Senior 1, Co-Head Coach Senior 2, Assistant Age Group Coach

Personal mission statement: To support all athletes, regardless of age, ability, or experience.  I seek to foster a love of the sport of swimming, experience success as an athlete, and to promote a growth mindset that swimmers will take with them and apply in all aspects of their lives.

Why I coach: I coach swimming because of what swimming meant to me when I was an athlete. Many of my lifelong friends are people I met through swimming.  Swimming has enriched my life in so many ways, and I want to pass that on to all I coach.

Achievements: Coached multiple Junior and Senior National level athletes.
Coached athletes that have competed in Division 1 Collegiate swimming programs at Arizona State University, University of Arizona, University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University. Head Coach of the Farmington High School Swim Team in Farmington, New Mexico. Coach of the New Mexico Boys State High School Champions team and multiple state swimming finalists. Coached all levels of competitive swimming, including age group, high school, senior, and master teams.

Personal Achievements: Swam at Iowa State University. All Big Eight Honoree. NCAA Championship team member. Married to his wife, Ann, and father of Max and Rose.

Education: Iowa State University, B.A. in Physical Education


Christine Sugihara – Age Group 2 Coach 
Personal Mission Statement: Teach young swimmers good technique to prepare and motivate them for continued progress going forward.
Why I Coach: I like to see kids happy and enjoying swim practice and competition.

Achievements: Occasionally spending summers in Taiwan, Christine has over 10 years of experience coaching international competitive swimming. She has also been providing oversight of training for her nephew in Japan at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports at Kanoya University in 2019 and in San Diego with Dave Marsh and his Team Elite Pro Group in 2020. Nephew Tommy is on the Taiwan National team and will be competing in the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan in 2021.

Coach Christine started her coaching career in 2004 with USA swim clubs EG Stingray, Alligator Aquatics and Hickory Willow SA as Age Group Coach and assisting with Elite Group swimmers obtaining Level 5 USS Swimming certification. Moving to Chandler in 2014, Christine has stayed active in swimmer development inviting competitors from Taiwan to train with her in Arizona and has continued her own education, attending a coaching program invited by Jack Bauer at the University of Georgia in 2017.

Personal Achievements: Christine Sugihara is originally from Taipei, Taiwan. She competed on the Taiwan National Team starting from age 12 earning junior national and then national champion status for 7 consecutive years. Christine swam at the Pan Pacific and World Championships. She won the Asian Age Group Championship at age 13 going on to compete for her country in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. While on the National team Christine also began her coaching career instructing younger teammates as well as swimmers on club teams operated by her family, focusing on technique and form.

Christine met husband Rick, moving to the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois in 1993. As her kids became involved in swimming, she resumed. Her older son and daughter remain in Chicago for college study and work. Christine started in August 2020 as Age Group Coach joining youngest son Jason on the GMSC team.
Christine can speak English, Japanese, Taiwanese and Mandarin.  

Swimming Achievements:  1988 Olympics,  1982-1988 Taiwan National Team
Best advice I've been given: Always be prepared because you may only get one chance at your goal.
Education:  1992 University of Takushoku,  1995 Harper college,  1997 CHCS Chinese teacher certificate 


Joanna Woodward - Assistant Coach
Personal Mission Statement: Challenge yourself to train smarter, train harder, and have fun.

Why I Coach:  Coaching does not only teach skills and prepares athletes to be the best competitors possible, coaching also teaches skills and prepares athletes to be great people...I endeavor to do both.
Achievements: Two-time Colorado Age Group Coach of the Year (Colorado). 10+ years coaching experience with Age Gorup and Pre-Senior Athletes at the state, sectional, and Junior National level. 
Personal Achievements: U.S. Olympic trials (1988 and 2000), U.S. National Team (1986) and NCAA All-American swimmer (UC - Berkeley). Ann Cuneo swimming Scholarship recipent (UC Berkeley - 1990). 
Best advice I've been given:  My club coach counseled me and advised me "to be careful who you offend on your way to the top because you will surely meet them on the way back down"; I think it is important to remember to be grateful and humble since there are many ups and downs in sport and life.
Education: Bachelor's of Science, Graphic Informational Technology (2022); Master's of Elementary Education (2011); B.S. in exercise science (1999)

Alex Shultz - Assistant Coach 

Personal Mission Statement: Every athlete, no matter age or skill, has the capacity for greatness. A coach's role is to challenge, inspire, and motivate athletes to pursue greatness - as swimmers, as teammates, and as people.


Why I Coach: I coach because what we do in the water is about so much more than just swimming. I hope to foster a love of the water in others and help athletes achieve their dreams in and out of the pool.


Best Advice: "Don't be afraid to be fast!" - Mike Walker. So much of our success - in swimming and in life - is not dictated by our abilities, but by our fears.


Coaching Achievements: From 2020-2021, Schultz coached with Olympic coaches Dr. Dave Salo and Jon Urbanchek for the Novaquatics professional team NOVA Pro in Irvine, California. As a volunteer under Dr. Salo, Alex helped run workouts, wrote and led practices, and assisted at meets including the 2021 Speedo Grand Challenge. NOVA Pro team members included Olympians Vladimir Morozov (2012 bronze medalist, 2016, 2020), Christian Quintero (2012, 2016), Beryl Gastaldello (2016, 2020), and Anika Apostalon (2020).


Swimming Achievements: Alex swam for Gold Medal Swim Club and collegiately at Yale University. While at Yale, he was an Ivy League Championship finalist and awarded the Harry Burke Award for outstanding contribution to Yale swimming by an underclassman and the S. Livingston Mather award for outstanding performance in backstroke. As an Age Group swimmer, he set eight Arizona state records, participated in the Western Zone Select Camp, and was a Sectionals, Arizona State, and Arizona D-1 High School State champion.


Sam Iida – Assistant Age hGroup 2 Coach
Personal Mission Statement: To support athletes at all levels and create an environment where they can thrive. 
Why I Coach: I coach because I love working with kids and helping them develop emotionally, academically, and athletically. 
Achievements: Coached 10&U for two seasons at Glenbrook Swim Club in Glenbrook, IL. Soon to be Assistant Coach with ASU Men's Swimming Team for the 22-23 season.
Swimming Achievements: Swimmer for 18 years, competing at all levels from regional age group to Olympic Trials (2016, 2020). Multiple time top three PAC-12 finalist; 4 time NCAA top 16 finisher; University of Arizona Student-Athlete volunteer of the year 2020-2021; USA Jr National Team member
Education: University of Arizona c/o 2021 Major Psych

Steven Mancuso - Assistant Senior Coach
Achievements: Swam at Northern Arizona University four years, 1991-1995, serving as team captain. Head Coach Men’s and Women’s Varsity Swimming Mt. Pointe High School 1998 – 2015.
Steve has also coached with Mesa Aquatics Club and works part time at Gold Medal Swim School.
Awards while with Mountain Pointe Swimming include Region Swimming Coach of the Year, 2000-01, 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2009-10 and NISCA (National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association) State Swimming Coach of the Year in both 2000-01 and 2009-10.
Personal Achievements: June of 2011, completed the Ironman Triathlon in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.   Married to Jill, four beautiful children: Leo, Harlow, Winnie, Leo, and Rocco 

Education: Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science in Education with Distinction in 1996.  Additional honors achieved at NAU during the time he was obtaining his bachelor’s degree include:  Membership on the Student Athlete Advisory Board, 1994-95; Golden Eagle Award for Academic/Athletic Excellence, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1993-94; and Scholar Athlete of the Year, 1994-95. Obtained Masters in Educational Leadership with Distinction in 2002 from NAU Principal Certification, also through NAU, in 2004.


Shawn O’Connell - Assistant Senior Coach
[email protected]

Achievements: Coached Desert Vista High School Swim Team 19 years to current. USA Swim Coach Mac West Aquatics

Personal Achievements: College Swimmer University of Wisconson Lacrosse

Education: Bachelors in Public Administraion and Economics, University of Wisconson LaCrosse  

Bachelors in Education, University of Alaska