Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Michael Novell Head Coach, Arete

Coach Mike started with the Fort Collins Area Swim Team in October of 2013 as the Head Age Group Coach. During which time FAST Athletes have achieved new levels of success including State, Sectional, and Junior National first place finishes.  Athletes on FAST have broken National Age Group records, numerous Colorado Swimming State Records, and a Pan Pac Pacific Record.  While serving as the Head Age Group Coach FAST achieved it’s first Silver Medal, and Gold Medal club excellence status.

Prior to coming to FAST Mike served as the Head Coach at Castle Rock Swimming for the past 6 and a half years.  While at ROCK the team achieved new levels of success from an athletic and business standpoint.  The team produced it’s first pair of Jr National qualifiers in over 10 years as well sending a sizable team to sectionals that continued to grow each season.  While at ROCK Mike coached multiple swimmers that have gone on to swim competitively in college in each division.

Before moving to Colorado Mike coached in Tempe, Arizona for Sun Devil Aquatics and worked with Arizona State University as a graduate assistant.  During his tenure at SDA Mike coached several state Champions, Junior National Qualifiers, Top 16 Qualifiers, and one Olympic Trial Qualifier.  Additionally his swimmers contributed to 2 National Age Group Relay Records and 2 Junior National Women’s Team first place finishes.  While in his role as a Grad Assistant at ASU Mike had the opportunity to work with multiple NCAA qualifiers, Pac 10 Champions, and a National Record Holder.

Mike got his start coaching while in High School at the Glendale/Peoria YMCA in 1998 and later the Tempe YMCA in 2000.  At Tempe Mike assisted the organization in moving into the competitive ranks of USA Swimming as well as coaching the teams the first State Champion and Western Zone Qualifiers.

Eric Neilsen Head Masters Coach
Eric's swimming background encompasses collegiate water polo, masters swimming and over 100 triathlons.  For the past 25 years, Eric has coached athletes for open water, triathlon and pool competition.  He is currently the head coach at FAST Masters, owner of a multisport coaching business, Train Smart Race Fast and the  2016 Colorado Masters Coach of the Year!  Eric has coached both USA and USMS club programs and multiple masters national and world record holders. He is a 3x Ironman Hawaii World Championship finisher, 8x Boston Marathon Qualifier and Masters Swimming All-American.
 
MacKenzie Novell Lead Coach Ascend

Joined FAST: 2010

Education Interior Design Colorado State University

 

MacKenzie is the longest active coach at FAST and has had many roles since joining the club. In her current position she is the lead coach for Ascend. Her most recent role on FAST was substitute coach when the team needed group coverage and assistance.

 

Prior to her return as lead group coach at FAST, she was the Assistant Women Swim Coach at Colorado State University. During her time at CSU the team moved up 5 places in the Mountain West Conference, earned 11 consecutive Scholar All American Awards, posted their best dual meet records in over a decade, was recognized for having the MWC Swimmer of the Year, Senior of the Year, and was the lead coach for athletes earning over 20 school records and over 30 NCAA cuts. She currently serves as the RAMS Alumni Athletes Association President.

 

MacKenzie swam for Colorado State University on an athletic scholarship. She graduated in 2008 and received the Leadership Award from the College of Applied Human Sciences. Additionally, she was the recipient of the 2011 Doc Counsilman Award given by the American Swimming Coaches Association for creative and innovative workouts. She has represented Colorado Swimming at the age gourd zone level, and was selected to be a member of the USA Swimming Women’s Leadership Summit in 2015 and 2017.

 

MacKenzie coaching philosophy is centered around creating a positive environment for athletes to challenge themselves in while exploring their own personal expectations and goals. She utilizes key learning styles including visual, auditory and kinesthetic to reach a range of athletes. Athletes in Ascend will be shown the importance of building world class character through excellence in swimming on a daily basis.

Christopher Webb High Performance Coach

Coach Chris is originally from Pittsburgh, PA where he attended and Swam for the University of Pittsburgh.

Chris started his career at the University and then moved on to USA swimming club coaching with Team Pittsburgh Aquatics in the early 2000’s.  Early on, it was obvious that he had found his niche, as he helped the program produce multiple 2000 Olympic trials qualifiers. 

He them moved to Carmel, Indiana where he continued to hone his skills with the Carmel Swim Club, one to the top programs in the US.  In Carmel, he continued to produce athletes who swam at the highest levels. Carmel High School won 5 straight state championships and the club produced multiple 2008 Olympic trials qualifiers while becoming the first USA Swimming Gold Medal swim club in Indiana history. 

In late 2009 Chris joined SwimMAC Carolina with Head Women’s Olympic Coach David Marsh. In his time in Charlotte, he led the senior programming and spent time assisting with TEAM ELITE which is made up of U.S. Olympic and National Team members. During his time at SwimMAC the team won the 2012 Long Course Junior Nationals.  Chris coached multiple U.S. Olympic trial qualifiers, 2 Junior Pan Pacific Team members, and an Olympian from Bermuda.  

In 2012 Chris was sought out for the head coaching position with the Fort Collins Area Swim Team (FAST). The team and culture in Fort Collins thrived under his new leadership attracting swimmers from all over Colorado and neighboring states.  In 2016, the program attained Gold Medal status (top 20 in the USA) which it has maintained for 3 consecutive years. Some of his other accomplishments include:

  • 10        National Junior Team members
  • 30+      Olympic Trails Qualifiers
  • 25        Junior National Finalists
  • 2016    USA Swimming Junior Pan Pacific Assistant Coach
  • 2016    National Junior Team Coach
  • 2016    Colorado Coach of the year
  • 2015    National Junior Team Coach
  • 2015    Colorado Coach of the year
Sarah Monk Loveland Site Lead Coach

Sarah’s love for swimming began in 2008 after a collegiate running injury quite literally knocked her off her feet.  She began coaching high school swimmers in the winter of 2011, and found her calling.  Over the years, she has been involved with several high school programs including Skyline High School, Fort Collins High School, and Loveland High School.  Sarah has also coached at the club level, working with high school, middle, and elementary aged athletes.  In the Fall of 2015 she was made the head swimming and diving coach at Loveland High School for both men’s and women’s teams.

In 2019, Sarah decided to make her passion a full time career by co-founding the Loveland Site of FAST.

Sarah’s a USA Triathlon certified Level I coach, and a USA Swimming certified coach. She is a 200 Hour Registered Yoga Instructor, and has a strong understanding of anatomy and injury prevention. In her time off the pool deck, she’s a competitive triathlete, distance runner, cyclist, and long distance backpacker.

Erin Keown Assistant Coach

Hi! My name is Erin Keown, and I am the assistant coach for FAST and Liberty Common High School’s Women’s team. 

 

I’ve been swimming competitively since I was 7 years old, and throughout my early swimming career I placed top 10 in age group State Championships multiple times, and represented my team in breaststroke and freestyle at Sectionals.

 

I was on Fairview High School’s varsity team, and I made cuts for 5A state all 4 years, and I placed top 10 in the BOCO invitational each year. I also earned the Academic All American award for maintaining a GPA of greater than 4.0 while swimming through high school.

 

Currently I’m a part of the FAST master’s team and the Swim and Dive Club at Colorado State University, where I’m working on my bachelors of science in Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering. I hope to find a job applying biomechanics to swimming, designing better swim gear, or a new prosthetic limb that’s competition legal.

 

My teaching and coaching career began in high school, where I was offered the opportunity to teach lessons through SwimAmerica in Superior, CO. From there I moved to the YMCA of Northern Colorado in February of 2020, and taught lessons for them. In early 2021 I was offered the opportunity to coach the pre-team class for the Y, and I completely fell in love with coaching. There was something special about giving back to my sport through teaching others to love it and enjoy it the way that I do. Coaching also gave me a different perspective on breaking down strokes, and deepened my understanding of stroke techniques. 

 

I’m incredibly excited to further my competitive swim coaching career with FAST! 

 

Rosalyn Stoa Assistant Coach

Roz started swimming when she was 3 years old and has barely stepped away from the pool deck since. Roz swam Division I at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay (UWGB) on athletic scholarship, where she was a two-time captain and record holder for the 200 freestyle. She graduated in 2020 with majors in Psychology, Business Administration, and a Certificate in Athletic Coaching. Roz started coaching in 2013 as a volunteer coach for the Green Bay United high school boys swim team, and has since coached high school girls, the Green Bay Swim Club, and was a volunteer coach in her fifth year for the UWGB swim team. Roz is currently attending Colorado State University to get her PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology. In her spare time, she likes to go hiking, camping, and bike rides on the Poudre Trail.

Kaitlyn Blair Assistant Coach

Coach Kaitlyn started swimming at the age of five and still swims today. She is a member of the Colorado State University Swim Club and is studying Environmental Engineering at CSU. Kaitlyn in the past has taught swim lessons for ages 5-13, volunteered at free swim clinics and now stepped into the role as a coach for FAST. Kaitlyn’s favorite part of swimming is the people she has met, and the everlasting community that she gets to take part in. 

Kirk Witulski Assistant Coach

Joined FAST: 2015
 

As a Denver native, Kirk is well versed in the swimming culture of Colorado.  Kirk’s foundations in swimming started at an early age.  Competing competitively with AAA as a kid and swimming in high school at Cherry Creek in Denver, CO.  At Cherry Creek Kirk gained experience and a competitive edge through being part of State and National Titles.

While pursuing his education in Computer Science at Colorado State University, he stayed active in the swimming community.  Kirk was a head coach at Forest Park for five years, and an assistant for the ACES Swim Club.  Kirk then joined the ranks of CHSAA officials, and has been on deck for nine years, including as a representative at the Girls State tournament in 2014.  

As the years passed Kirk realized that coaching was something that he wanted to focus on more.  In the spring of 2012, Kirk joined both the Stapleton Stingrays (Summer Club), and Denver Stingrays (USA Club).  He had additional years of experience as an assistant coach for Hinkley High School in Aurora, CO.  Kirk has been the Head Coach for Fort Collins High School Boys Swimming and Diving Since 2015.

Kirk won the 5A coach of the year award in 2017.  He was also selected to coach as a member of the Colorado All-Stars team in 2019.

Kirk’s Coaching philosophy is based on positive reinforcement, teaching proper technique, and having a little fun. Kirk wouldn’t be as successful as he is without the support and love from his family and friends.  These are his keys to success. 

 

Doug Stone Head Age Group Coach

Doug Stone

Hammerhead, Tiger Shark, Rise and Shine

Joined FAST:  2015

Education:  B.S. in Political Science, Willamette University

Coach Doug began coaching with Salem Aquatic Club (Salem, OR) while still completing his Bachelor’s Degree and college swimming career.  He started as the 8&U coach and advanced to Head Age Group Coach during his seven years with Salem Aquatic Club.  During his time in Oregon, Coach Doug worked with numerous age group state champions and received an Oregon Age Group Coach of the Year Award.

After moving to Colorado, Coach Doug was the Head Coach at Greeley Swim Club for two years.  During his time with GSC. the team had its first Senior National Qualifier since 1996 and had multiple athletes win individual state titles at both the USA swimming and High School Swimming Championships.

Prior to joining FAST,  Coach Doug also spent 16 years as the Head Coach at the Eaton Red Waves.  After starting with a club of almost thirty athletes and only Silver State Qualifiers, he successfully increased both the size of the team and the levels at which its athletes compete.  Coach Doug developed over a dozen Zone Qualifiers, as well as all of the All Star Selections and Sectional Qualifiers in Eaton Red Waves history.

Coach Doug also has eighteen years of High School coaching experience with both boys and girls.  He has worked with student athletes at Greeley Central, Eaton High School and just this past two years the Fossil Ridge Boys Swimming and Diving Team.  His highlights include multiple individual state titles in individual events and relays at both the 4A and 5A levels, two 4A state records, and an overall team title.

Board of Directors