Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Aaron Opell Head Coach, Director of Operations

Education & Certifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Healthcare Administration
  • Master’s Degree: Kinesiology and Sport Administration
  • ASCA Certified Swim America Program Director (swim lessons)

Accomplishments: 

  • Proud father and husband
  • United States National Team member (Coach 2015-16)
  • United States National Team member (Athlete 2009-10)
  • 2009 Big Ten Champion (200 Breaststroke 2009)
  • NSC accomplishments since Aaron’s arrival in 2012
    • 20 + swimmers signed to swim in college
    • 40 + Junior National qualifications
    • 3 x National Age Group records achieved
      • Lilly King 100Y breast (2015)
      • Lilly King 100M breaststroke (2016)
      • Women’s 15 – 16 200M Medley Relay (Brown, King, Jensen, Treski) (2015)
    • 500 + kids have learned how to swim through Learn to Swim program & clinics

Background:

Aaron Opell began swimming for the Newburgh Sea Creatures at age seven and continued to swim for the club until graduating from Castle High School and attending college at Indiana University.  At Indiana, Aaron joined the swim team as a walk-on, but within his first year, he worked his way onto IU's travel and Big Ten team after dropping ten seconds off his previous career-best times.  Aaron continued to improve while swimming under Coach Ray Looze at Indiana.  By his junior year, he earned a spot on the USA Swimming National Team in the 200-meter breaststroke, finished second at the U.S. Open in the 200-meter breaststroke, and competed at the US Olympic Trials.  As a senior at Indiana University, Aaron earned the title of Big Ten Champion when he won the 200-yard breaststroke and broke Indiana University's record.

After completing his undergraduate degree in healthcare administration, Coach Aaron Opell earned his Master's degree in kinesiology and sports management through Indiana University.  While continuing his schooling, he swam professionally in competitions across the world.  After deciding to retire from swimming, he worked as a volunteer assistant coach for IU where he greatly enjoyed coaching his teammates and working with his previous coaches.

When Aaron graduated in 2011, he moved to North Carolina to coach for SwimMAC under his previous coach Pam Swander and legendary coach Dave Marsh.  This opportunity provided him with the ability to gain more experience coaching various age and talent groups from younger teenagers to Olympic medalists.  Although Aaron greatly enjoyed his time in North Carolina, he moved back to Indiana in June of 2012 when his high school sweetheart and soon-to-be wife, Emily (Starrett) Opell accepted a teaching position in Indiana.  Emily and Aaron got married on August 28, 2012 and currently have an adorable son named Vincent.

These experiences have helped shape Aaron as both a swimmer and coach and give him personal insight into all facets of competitive swimming.  Having either seen or experienced individuals accomplishing goals at all levels, Aaron is confident that there is no better sport to teach children valuable life lessons than swimming. He also believes that the career he has chosen will help him fulfill his life’s mission which is to be the best father, husband, and leader he can be.  

Why do you love to coach?

As a leader, it is my mission to impact as many lives as possible by helping others realize their worth and become successful in life. Because this sport and the people I have met through it have shaped me into the person I am today, I believe that swimming provides me the best opportunity to carry out this mission.

Favorite Quote:

 “People are like trees. They are either growing or they are dying. Regardless of where we are in our lives, we must commit to growing our mind, body, and spirit everyday” – Lou Holtz

"You can only reach your true potential when your desire to grow or make an impact exceeds your desire for its rewards." - John C. Maxwell

Kyle Johnson Associate Head Coach

Education and Certifications:

  • Indiana University – Liberal Studies with Criminal Justice focus (2012 – present)

 

Accomplishments:

  • Coaching Staff Member: 2019 Indiana Swimming Olympic Training Center Camp - Chula Vista, CA
  • Indiana Swimming Coach Mentor Program participant
  • Indiana University Men’s team athlete (2012 – 15)
  • Indiana University Men’s team captain (Junior year, 2014 – 15)

 

Background

Kyle Johnson is the Associate Head Coach of the competitive swimming team as well as the Head Boys and Girls Swimming Coach for Castle High School.

Kyle began swimming at age 6 for the Anderson Community Aquatics Club (ACAC).  He continued swimming for ACAC until he was 18 and went to swim at Indiana University.  While at Indiana, Kyle made the Big Ten team his freshman and sophomore year and made the travel team his sophomore and junior year.  During his junior year, Kyle was selected as one of four team captains.  Following his junior year, Kyle elected to stop swimming competitively after battling a shoulder injury and became a manager for his senior year.  His undergraduate years were spent studying Criminal Justice.

After working with the Bloomington Swim Club (now Indiana Swim Club), Kyle chose to be the Head Coach of the Southridge Aquatic Raider Gators (SARG) in Huntingburg, IN.  He coached with SARG until April 2017 when he joined the NSC coaching staff as the Head Age Group Coach.  After coaching with NSC for a year and a half, he chose to move to New Orleans to become a firefighter, but things did not go as planned, and Kyle couldn’t resist his urge to coach again.  One phone call from Coach Aaron brought Kyle back to Newburgh as the Assistant High School Coach for Castle High School and as the Intro to Competitive Lead Coach.

Throughout all of his travels, Kyle has always appreciated everything that he has learned.  Whether it be writing practices, teaching drills, or doing administrative work, Kyle is always there thinking about how he can do things better and more efficiently.  You can find him on the pool deck every day doing the thing he loves the most:  sculpting young swimmers into athletes, leaders, and role models through the sport of swimming.

 

Why do you love to coach?

Coaching is a way for me to stay in touch with the sport of swimming.  Watching the swimmers improve and learn to love the sport as much as I do is heartwarming. Teaching them how to be better friends, teammates, and role models helps me give back to the sport that taught me so much.

 

Favorite quotes:

“I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I'm so mean I make medicine sick.” – Muhammad Ali

Chris Campbell Aqua-School Operations Manager

Education:

  • Community College of the Air Force – Associate’s Degree -  Radio Relay Maintenance
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Industrial Technical Education

Accomplishments:

  • U.S. Air Force Veteran
  • Certified Adult Swim Instructor
  • Studied Human Relations at the Master’s level
  • Trainer, Educator in Competency-Based Training Programs

Why do you love to coach?

     Being able to teach others to swim well offers job satisfaction, but is nothing compared to having the privilege of witnessing the joy of accomplishment in those who reach that goal.

Favorite Quote:

     The secret to genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm. – Aldous Huxley

Nick Davlantis Lead Coach - Elementary, Senior (summer)

Education & Certifications:

  • Bachelors of Arts & Physics (University of Evansville 2015)

Accomplishments:

  • University of Evansville Swimming and Diving (athlete 2015)
  • Teaches math and physics at Evansville Day School
  • Head Coach for Evansville Day School Swimming (2016 - 18)

Background:

Nick has spent his whole life around water. With over a decade of experience working with all levels of competitive swimming, he's seen and been a part of many swimmers’ journeys from learn-to-swim programs all the way to preparing for competition at some of the highest levels in the sport. He enjoys using his personal experiences as an athlete, leader, and role model to better help the swimmers he works with to maximize their potential.

Why do you love to coach:

I love coaching because I love seeing kids of all ages fall in love with a sport that can be incredibly rewarding. I also love helping swimmers reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives and that starts with the discipline and good habits we reinforce as coaches.

Favorite Quote:

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." -Henry David Thoreau

Maria Heathcott Lead Coach - Adult Swim Fit

Education & Certifications:

  • USAT Level 1 Triathlon Coach
  • United States Masters Swimming Coach (Level 1/2 Certification)
  • Adult Learn to Swim Certified
  • Red Cross Life Guard Instructor
  • Bachelor’s Degree: K-12 PE/Health Educator 

Accomplishments: 

  • Ironman Kona 2016 qualifier (11th in age group)
  • Boston Marathon Participant (Finish time: 3:01)
  • Ironman finisher in 2013, & 2015 (Second place in Louisville Ironman)
  • Multiple record holder at both Jasper high school and Ball State University
  • IHSAA high school state runner up 2007
  • State qualifier in track and field and cross country

Background:

Maria has 18 years of swimming experience as both an athlete and coach.  After a successful swimming career at Ball State University, Maria became the head coach of the men's and women's varsity swimming teams at Frankfort high school where she taught PE and Health. In addition to her high school coaching responsibilities, Maria led a satellite team of Sugar Creek Swimming Club in the summers as a Head Coach.   Maria now resides in Evansville IN where she came to be closer to family.   Maria married, Brian Heathcott in October 2017 and welcomed their first child, Gunner, January 2020.  In addition to being a wife and mom, she is a PE/Health teacher at St. Ben's School and coaches Rolling Hills Swim Team in her summers.  Maria leads the adult swim fit group at Castle High School three times a week and offers private swim instruction.  She also co-owns faith2tri LLC where she coaches triathletes on a daily basis.   She is an avid athlete and loves to help others reach his/her goals.    She is passionate about her faith, family, and friends.   

Why do you love to coach?

I have been passionate about athletics since I was young.  I swam competitively since I was 8 years old for JAWS club in Jasper, IN.  I continued my swim career in college for 4 years at Ball State University.  Since graduating, I have embarked on triathlons and coaching adults.   I have had much help along my athletic journey and want to help others enjoy the lifelong sport of swimming! 

Favorite Quote:

 “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” Phil 3:17

PJ Rice Assistant Coach - Middle School

Education and Certifications:

  • Bachelors Degree: Elementary Education and Physical Science – USI
  • Red Cross Water Safety Instructor

Accomplishments:

  • Proud son and husband
  • Coached multiple individual high point winners and City Championship relays within the Evansville department of parks and recreation city league.
  • Current LTS instructor and Sea Serpents coach for Newburgh Sea Creatures helping many swimmers have fun while pursuing their goals in the sport.

 

Background

PJ Rice started swimming for Lorraine swim team for the Evansville Department of Parks and Recreation when he was eight years old and continued to swim for them until he went on to high school. As a freshman at Bosse High School, he swam for Mike Chapman. During the summers, he lifeguarded for the Evansville Parks Department and swam for the Greater Evansville Aquatic Team.

After graduating high school, PJ went on to study elementary education at the University of Southern Indiana and during the summers he coached for Howell Swim Team where he truly found a love and joy for coaching the sport to younger people.

In 2016, he met his beautiful future wife Jerrica and in July 2017 were married in New Harmony Indiana.

 

Why do you love to coach?

Coaching gives me the opportunity to combine two of my favorite things: working with kids and swimming. I’ve always had a passion for working with kids and getting to mentor them whether in church, classroom, or in the pool. To me, coaching isn’t simply a job but something I love doing. I am blessed and thankful to be able to guide swimmers to reaching their goals and watch as they grow.

 

Favorite quotes:

“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” —John Wooden

 

‎”Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself-and be lenient to everybody else.” —Henry Ward Beecher

Board of Directors