SJAC Coaching Staff 


Peter Holcroft  SJAC Head Coach, Director of Competitive Swimming, Platinum Head Coach

Pete brings a strong swimming background to our team. He was a four-year college swimmer and record-holder at the University of Delaware where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Health and Physical Education.  Pete started his first swim team at the CCY, which is now Giant Fitness (a satellite location for SJAC)!  His first team started with 40 swimmers that practiced 2x/week.  Within 2 years, he had grown his program to over 250 swimmers!   When the YMCA where he was swimming went bankrupt in 2008, he created SJAC and in 2016, built the NL Aquatic Center where the team now swims.  Pete has coached swimmers at all levels, from beginning swimmers to those at the Olympic level.  In addition to his NJ club teams, Pete has coached the Delaware Otters, Barclay Farms Swim Club, Deerbrook Swim Club and has been a guest coach and speaker for USA swimming camps. Pete is currently level 4 ASCA certified and has coached numerous Top 16 and All-American swimmers.


Louis Petto  Director of Athlete Development

Petto comes to the program with almost 30 years of experience, most recently at Greater Somerset County YMCA as the Competitive Aquatic Director and National Team Coach. At Greater Somerset, Petto’s team was ranked 17th in USA Swimming’s VCC for the 2021-2022 season. His girls team took 1st place overall at the 2022 Short Course YMCA Nationals and the combined team took 2nd. He also placed 2 girls to this year’s USA Swimming Junior Pan Pac Team.

Prior to his time at Greater Somerset, Petto spent 7 years at Upper Main Line YMCA as the Competitive Aquatic Director. During his time at UMLY, Petto produced the number one high school recruit in 2019, Brendan Burns. Burns was a member of the 2019 USA Swimming National Junior Team that competed at the World Junior Championships in Budapest and is now swimming at Indiana University under Ray Looze. UMLY was a multi-year USA Swimming Silver medal team during Lou’s tenure.

Since 2013 Petto has been a part of the US Paralympic National Team Coaching Staff and has helped coach these athletes all over the world for Championships and Paralympic Games. He was a member of the 2016 Paralympic Games coaching staff in Rio.


Amanda Martin  Platinum Assistant Coach 

My philosophy as a coach was shaped by how I was taught how to swim and obviously my experiences as a swimmer. My Mom taught all four of us to swim at a young age when we were living in Africa. This was for safety. When my brother and I started winter swimming at 11 and 12 years old, we had to unlearn old habits as we were not taught the fundamentals. This shaped my view of how young, developing age groupers should be taught – learn how to push off the wall streamlined and kicking, develop the kick of every stroke, embrace all 4 strokes and learn how to listen. I strongly believe in these facets for developing swimmers. Seasoned and elite swimmers still need to focus on the little things that make them better: starts, turns and finishes as well as a strong kick and practices where speed, tempo and distance all play a role.

As a swimmer, I’m a member of the Cherokee HS Hall of Fame, Jersey Wahoos Swim Club Hall of Fame, and the Southern Illinois University Hall of Fame. It has been a privilege to be a NJ State swimming champion, high school All-American and 13-time Division 1 All-American at SIU. I have participated in the Olympic Trials and a few National Sports Festivals as well as completed 3 Ironman triathlons and a Boston marathon.

I currently work part-time in IT at Stockton University supporting the HR/Payroll system. My husband, Steve, and our daughter, Heather, currently swim in the SJAC program. Our other daughter, Kerry, runs cross country and track at Cherokee. It’s a pleasure to be a part of the SJAC family.


George Willard  Platinum Assistant Coach 

Coach George grew up in South Jersey and swam for both Jersey Wahoos and Riverdel Swim Club. As a swimmer, he set numerous club, Tri-County, and Middle Atlantic Swimming records. George was a BCSL first-team all-star all four years of high school and a Junior National and Senior National championship finalist. Coach George was a four-year letterman and ACC scholar-athlete at Florida State University. He was captain of the FSU team in 1993. He is now in his 30th year of coaching.

His first coaching job came for the Willingboro Park League while in high school. While in college Coach George assisted in the running of the Nike Swim Camps at Florida State and coached the Maclay School of Tallahassee. While earning a Master’s degree at the University of West Florida Coach George served as head age group coach and Masters's Team coach of the Greater Pensacola Aquatic Club (GPAC). There he coached several Southeastern Swimming Champions and NAG TOP 16 swimmers. During this time he served as a zone All-Star coach for Southeastern Swimming. While still in Pensacola he coached Washington High School to a state AAA district championship, several individual district AAA champions, and Florida State Championships finalists.

Upon returning to New Jersey, Coach George returned to coaching at Jersey Wahoos and Wexford Leas of the Tri-County League. While with Wexford Coach George’s teams earned two division titles and swam to a 19-6 record in five years. Swimmers under Coach George also set several Tri-County records and earned several gold medals. Following his time at Wexford, Coach George spent 4 seasons with Woodbine of the Tri-County Swimming Association. In 2014 Coach George joined the staff at Pomona. As assistant coach Pomona achieved a 19-1 record and won three division championships, a Burlington County Championship, and Tri-County Championship. In 13 years of coaching tri-county swimming, he has a 48-17 record as head and assistant coach. During this time George served as National Team assistant coach and Senior Prep head coach at Jersey Wahoos.

In the Winter of 2014-15, George left Wahoos and coached St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia. His team went 9-3 placing second in the Philadelphia Catholic League. During his first season, 9 swimmers made first-team All- PCL and 4 swimmers made Scholastic All- America. In 2015, George returned to Jersey Wahoos to work with senior-level swimmers. He has been the head coach of the senior group at the now three-year-old Voorhees satellite program. He grew the program from 8 swimmers to a group of 40, consisting of 13 NCSA Junior National qualifiers and over 30 Middle Atlantic Senior Championship qualifiers in his last season.

During his tenure with SJAC, he has coached with the Platinum Group for the past 4 seasons. During this time SJAC won its first Middle Atlantic Senior Championship and had several individual champions. In 2021, several Platinum swimmers finaled at Speedo National Championships in Greensboro, NC. Coach George lives with his wife, Danielle, and children, Campbell, George, and Sam in Delran. He has taught in the Maple Shade School District since 2001.


Mike Simunek  Senior Head Coach

Mike is a long-time South Jersey swimmer. His career began at Willowdale (Tri-County) where he started as an 8-under. He continued swimming through high school with the Platinum group and Cherry Hill East. He finished his swimming career with a strong 4 years at Rowan University, swimming under coach Brad Bowser.  While at Rowan, Mike received Academic All-American, and All-American honors after competing at NCAAs his Junior and Senior year and held 5 school records at the time of graduation. Soon after, he earned his masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University with a focus in Solids/ Mechanics of Materials. Along with coaching the Senior group, he works for the Navy in the propulsion machinery department where he spends his time “fixing ships”.

Mike has spent many years in the pool and on deck coaching/giving lessons and uses his knowledge of competitive swimming to develop practices aimed at developing all areas of a diverse swimmer. A true motivator, he uses modern coaching techniques to refine strokes of each individual swimmer with the goal of achieving their full performance potential.


Joe Kuder  Gold Select Elite Head Coach 

Joe Kuder grew up swimming at the age of 7 at Sunnybrook Swim Club in Moorestown NJ.  While on the Moorestown High School Swim Team he lead the team as a Captain for 2 years and was a 4-year Varsity Swimmer.  He also swam for BCY where he led the team as a Captain for 2 Years.  After graduating high school, Joe went on to Swim for 4 years at Lycoming College where he was a Captain his Junior and Senior Year.  While in college, Joe was an assistant coach at Sunnybrook Swim Club for 3 years.  During his time at Lycoming College Joe swam primarily Distance Freestyle Events and the 400IM.  Joe Graduated Lycoming College with Honors with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with Concentrations in Marketing and Management. Joe will be entering his 10th year coaching at SJAC.  Since joining SJAC, Joe has coached the Bronze, Silver, Gold, Gold Select, and Gold Select Elite Groups.


RT Greeby  Gold Select I Head Coach 

RT brings a strong understanding and commitment to the SJAC philosophy, having past experience as a national swimmer and coach under Pete Holcroft. He takes pride in his swimmer's success in and out of the pool. He has experience coaching all group levels at SJAC during his tenure. He currently teaches health and physical education at Delran Intermediate School in Delran, New Jersey. He is an ASCA level 3 Swim Coach. RT graduated from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education. He was a four-year varsity swimmer, multiple All-Conference award winner and a quad captain his senior year. 

He has coached all levels of swimming ranging from beginners to National qualifiers. Other coaching experiences prior to SJAC have included Tri-County swimming and USA Swimming. He served as an assistant coach at Barclay Farm Swim Club under Pete Holcroft and Express Swimming, located in Princeton, NJ, as a head age group coach. In 2020 RT retired after 17 years as the Head Coach at Haddon Glen Swim Club located in Haddon Heights, NJ. He helped take Haddon Glen from 100 swimmers to over 275 total swimmers along with three division championships and multiple individual and relay Tri-County champions.


Chris Howie  Gold I Head Coach 

Chris Howie has been the head swim coach at Fox Hollow since 2007.  He swam 4 years for Kutztown University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in history.  During the winter, Chris was the head swim coach of Cherry Hill Aquatics and was a satellite coach for TWAC under Nancy Pegues. In 2019, Chris joined SJAC as the head coach of the gold group.


Tom Wilkinson  Gold Select Elite Assistant Coach 

Coach Tom assists with the Gold Select and Gold Select Elite groups. Coach Tom previously served as the Learn to Swim director of the Pheasant Run Flyers from 1991-2009. Over this time period, he was also the head coach (2001-2009) and primary assistant coach (1991- 2000) of the team. Under Coach Tom's leadership, the Pheasant Run Flyers won 17 "A" division championships, 15 Burlington County championships and 14 Tri-County championships.

 

Before coaching at SJAC, He was one of the head coaches of the PRSC United States Swimming program from the 1990s until the spring of 2020. He also coached the girls’ varsity team at Lenape High School from 1999 until 2004, receiving the BCT High School Swimming Coach of the Year award in 2003. More recently, Coach Tom was recognized as a 2015 Philadelphia Phillies All Star Teacher Honorable Mention for his efforts in both the pool and at school.

 

In 1997, Coach Tom established a year-round (fall, winter, and spring) Learn to Swim program based out of the Moorestown Community House. This program ran until the spring of 2016. Coach Tom has taught swim lessons for the past thirty-six years. During the day, Coach Tom is the technology coordinator for the Lumberton Township School District. Outside of school and swimming, Coach Tom is the proud father of two girls and two boys. All four of them swim for the South Jersey Aquatic Club. Coach Tom graduated from Northwestern University. in 1996 with a degree in secondary education.


Chris Gaffney  Silver I Head Coach & Platinum Assistant Coach 

Chris comes with many years of coaching experience across all levels of the sport of swimming. He grew up in the South Jersey area and went on to swim at Southern Illinois University where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education Teacher Education with a minor in Coaching. After earning his bachelor's Degree, he stayed on at SIU as the Graduate-Assistant Swimming & Diving Coach while he earned his Masters Degree in Kinesiology (M.S.), with a specialization in Sport Psychology and Exercise Science. 

Upon graduation, Chris had the opportunity to coach and teach in Phuket, Thailand. He was the Head Age Group Coach at Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club and then went on to be the Assistant High-Performance Swim Coach & Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the British International School in Phuket. During this time, Chris's athletes brought in more than 60 National Records across 7 countries, had athletes participate in the Youth Olympic Games, Southeast Asian Games, World Championships and the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. He also gave a presentation on Strength & Conditioning in Youth and Senior Sports at the Southeast Asia Heads of Physical Education Conference in 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. 

In 2015, Chris returned back to the US where he was named the Associate Head Coach & Head Conditioning Coach at Jersey Wahoos Swim Club where he remained for 4 years. During his time, he helped develop 1 All-American, 6 US Olympic Trial Qualifiers, 9 Senior National Qualifiers, and 48 Junior National Qualifiers. He also assisted in the devleopment of 4 swimmers who were named to the USA Scholastic All-American Team and 1 swimmer who was named the USA 18-Under World 100 List in 2018. Since joining SJAC in 2019, he has helped SJAC's growth and development into a Top 50 Team in the USA Swimming Virtual Club Championship Rankings and win their 1st Middle Atlantic Senior Championship.

Chris is an ASCA (USA) Level 4 as well as an ASCTA (Australia) Silver Level Swim Coach. Chris is a coach for both the Platinum and Silver Groups and he also teaches Health and Physical Education in the Winslow Township School District.


Kait Richter Silver I Assistant Coach 

Kait started swimming at Downs Farm Swim Club. When she was eight, she began swimming under Coach Pete Holcroft at CCY, later becoming SJAC until she was 18 years old. She also swam for four years at Bishop Eustace Prep. Kait went onto study Elementary Education and Special Education at Loyola University Maryland. While at Loyola, she also swam as a Lady H2ound, becoming a four-year varsity swimmer and holding the team record in the 200 yard butterfly. Kait now works as an early childhood special education teacher at the Delaware Autism Program.
 


Kristin Davis Bronze Head Coach 

Coach Kristin began swimming when she was 5 years old in Virginia.  She competed at the national level holding many age group records. She went on to swim for JMU where she was a conference champion.  Kristin graduated from JMU with degrees in Public Relations, Psychology, and Early Childhood Education.  She taught 1st grade in Virginia then moved to New Jersey where she began teaching 2nd grade and coached Tavistock Hills Swim Team. She then started a family of her own and stayed home to raise her 4 children before just recently going back to teaching 2nd grade.


Joe Fitzgerald  Gold Select II & Senior II Group Head Coach 

Hello all SJAC swimmers and families! My name is Joseph Fitzgerald and I am thrilled to be the Head Coach of Gold Select II & Senior II along with being the Coordinator of the II Group Program here at South Jersey Aquatic Club. I grew up swimming for Pomona Swim Club, then swam competitively throughout high school and college. I graduated from Temple University with a bachelor's degree in Accounting in 2020. While at Temple, I was Treasurer for the Club Swim Team in 2017, and President from 2018-2020. I have been coaching swimming for the last 7 years, at Pomona Swim Club, Father Judge High School, and Jersey Wahoo’s. This will be my 3rd year being the Head Coach for the Gold Select II & Senior II Group at South Jersey Aquatic Club. I am really looking forward to this upcoming season. I am sure it will be filled with success, fun, and amazing memories. Roll Gators!