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Coaches and Board Members

Coaching Staff
John Fodell Head Coach

John Fodell enters his 13th year as Head Coach of the Grosse Pointe Gators. While with the Gators, John’s swimmers have won numerous State, Sectional, NCSA, and Junior National titles, and dozens have continued their swimming careers collegiately at Division I, II, and III Universities and Colleges. In 2016, the Gators had 2 swimmers qualify for the Olympic Trials. One of those swimmers swam in the semi-finals of the 200 Breast and moved on to swim for Team USA in the 2016 Junior Pan Pac Championships, in which he won the 100 Breast. This was accomplished under John's tutelage. During John's tenure as Head Coach, the number of JO, State, Sectional, Junior National, and National level swimmers has grown dramatically. John was named the Michigan Swimming 2016 Coach Of The Year and 2018 MISCA Coach of the Year for South Girls.

John has been coaching for 15 years. He has served as Head Coach for the Grosse Pointe Shores Sharks in the LFSA League, where he was also the Parks and Recreation Director. He then became Head Coach at Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in the MICSA league. John is in his second year as Head Coach of the South High School girls and boys swim teams after assisting the teams for 10 years.

John earned his masters degree in adaptive physical education from Western Michigan University in 2007 and completed his degree in Physical Education from Albion College in 2006. As a Grosse Pointe South High School graduate, John was a member of the National Honors Society and was Student Athlete of the Year in 2002. At Albion he earned four varsity letters in swimming and three in tennis. Swimming at Albion John held five school records, served as team captain and was named MVP for the 2005-06 season. John was also a three-time All-MIAA swimmer and honored as a NCAA Division III All-American swimmer in 2006. John served as a graduate assistant at Albion, teaching college recreation classes, as well as overseeing the healthy lifestyles program for the developmentally impaired.

John is the lead coach for our Carbon, Ultra - Sprint, Ultra and Elite groups.

Nicholas Rancilio Age Group Coach
Nick Rancilio has been coaching in the Lakefront Swimming Association for the past 5 years. He spent 3 years with the SCS Sea Serpents and the past 2 with the GPW Warriors. Nick is also the Assitant Coach for the GP North HS Girls Team. Nick began his swimming career in 2006 at the age of 10 for the St. Clair Shores Sea Serpents and continued swimming throughout high school at De La Salle and the Gators. Nick attended Macomb Community College and Michigan State University. Nick joined the Gators in May of 2017.
Nick is the Lead Coach for the Glide, Core, Green, Pink and Sonic groups.
Benjamin Van Vechten Assistant Age Group Coach

Ben is starting his first year as a coach with the Gators. He started swimming in the Lakefront Swimming Association when he was 8, and joined the Gators when he was 13. Ben enjoys helping others understand more about the sport, and loves seeing hard work and dedication pay off. He is currently studying engineering at Macomb Community College.

Ben assists with all groups.

Chris Dirkse Assistant Age Group Coach
Coach Dirkse came to us after four years as the Head Coach of the Dearborn Dolphins. He was a four-year Varsity Letter winner and Senior Captain at East Kentwood in High School. Coach Dirkse began his swim coaching career in 2003 as a volunteer assistant for the East Kentwood Boys High School team. From there he moved on to a Varsity Assistant Coaching Position at Rockford High School where he met his wife, Mrs. Dirkse, the Principal at Pierce Middle School. He swam with the Western Michigan University Swim Club in College. Coach Dirkse’s first USA Swim Coaching experience was with the Rockford Riptide as an Assistant Coach in 2005. He has been the Head Coach of the Kentwood Aquatics Club, as well as the Byron Center Dawgs in the Grand Rapids area. Coach Dirkse has recently relocated to the Grosse Pointe Area from West Michigan and is looking forward to getting to know and working with the families of the Grosse Pointe Gators.
Liz Nelson Age Group Coach

Liz has been involved with swimming her whole life. Her love of swimming began when her mom signed her up to swim with an AAU Swim Club, where she competed for 10 years.  In a career that has spanned over 25 years, Liz has served as a coach for Pointe Aquatics, Aquatic Supervisor for Grosse Pointe Community Education, the inaugural coach for the University of Ligget HS Swim Team, and Assistant Coach for the GP North HS Swim Team. Liz is currently the Pool Manager and Head Coach for the Country Club of Detroit in the MICSA League.

She believes it’s very important for all people to be physically fit, and she spends a lot of her free time pursuing an active lifestyle: running, swimming and letting off a "little steam" in the weight room are some of her favorite pastimes.

Stacy Malinova Age Group Coach
Andy Montague Age Group Coach
Board Members
Janel Nugent President
Wendy Ching Vice President
Nicola Yabsley Treasurer
Beth Newhart Secretary
Marshall Irby Board Member
Song Li Board Member
Matthew Angelocci Board Member
Alison Hobson Board Member
Leah Mannino Board Member
Erica Johnson Board Member
Jessica Bryan Board Member
Tish Hasting Board Member
Katie Chapman Board Member