All University City Swim Club coaches are certified by USA swimming and have years of teaching, coaching, and skills instruction experience. Read below to find out more about our awesome coaches and what drives them to help others through swimming.

Justin Stafford, Level 3 Youth Coach

Justin Stafford was a competitive swimmer for 20 years and has been a coach for 10 years.  He works with our Level 3 swimmers, helping them to fine-tune their strokes and to gain endurance and strength.  As a coach, he particularly enjoys building a strong relationship of respect and trust with his swimmers and seeing them achieve more than they thought was possible.  Coach Justin has served as the Aquatics Director at the O’Fallon Family YMCA, head water polo coach at Chaminade College Preparatory School, head swim coach at Foothill Area Swim Team in California, and coached and taught swimming lessons to hundreds of kids over the years.  About joining UCity Swim Club’s coaching team, Justin says, “I am looking forward to helping kids grow, become good swimmers and better human beings through the love of swimming.”

Jon Lane, Level 3 Substitute Youth Coach

Jon Lane grew up at the Natatorium, swimming for UCity Swim Club for many years and later served as the club’s head coach for five years.  In addition to swimming, Jon has competed in triathlons and marathons. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his daughter and taking long walks with his wife and dogs.  As a coach, his passion is to see kids improve and have fun doing it.


Mary Nani Lhotak, Level 1 Youth Coach, Adult Masters Coach

Ever since I was on a swim team, starting at age 10, I have been interested in the science of swimming. I have been teaching swimming since age 15, and I love seeing people learn how to successfully move their bodies in water. Everyone needs some form of an outlet, and water can be an incredible one -- for relaxation, therapy, mental fitness, and physical fitness. The knowledge of water safety and learning how to swim should be available to everyone, and I feel a responsibility to share it. When people have the means to protect themselves and their loved ones, we can change the story in families and over generations to be safe and comfortable around water.


Ryan Lutker, Level 2 Youth Coach

I have been around the water ever since I was little. I swam competitively year-round for several years when I was young and loved it. My high school job was as a swim instructor, and I got to see swimming in a new way: as a swim instructor I became interested in the learning process, and enjoyed helping young people learn a new skill. When I moved away to college, I decided to study elementary education. I continued to teach swim lessons when I was in town on school breaks. I love to teach because new knowledge and skills are empowering, and I believe that with guidance and support everyone is capable of learning. This is also why I love coaching – the ability to swim is empowering, and I believe that everyone is capable of learning to swim. Now that I am graduating and am moving back to the St. Louis area to teach, I am excited to be a coach for University City Swim Club, since swim team is where it all started for me.


Doni Causey, Administrator

Doni Causey works full-time in communications and marketing and joins UCSC as a part-time administrator. She holds a master's degree in marketing from Webster University and a bacehlor's degree in finance from the University of Missouri in Columbia. In her spare time, Doni loves to travel and volunteer. She has been a Big in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program since June 2011 and she coached four seasons of Girls on the Run. About joining UCSC, Doni says, “I am excited to meet the swimmers and families and work with the coaches and board members to help continue the success of the club.”

John Ruland, Junior Coach

John Ruland attends University City High School, and Heman Park and the Natatorium have been part of his life since the beginning.  As a swimmer at UCSC throughout middle school, John learned to love swimming. Being a junior coach means that he can give back to the incredible athletes, parents, and coaches that made UCSC memorable for me. About coaching for UCSC, John says, “I love coming to the pool for the kids, who all excel in their own ways and work hard to get better. They make me proud every time I see them.”