Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Marjorie Sherard Head Coach/Head Age Group Coach

Marjorie grew up swimming in the KC metro area at age 7 and began swimming year-round at age 14.  She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1988 with a BA in Early Childhood Education.  After coaching summer recreational swim teams during college, Marjorie began her professional swim coaching career in the San Diego area in 1990.

While moving around the country with her husband Jackson (now retired from the US Marine Corps!), Marjorie continued to coach and teach in elementary schools. Marjorie returned to full-time club coaching in the KC area in 2009 and joined Empire KC in 2017.  Coaching with Empire KC is her dream job, as she gets to work with the Board of Directors, Coach Carmen, the assistant coaches, and the swimmers and families to continue Empire's growth as a team known for its commitment to character and fast swimming!  Marjorie coaches the Varsity, Gold, and Red groups in Missouri.  

Marjorie has served in several Missouri Valley positions, including Scheduling Chair, Zone coach, All Star coach, Diversity Camp and Meet coach, Operational Risk Chair, and now as Technical Planning Chair.  Marjorie has twice been named Missouri Valley Age Group Coach of the Year, as voted by her coaching peers.  Marjorie has also served as an assistant coach at USA Swimming's Central Zone Select Camp.  

Marjorie and Jackson have 2 grown children, Spencer and Dana.  Their grandchildren Scout and Sage are the light of their lives!  

 

Carmen Menges Head Senior/NFG Coach

Carmen swam as a youth in summer league, club swimming, and high school swimming.  A KU graduate, Carmen has a BA in Human Biology with a minor in physics and a minor in chemistry.  Carmen is married to Jim, and they have two children, Jacob, 19, and Macie, 15.  In her spare time, Coach Carmen loves to run, bike, swim, play basketball, watch basketball, play volleyball; she loves sports. AND, she claims to be a very good pogo stick jumper who plans to set a record one day!

On deck, Carmen has devoted her time tirelessly to this swim team, working with all groups and doing whatever was necessary.  She now works primarily with the Senior and National Focus groups.

Thomas Baumann Senior / National Coach

Thomas Bauman joined the Empire KC staff in August 2021 after very successful tenures in Springfield, MO and Columbia, MO.  

Coached four 18 & under Olympic Trials qualifiers, 2019-2021 • Springfield Aquatics denoted Silver Medal Club by USA Swimming, 2020 & 2021 • Coached two athletes 18 & under World 100 Ranking swimmers, 2019-2020 • Arkansas LSC Coach of the Year, 2019 & 2020 • Three-time National

Thomas joined the Empire KC staff in August, 2021 after very successful tenures in Springfield, MO and Columbia, MO.  His philosophy and goals match those of Empire KC, and with Thomas on staff, our team is moving to the next level in swimming excellence. 

Thomas has a BA in Fine Arts in 2008 from the University of Missouri, where he was a 4-year scholarship swimmer.  Thomas also earned his Masters Degree in Positive Coaching and Athletic Leadership from the University of Missouri. 

While at Springfield, Thomas was incredibly successful:

  • Coached four 18 & under Olympic Trials qualifiers, 2019-2021
  • His club earned Silver Medal Club recognition as awarded by USA Swimming, 2020 & 2021
  • Coached two athletes to 18 & under World 100 Ranking swimmers, 2019-2020
  • He was voted Arkansas LSC Coach of the Year, 2019 & 2020
  • He coached a 3-time National Select Camp invitee, 2014, 2017, and 2019 

Thomas is primarily working with the National and Missouri Senior group.  He and his wife Val have 2 young sons.  

 

Deidre Peterson Assistant Coach

Coach Deidre grew up in Topeka Kansas. She started her swimming career at the Lawrence Aquahawks. As a freshman she swam for the University of Kansas, then transferred to Drury University for her sophomore year. At Drury she was apart of the National team for three years. She was an All American while swimming at Drury. She graduated majoring in Elementary Education. She then became the graduate assistant for Drury's swim team, helping coach two more National teams to victory both years. She graduated with a masters degree in Special Education. During the summers she helped coach Springfield Aquatics and summer league teams in the area.

 
She then began teaching in the Springfield area and also coaching two different high school teams. She and her husband Nathan relocated to Kansas City where she coached the Olathe South swim team.  In addition to coaching, Deidre stays home with their young son Colin.  
 
Deidre enjoys all things sports related! She loves the Kansas Jayhawks!  She still swims and also enjoys running, lifting, and of course spending time with her four favorite guys, as well as her two dogs Duke and Speedo.  (Yes, she has a dog name Speedo!) 
William Morrow Assistant Coach

Henry has been coaching for more than 40 years.  He is a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and he graduated with Bachelors and Masters degrees from Eastern Carolina University.  He spent 25 years coaching in Atlanta, GA for Swim Atlanta, where some of his age group swimmers went on to become national record holders and Olympians. In 2004, he relocated to the Kansas City area, coaching for the Kansas City Blazers, retiring in 2016.  His passion for swimming would not allow him to stay out of the sport, and he returned to the pool deck, this time for Empire KC. Henry works primarily with the Black group in Missouri, and he assists with the National and Senior groups in Missouri.  

Henry now lives in Louisburg, KS with his 2 dogs, Boo and LS.  In his spare time, Henry enjoys making marbles—no kidding—and sometimes awards those creations to the swimmers. 

Christina Copeland Assistant Coach

Chris was born in Colorado and grew up in Overland Park.  She began swimming at the age of 6 at a local country club in the Mo-Kan league and later year round at KCAC Swim Club.  Chris began coaching for Johnson County  Parks & Recreation in the late 70s and through college. After college she worked in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly 30 years and returned to her passion of coaching in 2010.  Chris currently coaches the boys and girls high school teams at Shawnee Mission South and all age groups during summers at Brookridge Country Club.  At Empire, she coaches primarily the Red and Black groups in Olathe.  She is honored to be a part of Empire!!!!  

Katarina Sickle Assistant Coach

Katt grew up in Grain Valley, MO. She started swimming at 7 years old for the YMCA Penguins and then joined a local USA Swimming club for 10 years. After high school she swam at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 2012-2018. While she was there she was a four-time academic All-Big Ten, and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. She was on the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll from the fall of 2012 to spring of 2018. In 2014 and 2015 Katt received the Nebraska Big Ten Sportsmanship’s Award. Katt was also the recipient of the Nebraska Sam Foltz Hero 27 Leadership Award in 2017, and the Nebraska Heart & Soul Award in 2018. Katt qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trails in the 400 freestyle. She graduated from Nebraska in 2016 with her Bachelors in Elementary Education. She furthered her education by receiving her Masters in Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education with and emphasis in English Language Leaners as well as Technology Leadership in 2018 from Nebraska. She is currently a 2nd grade teacher in the Independence School District. She enjoys swimming, running, working out, and riding her bike. She loves being outside, doing any outdoor activity, reading, and hanging out with family and friends. 

Katt works primarily with the Red group in Missouri. 

Leslie Stikeleather Assistant Coach

Leslie Stikeleather primarily coaches Empire KC's Black group in Missouri.  In addition to her Empire coaching duties, she is an elementary Physical Education teacher in the Independence School District with 23 years experience.  She serves as an assistant coach for the  Lee's Summit High School boys and girls swim teams and also coaches in the summer for a local recreational swim team.  She and her husband Rob have 3 children who are members of Empire KC.  In her spare time, Leslie enjoys watching her kids swim, spending time with family, gardening, and drinking tons of coffee on her days off work while listening to music. 

Nancy Tjaden Assistant Coach

Nancy grew up swimming in the KC area with recreational, high school, and club teams.  Nancy joined the Empire KC staff in 2015 and now primarily works with the Gold group in Missouri.  She has been teaching Psychology and AP Psychology at Olathe East High School for 27 years.  She and her husband Greg have two boys; Harry and Luke.  Harry swims for Empire’s National group.  She has been coaching for 30+ years for summer teams, as a head high school coach, and with USA clubs.  

Kerri Gray Assistant Coach

Kerri grew up in Sleepy Hollow, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She currently lives with her husband Phil and four daughters, Alison, Jennifer, Katie, and Sammie, in Lee’s Summit. Kerri swam in high school and then collegiately at Northeast Missouri State University. She completed her swimming career at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Her biggest swimming accomplishment is swimming at the collegiate level after undergoing surgery to remove half of her lung due to pneumonia.

Outside the pool, Kerri is a Marriage and Family Therapist with 26 years experience.  She spends time facilitating educational programs and workshops on bullying, parenting, conflict resolution and other health and wellness topics mainly in the Lee’s Summit area and throughout the KC Metro.   On deck, she primarily works with the Gold group in Missouri, and the kids LOVE to receive her character coins!

Gregory Kristoff Assistant Coach

Greg grew up in Ballwin, Missouri and swam for both Parkway and Rockwood Swim Clubs from middle school thru college.  He attended Parkway West High School and competed in water polo and swimming all four years, serving as team captain of both sports his Senior year, and helped his team win the State swimming championship in 1993.  He attended Northeast Missouri State University/Truman State where he was an All-American and school record holder in multiple events, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science/Health Education.  For three summers during college he worked at the University of Texas swim camps learning from some of the best coaches in the world. 

After college, he attended Texas Christian University and served as a graduate assistant coach for two years while earning a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology.  From there he went on to coach full-time with the men’s team at the University of Kansas for one year, and then with the women’s team at Rice University for five years.  While at Rice he had the privilege of coaching NCAA All-Americans, Olympic Trial qualifiers, and a U.S. National Team member.  During the summers in Houston, he was head coach of a 200 plus member summer league team. He also helped start Rice Aquatics, a year-round USA swimming program, which is still in existence today.

After moving back to Kansas City in 2007 to be closer to family, he took a break from full-time coaching and went back to school to earn a Doctorate degree in physical therapy.  He currently works for a large home health company in the Kansas City area. 

He and his wife Andrea have been married for 19 years and have two children, Keaton (who swims for Empire KC) and Avery, and a dog Sadie.  Greg continues to train regularly with the masters swim team at the Jewish Community Center and is a Missouri Valley Masters age group record holder in the 100 back. 

Anthony Rezek Assistant Coach
Tony learned to swim at 8 years old in Mtn. View, MO. In the summers he and his brother would ride their bicycles over miles of gravel roads to the pool every single day. He enjoyed competing in the small town summer league for a few years before moving to Lincoln, NE where he could try out high school swimming. He managed to earn a handful of state medals, and break a few school records, one of which still stands today. He went on to swim at Henderson State University, and after earning NAIA All American status his first year, he chose to transfer to the University of Nebraska. There he contributed to a team that consistently ranked in the top 15 nationally. 
 
A few years after college, Tony tried masters swimming. He competed locally as much as he could, and even traveled to a handful major championships, winning events at USMS Nationals seven times.
 
Tony earned his degree in Construction Management, and has been working in the construction industry for over 25 years. He's worked on hundreds of interesting projects, but his favorite has to be the arena and convention center in Omaha, NE that has hosted US Olympic Trials for swimming since 2008, even though nobody at the time had any idea they would ever put a pool in that facility.   
 
Tony lives in a house full of swimmers. He met his wife Stacy at a masters swim practice at Roeland Park Aquatic Center. His son Evan is swimming at Valparaiso University, and his youngest son Quin finally tried swim team for the first time at Olathe West. Stacy and Evan also teach swim lessons in the backyard pool during the summers.
 
Recently Tony realized that coaching swimming is something he needs to be doing. He found that the culture and philosophies at Empire are exactly what he thinks a swim team should be.
Timothy Bruck Assistant Coach

Coach Tim is excited to be on deck with Empire KC as the Head Site Coach for Olathe, working wtih all the groups there.  He has a passion for the sport of swimming and the valuable life lessons it teaches.  He has competed in USA swimming and the collegiate levels of swimming, as well competing in the Half Ironman triathlon circuit.  He also serves on deck as a USA Swimming Official with more than 10 years' experience.  “I am excited to work with your young athletes and the excellent Empire KC coaching staff.  My commitment to you is to work with your child to develop exceptional water abilities, sportsmanship, build character, and a passion for lifelong fitness/competition."

Tim and his wife Marcelle have 4 children:  Sam, Marie, Sophie, and Penny. 

Board of Directors