Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Jay Thiltgen ACE Head Coach/ Seniors Coach

Jay has been coaching for 20+ years with experience at levels ranging from summer league to college.  He is a graduate of the University of South Dakota where he was a four year letter winner and two year captain of the men's swim program.  Following his swimming tenure, he was a volunteer assistant with the Coyotes, were he was able to work with numerous All-Americans and a national champion.  He also assisted with the Yankton-Vermillion Area Swim Team where he was an age-group coach.

In 2000, Jay returned to coaching in Omaha, where he was the assistant coach of the Omaha Burke Men's team with head coach Rich Hood.  While working with the men's program, he was able to work with numerous state qualifiers, All-Americans and Academic All-Americans.  Jay took over as head women's coach in 2002. From 2002-2010, he coached State Champions and All-Americans, and he had at least two Academic All-Americans every year during that period.

Jay began as an assistant coach for ACE in 2009, and became the head coach in 2011.  During his tenure, the club has grown from 80 swimmers to over 200, and he has coached state champions, All-Americans, sectional qualifiers, and junior national swimmers.

In 2013, Coach Thiltgen was inducted into the Metropolitan Conference Swimming Hall of Fame, and in 2018 he was nominated by his peers as the Midwestern Swimming Senior Coach of the Year.

Jay is an art teacher at Elkhorn High School, and he is the head coach of the Stormin' Antlers women's swim program, after having been the assistant to both the men and women since 2010.  Jay and his wife Shawna live in Bennington with their two daughters, Grace and Charlotte.

Kim Berndt Performers Coaching Director

Coach Kim started her swimming career in Upstate New York.  Her swimming career led her to the University of Miami in Florida where she was awarded a full scholarship.  At the University of Miami she competed at the Division I NCAAs where she finaled.  She took a year off of school to travel back to New York to train under her home coach and swim team.  Coach Kim has competed all over the United States and has competed in different countries representing the United States of America in many prestigious International meets.

Her love of swimming drew her into coaching.  After her college career was completed, she continued to train and started coaching and teaching for her club coach in Miami, Florida.  Coach Kim taught children from 2 years old to 9 years old how to swim for years after graduating from the University of Miami.  She also coached children from 3 years old to high school aged children.  She helped design a swim camp during the summer while living in Miami, Florida.

Kim and her husband, Lance, live in Omaha with their three children, two of which swim on ACE.  Currently, Coach Kim is enjoying coaching the Challengers.

Eric Samson Challengers Coaching Director

Coach Eric is a 5th grade teacher at Hillside Elementary in Westside Community Schools, and is an assistant swim coach at Westside High School. Starting his club coaching career at Swim Omaha in 2009, he was the lead age group coach there from 2011 to 2019.  In 2012, Eric was awarded the Midwestern Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year.  He has also served as Head Midwestern All Stars coach from 2013-2015, 2018-19 and Head Midwestern Zone coach in 2013 and 2014, as well as an assistant Zone coach in 2012 and 2018.  Eric is a Level 2 Certified coach member of ASCA, and earned his Masters degree in Coach Education from Ohio University.


In high school Eric swam for Swim Omaha and the Westside Warriors.  Like Coach Jay, he competed at the collegiate level for the University of South Dakota. 

Eric is very excited to join ACE and is looking forward to hitting the ground running with the Challengers group!

Caleb Schuermann Seekers Coaching Director

William, aka Caleb, was a part of the Creighton Preparatory swimming dynasty, where he contributed to four straight team championship wins throughout his career there and contributed to a Top 5 finish in the nation for team performance. He was a part of many state records and is the current state record holder in the 500 freestyle from his sophomore season and was a 15+ All-American throughout his four years there. He took his fast-floating ability to the collegiate D1 level and had a successful career there. While he was there, Caleb was a part of a conference championship, he was conference and team record holder, and a two time 1st team All-Conference member. Caleb obtained his degree in general business from Missouri State University.

Currently, Caleb works full time at Medical Solutions.

Carter Kennell Explorers Black Coaching Director

Carter Kennell has been coaching swimming for 9 years. He began as a summer recreational swim team Assistant Coach at Happy Hollow Country Club, later moving on to becoming the Head Coach of Oak Hills Country Club's summers swim team. Carter joined ACE in September of 2015 and is the Head Coach of the Discoverers Group and Assistant for both the Explorers and Challengers Groups.

Carter is a former high school and college swimmer. He swam for Omaha Burke High school under Richard Hood, where he qualified for the Metro Conference Meet all four years and the Nebraska State Meet for three years. After graduation in 2011, Carter went on to compete with the University of Nebraska Lincoln Club Swim team for four years. There he competed in a wide array of meets across the Midwest as well as attending the East Coast Collegiate Club National Championship, sophomore through senior year. 

Carter graduated in December of 2015 from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a Bachelor in Science in Biology with minors in Biochemistry, Math, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. Carter is now a graduate student at the University of Nebraska Omaha where he is pursuing a graduate certificate in Biomedical Studies, after which he plans to apply to Medical School.

Jenna Foiles Explorers Green Coaching Director

Jenna is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico where she was a four-year letterman and was captain her senior year. After high school she attended UNO where she competed on the Women's Swim and Dive team. While apart of the swim team at UNO Jenna competed on conference squad all four years and earned Summit League All-Summit, Academic All-Summit, Academic Honor Roll, Distinguished Scholars and Commissioners Academic Excellence honors. She was the captain her senior year and received the Connie Claussen Senior Career Achievement Award. 

At UNO Jenna received her Bachelors in Elementary Education and Early Childhood and her Masters in Elementary Education and Literacy. She currently teachers 2nd grade in Bennington while and is an assistant coach for the Discovers and Explorers group at ACE. She continues her passion for swimming and competing with the Masters swim program at Common Grounds. 

Ella Hustad Discoverers II Coaching Director

Ella recently joined the ACE coaching staff in the spring of 2017. Before coaching, Ella swam for ACE for many, many years and also swam for the Elkhorn/Elkhorn South Stormin’ Antlers all four years, being a captain her senior year. 

Ella recently started school at UNO where she will be majoring in pre-nursing for two years and then hopefully attend UNMC nursing school. Ella is also a phlebotomist at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. Ella’s younger sister, Isa, also swims for ACE in the Discoverers group. 

Ella says she absolutely loves kids and enjoys coming to coach every week to watch the kids grow more in and out of the water. She says she loves talking to the kids and hearing what they have to say whether it be about swimming or any funny stories they have to tell! 

Viola Currie Discoverers I Coaching Director

Viola is a former ACE swimmer. She swam high school on the Elkhorn/Elkhorn South Swim and Dive team, where she was a team captain her junior and senior year. During her senior year Viola was named Academic All-American.

She currently attends Creighton University, where she is majoring in psychology on the pre-med track. She has coached summer recreational swim team in past summers. She is very excited to get to be on the other side of the pool deck coaching.

Alex Cole Assistant Coach
Alexandra Cole, aka Alex, swam competitively for over 10 years specializing in breaststroke.  Most of her time as a club swimmer was with the Aquatic Club of Elkhorn. She swam for the  Elkhorn Stormin' Antlers High School swim team and she competed at State Championship all four years.. Alex was a team captain both her junior and senior years of high school.
Alex currently attends the University of Nebraska Omaha, where she plans to major in the fine arts. She is also a lifeguard at the UNO.  Alex started coaching in June 2018 after she graduated from Elkhorn High School, and hopes to continue coaching for years to come. 
Evan Persson Assistant Coach

Evan born and raised in Blair, NE started his swimming career at 4 years old for the Blair YMCA Swim Team. He then continued to swim for Blair YMCA until 2010 when he joined ACE. During his Senior year of High School, Evan was also brought on as an Assistant Coach for the Discoverers and Explorers groups. In 2013 Evan graduated from high school and left for Morningside College where he swam for all 4 years for the Morningside Mustangs. During his college swimming career Evan competed at the NAIA Nationals all four years for various events such as, 50 free, 100 free, 100 back, 200 back, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, 400 free relay, 400 medley relay, and 800 free relay.


Evan graduated in May 2017 from Morningside College with a B.S. in Computer Science and a Minor in Business Administration. He is currently employed full time at ACI Worldwide where he holds the position of Associate Application Engineer.


Evan joined the Coaching Staff in the fall of 2017, and is glad to be apart of ACE again.

Michael Stein Assistant Coach

Michael started his swimming career as an age group swimmer with GOAL and was an integral member of the Elkhorn / Elkhorn South high school men’s swim team. He obtained multiple relay and individual school records. He was a 4-year state finalist and medalist with the Elkhorn / Elkhorn South swim team.


After high school, Michael attended La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on an athletic & academic scholarship. During his time at La Salle University, he competed as a 4-year Division 1 - Atlantic 10 Conference student-athlete specializing in backstroke and the individual medley. While at La Salle University he was recognized by the NCAA and was awarded the commissioner's honor roll. After college Michael started working and remained in Philadelphia for an additional 2.5 years.


Currently, Michael works full time at Buildertrend as an S.E.O. Specialist. In 2019 Michael joined the ACE coaching staff to give back to the sport that gave him so much. Michael works for ACE as an assistant coach to Eric Samson in the Challengers group, as well as an assistant coach to Jay Thiltgen in the Seniors group.

Board of Directors
Tim Uehling President (2021)
Paige Pioppi Vice President (2019)
Christian Kloster Treasurer (2020)
Laura Thoreen Secretary (2019)
John Elder Member at Large (2021)
Lisa Ferrer Member at Large (2020)
Scott Jefferson Member At Large (2019)
Sarah Michelson Member at Large (2021)
Rob Shradar Member at Large (2020)
Jay Thiltgen Head Coach (non-voting member)
Leslie Mayo Club Manager (non-voting member)