Coaches and Directors

ACE Coaching Staff
Kim Berndt ACE Head Coach / Seniors / Seekers

You walk into a pool and it becomes home - the chlorine smell to the splashing on the pool deck, to the loud deafening sounds of parents and coaches all yelling to swim faster. This environment is a place that most swimmers learn to love. Coach Kim Berndt has made her love of this atmosphere a lifelong career.

Kim started her swimming career in upstate New York. She quickly learned that competitive swimming takes commitment and training.  In addition to her technique and endurance training in the pool, she learned the importance of the mental game needed to achieve one’s goals.  Swimming at the collegiate level, Coach Kim competed at the Division 1 NCAA Swimming Championships. She still holds several school’s records at the University of Miami. Additionally, she has swam all over the world as part of the USA National team competing, placing at many different International meets.

Following her competitive career and graduating from the University of Miami, she transitioned her passion and love for swimming into coaching. She began her coaching career in Miami, Florida. She has vast experience coaching swimmers of all ages, novice to high school. Coach Kim relates to swimmers, bringing her background and experiences to help the swimmers succeed in achieving their goals.

Kim started with the Aquatic Club of Elkhorn simply as a “swim parent” when two of her three children began swimming with the team in 2015.  Upon request of the former ACE head coach, Jay Thiltgen, she joined the ACE coaching staff in 2016. She has coached almost every group ACE . She has been integral in helping to developing a strong base for team of athletes  in order to help to guide the ACE swimmers through the beginning progressions of competitive age group swimming all the way through the elite levels of competition.

In addition to building a strong developmental base for our swimmers, Coach Kim helps each athlete learn how to work through the struggles and roadblocks that come from competing at a high level no matter the event. 

From the pool deck to the real world, Coach Kim believes that there are lots of life skills that come from competitive swimming for kids of all ages. In March 2020, Kim was asked to lead the team as the interim ACE head coach. In the Fall of 2020, Kim accepted the position of the ACE head coach. In addition to her responsibilities as the ACE Head Coachm, she is also the coaching director for the Seekers group and the Senior group. 

Kim and her husband, live in Omaha and have three children.



Carter Kennell Performers Coaching Director

Carter Kennell has been coaching swimming for 14 years. He began as a summer recreational swim team Assistant Coach at Happy Hollow Country Club, later moving on to become the Head Coach of Oak Hills Country Club's summer swim team. Carter joined ACE in September of 2015 and has operated as the head coach for Discovers, Explorers Green and Explorers Black, along with assisting with Seekers and Challengers. In the 2019-2020 season, Carter returned to his alma mater, Burke High School, as the assistant coach for the Boy's swim team. 

In his time as a club swimming coach Carter has spent his time learning from many of his peers and coaching mentors. He was selected to step in as the Team Manager for the 2017 Midwestern Zones meet and then was selected as a Coach for the Staff of the 2018 Midwestern All-Stars and Zones teams. Carter has coached athletes of all levels from those learning to swim, all the way up to qualifiers of Sectionals.


Carter is a former club, 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. At Burke, Carter lettered and swam varsity all four years and was voted as the team’s captain for 2 years. In his senior year, Carter was recognized as an Academic All American for Burke High School. After graduation in 2011, Carter went on to compete with the University of Nebraska - Lincoln Club Swim team for four years where he swam various meets around the country including the East Coast Collegiate Club National Championship meet.


Carter graduated in December of 2015 from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with minors in Biochemistry, Math, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. In 2016, Carter began a graduate degree in Biomedical Studies and finished the program in 2017. Currently he is attending the University of Nebraska Omaha, working on a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering.


As the Head Coach of the Performer's group, Carter is looking forward to challenging the kids to do their best for fast swims this season.

Kari Mettenbrink-Rushlau Adventurers Coaching Director

Swimming has been a part of Coach Kari's life since she was 8 years old in one way or another. Growing up in Grand Island, NE, she swam competitively with the QuickSilver club and swam for Grand Island Senior High. Upon graduating from Grand Island, Kari went to UNO and swam for the Mavericks under Coach Todd Samland. Coach Jenna and Coach Kari were teammates for three of those years at UNO.

Kari loves coaching all ages, but her favorite thing to coach is stroke development and thus is typically drawn to the younger developmental groups. Often you will hear Coach Kari say that we need to slow it down before we can speed it up. 

Outside of ACE, Kari is a school counselor at Morton Middle School in Omaha Public Schools and is involved with the summer swim team program at Keystone pool.


Paul Pechous Interim Discoverers Coaching Director
Paul Pechous has swam competitively with ACE for over 8 years specializing in butterfly and freestyle. He swam for the Elkhorn Stormin' Antlers High School swim team. Paul was part of the Elkhorn Stormin' Antlers State Championship all four years. Paul was a team captain both his junior and senior years of high school.
Paul currently attends the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where he is majoring in Education. He still swims competively with the UNL Collegiate Club swim team. Paul has several years of summer rec swim team coaching and private swim instruction experience.
Eric Samson Exp Green/Challengers Coaching Director


Coach Eric is an elementary teacher at Hillside Elementary in Westside Community Schools.


Starting his club coaching career at Swim Omaha in 2009, he was the lead age group coach there from 2011 to 2019. He was also an assistant coach at Westside from 2018-2019. Eric is a Level 2 Certified coach member of ASCA, and earned his Masters of Science and Recreation with an emphasis in Coach Education from Ohio University. He is currently working toward a degree is Sport Psychology.

In 2012 and 2019, Eric was awarded the Midwestern Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year. In 2020, Coach Eric was inducted into the Metropolitan Conference Hall of Fame. He has also served as Head Midwestern All Stars coach from 2013-2015, 2018-2020 and Head Midwestern Zone coach in 2013, 2014 and 2019, and 2021, as well as an assistant Zone coach in 2012 and 2018. 

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

Eric is very excited to start his third season with ACE as the coaching director for the Challengers group and the Explorers Green group.

Michael Stein Explorers Black Coaching Director



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 has been an assistant coach for the Challengers group, as well as an assistant coach for the Men's team of the Elkhorn Stormin' Antlers.


Most recently, Michael became the Coaching Director for the Explorers Black training group. He brings a wealth of stroke development knowledge to this intermediate level group and is excited to see their progression to faster and more efficient swims in the pool.

Elijah Clements Assistant Coach
Jenna Foiles Assistant Coach

Swimming has been a part of Jenna’s life as long as she can remember. It quickly became more than a sport to her. It was her family and the place that helped her grow into the person that she is today. She began swimming with summer league programs in California and New Mexico. During high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico she began swimming club and placed at her high school and club state meets every year. After high school she came to UNO to continue her passion for swimming. While at UNO she placed at the conference championship meet all 4 years and earned various All-Summit recognitions. She was the captain her senior year and received the Connie Claussen Senior Career Achievement Award. 

Coach Jenna has a passion for working with kids and helping them reach their potential both in and out of the water. As a classroom teacher, it is common to see her teacher mentality come onto the pool deck. She started her coaching career doing private lessons with swimmers of all ages for 7 years. During the 2016-2017 short course season Jenna began coaching with ACE. She started working with our younger athletes and has grown into working with swimmers of all ages.

She is currently the assistant coach for the Explorers Green group. Outside of ACE, she also coaches the Elkhorn Stormin’ Antlers girls swim team.

Jenna teaches 2nd grade in Elkhorn and will graduate from UNL with her second graduate degree in the Fall of 2021. 

Maya Moran Assistant Coach
Hannah Miller Assistant Coach
Leslie Mayo ACE Club Manager

Involved with ACE since 2010,  Leslie starting out as the parent of an 8 & under swimmer. Like many parents, she spent a lot of time sitting in the stands during practices, cheering at swim meets and becoming more engaged by volunteering. 


In the Fall 2014, Leslie joined the Aquatic Club of Elkhorn staff as the team administrator. She manages the “dry side” of the team so the coaching staff can focus on the “wet side.” 


Leslie and her husband, Scott, live in Omaha with their two children, Lauren and Ryan.

ACE Parent Board of Directors
John Elder Board President (2024)
Matt Knier Vice-President (2024)
Christian Kloster Treasurer (2023)
Laura Thoreen Secretary (2022)
Tricia Hultgren SafeSport Chair (2023)
Scott Jefferson Member At Large (2022)
Paige Pioppi Member at Large (2022)
Kristine Sanger Member at Large (2024)
Emily Williams Member at Large (2023)
Kim Berndt ACE Head Coach (non-voting member)
Leslie Mayo Club Manager (non-voting member)