Coaches and Directors

ACE Coaching Staff
Kim Berndt Interim Head Coach / Seniors / Disco I

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 in college, Coach Kim competed at the Division 1 NCAA Swimming Championships. She still holds several school’s records at the University of Miami. 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’s began with ACE simply as a “swim parent” when two of her three children began swimming with the team in 2015.  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. Upon request of Coach Jay Thiltgen, she joined the ACE coaching staff in 2016. She has been the Coaching Director for the Challengers training group and most recently the Performers groups. She also works on mental training with the Seniors and Performers groups, helping them learn how to work through the struggles and roadblocks that come from competing at a high level no matter the event. She also works with the development of ACE’s swim program as a coaching mentor and is the ACE meet entries coordinator.

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

 

 

Carter Kennell Performers Coaching Director

 

Carter Kennell has been coaching swimming for 11 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. Most recently, Carter was named the Head Coach of the Performer's group and is looking forward to many fast seasons with the group.

 

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.

Eric Samson Challengers Coaching Director

 

Coach Eric is a fifth grade 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. 

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, as well as an assistant Zone coach in 2012 and 2018. 

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

Eric is very excited to start his second season with ACE and the Challengers group.

Evan Persson Seekers Coaching Director

 

Evan was born and raised in Blair, NE. He 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 became 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. Evan re- joined the ACE c oaching s taff in the fall of 2017. He is currently employed full time as Software Application Developer at Signature Performance Inc.

 

 

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

Jenna Foiles Explorers Green Coaching Director

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 Explorers Green Head Coach working to instill a love of swimming and proper technique into our developing swimmers. Outside of ACE, she is also an assistant coach with the Elkhorn Stormin’ Antlers swim team.

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

Viola Currie Discoverers II Coaching Director

Viola has been swimming competitively since she was nine years old. She started at the YMCA and then in high school moved teams to ACE. She also swam 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.

Viola has been part of the ACE coaching staff for 4 years as an assistant coach, primarily working with swimmers in the Discovers I groups.

Viola currently attends Creighton University, where she will be graduating May 2020 with her B.S. in Neuroscience. After graduation, Viola plans to apply to medical school.  She also has a younger sister, DJ, that swims on ACE.

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 majors 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. 
Ella Hustad Assistant Coach

 

Ella joined the ACE 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 has been an assistant with the Discovers but is excited to take on her new role with Discovers II.

Ella is currently attending Clarkson College where she will graduate in December 2021 with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.  Ella is also a phlebotomist at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.  Her younger sister, Isa, also swims for ACE in the Seekers group.

 

 

MaKenna Mull Assistant Coach

Kenna has been on the ACE Coaching staff for over six years.  Before she was a coach with ACE, she swam competetively for ACE and Swim Omaha, as well as all four years for Elkhorn High School. 

She is currently a nursing student at Clarkson College.  Additionally you may also see her working at Scooter's in Elkhorn or at Methodist Hospital!  Outside of coaching, school and work, Kenna has been a leader for her church's youth group for the several years.  

What she looks forward to the most every week is coaching the ACE kiddos and watching them improve everyday.  Go ACE!

Tallon Wall Assistant Coach
Jay Thiltgen Coach - inactive leave

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, Future's swimmers, and junior national athletes.

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. Additionally he has been awarded numerous recognitions for his coaching through the years.

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 Elkhorn with their two daughters, Grace and Charlotte.

Leslie Mayo ACE Club Manager
ACE Parent Board of Directors
Tim Uehling President (2021)
Paige Pioppi Vice President (2022)
Christian Kloster Treasurer (2020)
Laura Thoreen Secretary (2022)
John Elder Member at Large (2021)
Lisa Ferrer Member at Large (2020)
Scott Jefferson Member At Large (2022)
Sarah Michelson Member at Large (2021)
Rob Shradar Member at Large (2020)
Leslie Mayo Club Manager (non-voting member)
Kim Berndt Interim Head Coach (non-voting member)