Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Paul Silver Head Coach

Coach Silver formed the Marlins Of Raleigh in the summer of 2001. He has been coaching swimming since 1979 and has had swimmers competing at Jr. and Sr. Nationals since 1982 including 2 years as an assistant with the Bolles School Sharks and 17 years as head coach of the Raleigh Swimming Association. The 5 years spent coaching age group swimmers before becoming a head coach gives him a unique understanding of what it takes to help young swimmers get from novice to national level swimming. Voted NC Swimming Coach of the Year 5 times, Coach Silver is certified at the highest level (Level 5) by the ASCA. He lead MOR to Gold Medal recognition in 2017, 2018, 2019 and served on the staff for Team USA at the 2017 FINA World Jr. Championships. He has served on USA Swimming’s Sr. Development Committee in charge of time standards and on the Club Development Committee.  Coach Silver is married to Caroline, a Cary Optometrist, and has 3 boys, Tyler, Christopher and Ryan.

Jonathan Watson Raleigh Senior Coach

Coach Watson began coaching in Raleigh in 1978 with the Northbrook Country Club summer league team (1978-80, 81, 2006-2008).   His year-round coaching jobs have included four years as an assistant with the Tarheel Aqua Racers (1981-1985); 21 years as Head Coach and founder of the New Wave Swim Team (1985-2006); and 13 years with the Marlins of Raleigh Swim Team (2006-present).  Watson has coached numerous nationally-ranked athletes throughout his career.  Watson is also very active with the North Carolina LSC and currently serves as the Programs Vice-Chairman and Camp Coordinator.  He is also currently serving as the Age Group Chairman of the Southern Zone.In his career Watson has coached swimmers who have qualified for Olympic Trials, Nationals, Junior Nationals, Futures, Zones, Sectionals and State Championships.  He has also coached nationally ranked athletes and athletes who have achieved state record performances.

Cara Cameron Head Site Coach (North Raleigh)

Coach Cara Cameron has been coaching in Raleigh for 23 years.  Cara started with RSA under the direction of Paul Silver and moved over to coach with MOR when she merged the RSA North site with MOR.  Cara is a level 4 ASCA Swim Coach who grew up in Raleigh swimming for TAR.  Cara is the North Raleigh Head Site Coach and she coaches the AG1 8-under group at the North Raleigh site.  In her career, Cara has coached swimmers from all levels from Olympic Trial Qualifiers, Senior Sectional Qualifiers, State Champions, State Record Holders and Top 5 in the Nation to the group she calls home, AG1 8-unders.  

John Fischetti Head Site Coach (Riverwood)

Coach John has been the Site Coach at the Riverwood MOR site since 2004. Numerous State Champions, Sectional, Futures, Junior National, and National level swimmers have come from the Riverwood group. To date, eleven swimmers have gone on to swim collegiately from there.  John has extensive open-water swimming experience and takes a group to the open-water state championships every June.  John is a UNC graduate and was an ACC Champion and NCAA qualifier in breaststroke and IM for the Tarheels.

William Thorne AG3 Coach (North Raleigh)

Coach Billy has been a mainstay in Raleigh swimming for almost 40 years.  He came to MOR after being the Age Group Coach and Head Coach for local teams TAR, RACR, and RSA North. He worked as the Aquatics Director for Ravenscroft School for 21 years. Coach Billy is a Level 5 certified coach (the highest level) by the American Swim Coaches Association. 

Billy leads the AG3 and AG4  groups at the North Raleigh site. He has developed swimmers of all ages and abilities including state, sectional, and nationally ranked swimmers as well as  Age Group national record holders.  Billy is a four time NC Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year Award recipient.

Coach Cara says…… “Coach Billy has been coaching in North Carolina for over 40 years. I personally swam for Billy at TAR in the 80's. Billy's impact on me was to become a coach-a love of swimming that continues to this day after 42 years. At MOR he inspires his swimmers to WANT to swim better, swim faster by having such a positive attitude and love of the sport. It's infectious.”

Michael Laubacher Senior Elite Coach (N. Raleigh)
Lindsay Takkunen Silverton AG2 / AG 4 Coach

Coach Lindsay joined MOR in September 2017. She is originally from South Jersey but relocated to Raleigh, NC in August 2017 after spending 14 years overseas. Most recently, she has worked as the Swimming Manager/Head Coach for a group of 9 schools located in Kenya and Tanzania. Her time spent internationally provided her the experience to work and travel with several National swim teams including Zambia, Kenya, and Uganda.  Lindsay enjoyed a successful four-year D1 swimming experience at ECU before hanging up her cap and goggles and putting on her full-time coaching cap. Lindsay is currently the coach for our Silverton AG 1 and AG 2 groups. 

Darryl Buda Raleigh Senior 1 & AG 2 Coach

Coach Darryl began coaching with MOR in 2008 and has worked with multiple groups along the way.  Currently, he coaches the Raleigh site Pre-Senior group and assists the Senior group.  He grew up swimming in Raleigh for the Tarheel Aqua Racers, swam for Sanderson High School and graduated from UNC-Wilmington with a Psychology degree.  He spent 3 years in Denver, CO as the Head Age Group Coach for the CAC Stingrays and is back for MOR!

Coach Darryl enjoys challenging and inspiring athletes, surfs as often as possible, and is pursuing a career as a professional C-league hockey player.

 

Kevin Donnelly North Raleigh Senior Coach

Coach Kevin grew up in Raleigh and swam for the Marlins of Raleigh for eight years. Through MOR, he has been able to not only enjoy the competition side of the sport, but also the coaching side. He started coaching his summer league team, the Coachman's Trail Sharks, in 2011 at age 14, and has continued to coach for them every summer, including as head coach beginning in 2016. While in high school, Kevin also coached for MOR as an AG1 assistant. Kevin competed for the Marlins through his senior year as a member of the Senior Elite group. After graduating from high school in 2015, Kevin began attending NC State, where he continued coaching for MOR as an AG3 Black assistant. He has worked as an assistant for AG1, AG3 Black, Senior, and Senior Elite in his time as a MOR coach, across both the Raleigh and North Raleigh sites.

Alexis Marshall Raleigh AG1 & AG3 Coach

Coach Alexis moved from Maryland in 2021 to join our coaching staff at MOR, she will be working with our AG I & AG III swimmers at the Central Raleigh Site.
Alexis started coaching in 2010 with the Stonebridge Sharks Pre-Team and has previously coached with the YMCA BCC Hammerheads as an Assistant Coach & Head Dryland Coach, Academy of the Holy Cross as Head Coach of Varsity Swimming & Diving, and at Rockville Montgomery Swim Club as Head Coach of Junior 2 & Assistant Coach. .
She started her swimming career at the age of 8 with MCSL team Stonebridge Sharks, as well as club team Joe Flaherty’s Dolphins. She transferred to swim more competitively at the Rockville Montgomery Swim Club, one of the most successful clubs in the DC area, under Head Coach Dave Greene two years later and remained there for the rest of her swimming career. When Alexis isn’t coaching, she enjoys reading, hiking, and LSU Tigers Football.
 

Ian Hilbrant North Raleigh AG2 and Senior 1 Coach

Coach Ian Hilbrant has been involved in swimming since he was seven.  He got his start with various club teams in Illinois and Iowa and finished competing as an eight time National Finalist with Iowa Central Community College.  His coaching dates back to 2013 as a Junior Summer Coach for the South Pointe Sea Stars in Naperville,Il. He has also coached for Eastern Iowa Swimming Federation, Ames Cyclone Aquatic Club, and as Head Coach for the Muscatine Iowa YMCA program, the Manta Rays brought home the first state title in program history. He has a degree in sports and recreation management with an emphasis in coaching from the University of Iowa. 

 

Ian joined MOR in 2021, and coaches AG2 and Senior 1 as well as coordinating the swim lessons and clinics program in North Raleigh.

Paul Elaisa Silverton

Before joining the Marlin’s family, Coach Paul began a passion for the sport of swimming long before he stepped on the deck as a coach. He started as an athlete when he was 8 years old for the Tritons Swim Club on the stunning island of Fiji where he grew up. He earned the honor of representing his country on numerous occasions including the 2016 London Olympics along with a multitude of Pacific Games and Commonwealth Games competitions.

Coach Paul stepped away from focusing solely on his personal swimming career and instead began fostering the same passion for swimming he had into the youth of his hometown. His own swim club is where he first dipped his toe in the profession of coaching. He worked as as part time coach at the Junior & Senior level. He also assisted in running a special Learn to Swim program for the local schools in an effort to combat drowning. Both positions occurred from 2012-2014.

After graduating from Lindenwood University with a B.S. in Sports Administration, Coach Paul moved to Alexandria, VA where in addition to acting as a Pool Operations Manager, he coached Age group swimmers and the summer league from 2019 - 2020. Later, he moved back to Illinois to accept a position as the Graduate Assistant for the Lincoln College swim team while starting his Master’s degree. Coach Paul now resides in Cary, NC with his wife Madi and their adorable cat Simba. Coach Paul very much looks forward to supporting the next generation in their love of and success in the sport.

Go Marlins!

Dakota Mahaffey Raleigh AG2 & AG4 Coach

Dakota is originally from Green Cove Springs, Florida. He swam for the Bolles School Sharks club and attended Clay High School, where he won 2 relay and 2 individual state titles. Dakota went to UF and swam for the Gators for four years (2016-2020), qualifying for the SEC Championships as a junior and senior, helping lead the Gators to their 7th and 8th consecutive SEC titles. In his senior year, he also was a part of the bronze medal earning 200 medley relay at SEC’s. He qualified for the NCAA championships his Senior year, and Dakota also swam at the 2020/1 Olympic Trials in Omaha. 

After retiring from swimming, Dakota stayed in Gainesville as a team manager for the Gators and was a volunteer coach during the 2021-2022 season. He helped coach the Gators to their 10th consecutive SEC title, and the Men's 200 medley and 200 free NCAA championship titles. 

When not coaching, Dakota loves to read, write, and practice archery

Zandy Knoke Silverton AG1 & Multi-Site Assistant

Zandy is from King George, Virginia. She swam for the Rappahannock Raiders and RAYS club teams in Virginia, and for King George High School. Zandy went to Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia where she was a four-year member of the women’s swim team specializing in breaststroke and IM and earned VaSID Academic All-State honors in 2022. Zandy has previously coached for Hanover Aquatics and Stingrays Swimming in Virginia and is excited to work with the Raleigh and Silverton sites!

Naomi Sanders North Raleigh Assistant Age Group Coach
Board of Directors