Coaches and Staff

If your questions are related to workouts, meets, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact your swimmers current Group Lead Coach.

If you have questions about practice schedules and if you are from another team and interested in entering an NCAC meet contact Steve Brown

If you have questions about your NCAC account, registration or programs (precompetitive programming, private lessons and clinics), please contact Keri Cleary.

If you have questions about Masters swimming, please contact Justin Wright.

If you have questions about partnering with NCAC, sponsorship opportunities, special events, joining the staff, or other club management issues, please contact Ashley Gangloff.

Coaching Staff
Steve Brown Head Coach

 

Coach Brown has over twenty years of coaching experience. Before joining the NCAC staff in 2017, Coach Brown coached at the University of Arizona (2014-2017) and with the Sarasota Sharks in Sarasota, FL (1994-2014). Coach Brown’s coaching career began after swimming at Ball State.

Coach Brown’s most notable coaching accomplishments include USA Swimming Jr. Pan-Pac Staff 2012, USA Swimming Jr. World Championship Staff 2013, Third place team at Summer Junior Nationals 2010 and 2013, Coaching multiple National Age Group Record Holders, and YMCA National Team Champions 2006-2013. At the University of Arizona, Coach Brown coached PAC-12 champions and NCAA All-Americans.

Coach Brown’s consistency, loyalty, and honesty and integrity are some of the reasons that NCAC has experienced recent success and growth.

Steve has been married to his wife Anne since 2001-and they have three girls Avery 15, McKenzie 13, and Riley 12 and a golden retriever named Wrigley.

Get to know Coach Brown…

Favorite Drill: Breaststroke 1 pull/3 kick drill

Favorite swimming memory: Watching his athletes represent the USA in International Competition with the American Flag on their cap.

Favorite quote: “mind-numbing consistency”

According to Coach Brown, “Through the hours of meets and training, many times difficult training, bonds are formed between teammates that cannot be replicated or duplicated in the real world. This is what will carry the athletes through the rest of their lives. These events or workouts or meets that they had to rely on their teammate(s) to help get them thru that is what makes the sport so special.”

Sherwood Watts Challenge and Dynamo Group Lead Coach

Challenge and Dynamo Group Lead Coach

Coach Watts has almost forty years of coaching experience. Before joining the NCAC staff in 2018, Coach Watts coached with the Sarasota Sharks in Sarasota, FL (1984-2018).  Coach Watts’s coaching career began teaching swim lessons which evolved into full-time coaching.

Coach Watt’s most notable coaching accomplishments include dominating age group swimming in Florida with the Sarasota Sharks from 2004-2018. Coach Watts is an ASCA Level 5 age group coach and has coached Age Group champions, NCAA champions, and Olympic and Para Olympic swimmers. But, Coach Watts is most proud when a swimmer hits their first time standard; Coach Watts says that when a swimmer achieves their first time standard and they are “beaming with happiness, knowing that the hard work paid off… that’s it for me.”

Coach Watts has earned both Illinois Age Group Coach of the Year and the Florida Age Group Coach of the Year several times. Recently, Coach Watts was awarded the ASCA/Fitter and Faster National Age Group Coach of the Year (2016) and the North Carolina Age Group Coach of the Year (2020).

Coach Watts’s consistency, stroke mechanics expertise, and ability to motivate his athletes is what makes Coach Watts special and why his athletes are so eager to work hard for him.

Get to know Coach Watts…

Favorite swimming memory: Winning the Gulf Coast League Championships in 1976. The lowly Sarasota YMCA beat power house SSC for the first time!

Best thing about a new season: Experiencing a group of swimmers come together as a team early in the season.

What makes swimming special: you work for what you accomplish and that goes for coaches, too!

 

Sean McGinley Exploration Group Lead Coach

Exploration Group Lead Coach

Coach Sean has more than 20 years of coaching experience. In addition to swimming, which includes four standing age group backstroke records in the area where he grew up thirty years later, Sean has participated in strength training and body building. He attended Villanova University and got his start in coaching when he was a freshman in college when his club coach encouraged him to start. According to Sean, “Nina Smith, my club coach, was a huge positive influence in my life and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to coach alongside her.” Before joining NCAC in 2014, Coach Sean coached at Plymouth Witemarsh Aquatic Club. 

Coach Sean has coached many athletes over the years that have earned swims at Junior Nationals and membership on the Junior National Team and swims at the Olympic Trials. He has coached athletes that have gone on to secure their names in among the most elite record holders. Many swimmers Sean has coached have gone on to swim in college.

Coach Sean’s patience, discipline, and work ethic help him to coach NCAC’s young athletes on the rise. He is a great connector and inspires athletes to be their best. 

Get to know Coach Sean…

Favorite swimming drill: 1 arm butterfly and 1 arm backstroke.

Favorite swimming memory: A young swimmer had missed her JO cut in the 100 IM the meet before and was in tears very upset. We talked about the big picture and how the best is yet to come. She had one more shot to do it in the meet coming up. The meet day came, she dove in the pool and was off like a rocket! I knew right away she was going to get it. The race ends, she looks up at the clock, sees she got it, and immediately a giant smile appeared on her face accompanied by the sweetest tears of joy I have ever seen! As soon as she came over to me, I gave her a giant hug, smiled and said "See, hard work pays off!" Seeing her tears of joy that came through dedication, hard work and commitment was one of the BEST FEELINGS EVER!

What makes NCAC special: NCAC’s outstanding coaching staff, dedicated swimmers and parents and NCAC administrators [are] all so unbelievably committed to the same ideal; to work hard and be the best team we can be!

 

Hunter Hojnacki Performance White Coach; Meet Director

Performance White Group Lead Coach; Meet Director

Coach Hunter has five years of coaching experience since he swam at the University of Arizona from 2015-2018. Before coaching at NCAC, Coach Hunter coached at Tucson Ford Aquatics (2017-2018). Coach Hunter has also served as the UNC Swimming and Diving Director of Operations since 2019 and served as an Interim Assistant Coach for UNC for the 2020-2021 season. Coach Hunter comes from a coaching Family—Mom, Dad, and Brother are all swim coaches! According to Coach Hunter, “[I] just love being around the the water. [It is] always great walking into the pool.”

Coach Hunter’s most notable coaching accomplishments include coaching Junior National Qualifiers and NCAC Team Record Holders. Coach Hunter has played a big role in NCAC’s success including winning Sr. Champs in 2022. In his roles with UNC, Coach Hunter has worked with multiple NCAA Qualifiers and All-Americans.

Coach Hunter’s patience, organization, and deep understanding and respect for the sport is what makes Coach Hunter special and able to serve athletes in his role of Group Lead Coach as well as other coaches, volunteers, and families in his role as Meet Director.  

Get to know Coach Hunter…

Favorite swimming drill: Free catchup drill

Favorite swimming memory: Any time a swimmer experiences a huge time drop

What makes NCAC special: We work hard, have fun, swim fast. We care about each other.

Justin Wright Masters and Nova Group Lead Coach
Coach Justin joined the NCAC staff in July 2020. Growing up in Fresno California, his love for the water started at a young age. Following his older brother Cary, a University of Southern Cal swimming alum, Justin joined the local club team at four years old. Justin swam at the University of Arizona from 2014-2018 while earning a degree in business management. In the summer of 2018, Justin won the US National Title in the 200 Butterfly. He continues his career as a professional swimmer currently aiming for the 2021 Olympic Games. Over the course of his career, Justin has had the opportunity to compete at many international competitions, including the Fina World championships in 2019.
 
Coach Justin is passionate in his belief that anyone can be great, it's just a matter of finding our own unique path. As a coach, Justin hopes to help NCAC swimmers find their own paths to greatness and instill principles in them that will benefit the athletes long after their swimming career's.
Abigail Lloyd Jr. Tar Eel and Journey Group Lead Coach

Abigail Lloyd

Jr. Tar Eel and Journey Group Lead

Coach Abigail has been coaching for three years and joins NCAC after spending two years as a elementary school teacher. An NCAC alum, Abigail attended University of North Carolina and earned a degree in Music Education. She also began her coaching career at NCAC as a college student. Though she thought coaching might just be a summer job, Abigail was hooked and became a year-round coach immediately. She notes that it is the “little things” that make coaching so special. According to Abigail, “the first time an athlete stands behind the block and is excited to race” or “the moment a swimmer realizes that can lead a lane at practice” or the “camaraderie on the pool deck” is what she is most proud of as a coach. One of Abigail’s many mentors is her high school chorus teacher who was also her swim coach. “She pushed me to always do my best but helped ground me in the idea that success isn’t defined one way. She also constantly reminded me that win or lose, hit the right or wrong notes, my growth as a whole person is of the utmost importance in all circumstances.”

Coach Abigail’s attention to detail, focus on the total-athlete, and consistency in combination with her teaching experience and work with children make her the perfect person to work with our youngest athletes.

Get to know Coach Abigail…

Favorite swimming drill: Catch-up freestyle drill! Or as I liked to think of it as I was younger, “Ketchup drill”.

Favorite swimming memory: My first time swimming the mile and realizing that I could conquer such a long race.

What makes swimming special: Swimming at its best is the intersection of individual goals and collective goals all rolled into one. The personal victories are of course your own but they are shaped by the way you and your teammates push and encourage each other day in and day out.

Julie Neal Assistant Coach
Elizabeth Sowards Assistant Coach, Instructor
Keri Cleary Programs Coordinator, Billing Specialist

Keri has almost 20 years of coaching experience and has served many roles at NCAC. She has been instrumental in the development of many of our athletes over the years. Keri attended Simmons University and swam all four years; she was a multiple conference champion and record holder and earned the Simmons Athlete of the Year award. Keri has many coaching mentors including Ed Faszerwski, Kathy McKee, and Kit Raulerson. According to Keri: “[every new season] is a fresh start with endless opportunity.”

Keri is hard working, creative, and relatable which contributes to her ability to connect with NCAC families through onboarding and the registration process. Creating new programs to grow and expand NCAC’s engagement with the community is driven by Keri’s love of the swimming process, her commitment to swimming education, and her big picture thinking and strategic execution. Many of Keri’s efforts are behind the scenes and are critical to the operations and success of NCAC.

Get to know Keri…

Favorite swimming drill: Surf drill in butterfly

Favorite swimming memory: Watching Peter Bretzmann swim at the Olympic Trials (2021) after watching how far he came during his time at NCAC

What makes swimming so special: “I love that swimming is a sport where you work hard for yourself but also for your team. Your teammates are forever friends and even though you are mostly competing individually and tracking your progress, you always want to do well for yourself, your teammates and your team.”

 

Jack Brown Mental Performance Coach

Jack has been coaching for 12 years. Jack is currently the Associate Head Coach at UNC and focuses on mental performance at NCAC. Jack attended and swam at the University of Arizona where he was a multiple All-American and NCAA Champion. Jack was also a U.S. National Team member and has seen success at international competitions. Jack has coached both club and college teams and says this about why he went into coaching: “As a swimmer, I struggled with the mental side of swimming. I had great coaches who helped me through those difficult obstacles and helped me figure out how to compete at the highest level. I want to help others have an amazing experience in swimming and see their dreams fulfilled.”

Jack is energetic, has a passion for swimming, loves being challenged, and wants to help others, which is what drives his desire and ability to educate and work alongside athletes and their families in the form of workshops, clinics, and 1-1 mental performance sessions.    

Get to know Jack…

Favorite swimming drill: bow drill for freestyle, thumper kick for butterfly, spin drill for backstroke, and casting drill for breaststroke

Favorite inspirational quote: "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

What makes swimming so special: “Because time is objective, everyday an athlete comes in they have a chance to make themselves better than they've ever been. Every set and repeat is a chance to beat the person you were yesterday. It's a never ending quest of self-improvement and challenge that leaves you walking away from the pool feeling exhausted but empowered. There isn't a feeling like it.”

Mark Gangloff President

Mark has been coaching for almost 20 years and currently serves as the Head Swimming and Diving Coach for the University of North Carolina as well as the President of NCAC. Mark attended Auburn University and was a member of the 2003 National Championship swimming and diving team; he captained the 2004 National Championship team. He represented the United States at countless international competitions and served as the Team Captain at many of them. His athletic career is punctuated by several World Championship medals and two Olympic Gold medals (2004; 2008).

Mark became a well-known swim clinician in the mid-2000’s traveling around the country coaching athletes of all ages. He coached at SwimMAC from 2007-2009 and served as the Volunteer Assistant for Auburn University from 2009 until 2012. He then served as Assistant Coach at the University of Missouri from 2012 until 2017 and as Associate Head Coach from 2017 to 2019 until he arrived in Chapel Hill in 2019.

Since his arrival at UNC, the UNC men’s and women’s teams have improved their finishes at both the conference and NCAA levels including top 15 finishes by the women’s team in 2021 and 2022 and several All-American honors.

Mark and Ashley Gangloff have been married for 15 years and have three daughters, all of which swim with NCAC.

Ashley Gangloff Executive Director

Ashley has been involved in athletics since a young age. Ashley was a springboard and platform diver. She dove at Auburn University where she captained three National Championship teams at Auburn in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Ashley competed at the highest level in her sport and accomplished; she placed 6th at the 2004 Olympic Trials, earned an individual USA Diving national title in 2006, and represented the United Stated in several international competitions. She was involved in USA Diving as an athlete representative and engaged in policy making throughout her career. After her athletic career, Ashley earned an MBA followed by a short stint coordinating events at NASCAR races and time serving as Marketing Coordinator at US Master Swimming. Next, Ashley earned a PhD in strategic management and spent the following decade in academia. During this time, she taught, focused on curriculum development, and engaged in research at the intersection of ethics, strategic leadership, and governance. Though never too far from the pool, she looks forward to returning to a full-time focus in athletics.

Ashley’s organizational skills and strategic thinking help her to see the big picture. She is a critical thinker in ways that help NCAC break down processes and procedures and reimagine them. According to Ashley, “NCAC has a long tradition of excellence and as it continues to evolve, responding to new opportunities and challenges, we will continue to seek out ways in which we can effectively serve NCAC swimmers and families.

Ashley and her husband Mark have been married for 15 years and have three daughters, all of which swim with NCAC.

Board of Directors