Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Chris Karelus Competitive Aquatics Director/Head Coach

Chris Karelus began swimming with FSPY in 1993 as a 13-year-old who had just moved from Poland for his father’s job. He also swam with the Highland Swim Club in Scotch Plains, NJ during the summer. Chris continued his swim career at the University of Delaware. During breaks from college at the University of Delaware, he worked at FSPY as a part time coach as well as coaching at Highland during the summers. He became the head coach of FSPY in 2010 and has consistently promoted a sense of family and teamwork.

Coach Karelus has always he has maintained a “Team First” mantra. When he won the 2016 Nationals Coach of the Meet Award at Long Course YMCA Nationals, he was quick to share the recognition with his swimmers and fellow coaches. “It is not an individual award,” reflected Chris. To him, it recognized the collective effort and spirit of the entire Y community, which he strives to instill in his fellow coaches and swimmers.

Allison Hessemer Assistant Coach

Swimming has been a big part of Allie’s life since she was very young. Her swim team career began at the Highland Swim Club when she was 6 years old, and she swam there every summer for 13 years. At 10, she joined the FSPY swim team and began swimming year-round. She swam with FSPY throughout high school and was also a member of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School team for 4 years. After graduating high school, she attended Susquehanna University and was a member of the Crusaders’ varsity swim team.

When she was 17, Allie began her coaching career at Highland Swim Club where she was an assistant coach for 5 years. After graduating college, she joined the coaching staff at FSPY. The coaches and teammates that Allie has worked with throughout her life have made a huge impact on her life, and, as a coach for the team she once swam for,  she hopes to do the same, as she shares the passion she has for swimming with the FSPY family.

Allie has also been teaching Pre-K in North Plainfield since 2006 and recently completed graduate school earning her Masters’ Degree in Special Education. When she is not teaching or coaching, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. Allie has gained a love for traveling and is currently planning her next big adventure!

Kelsey Tonery Assistant Coach

Kelsey joined FSPY in September, 2016.  She started her swim career at the Metuchen-Edison YMCA (MEY) and swam there from 5 to 18 years old.  She later swam for Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ.  2017 marks Kelsey’s 5th year as a swim coach, having coached at MEY for 3 years prior to FSPY. 

Kelsey is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in school counseling from Montclair State University and will start practicum at Colonia High School in the Fall 2017.   She is also the head coach for the Metuchen Municipal Pool summer team and substitute teaches in the Metuchen school district.  Outside the pool, Kelsey enjoys running and working out.  She also enjoys going to the beach and spending time with family and friends.

Coach Kelsey says, “Swimming is so challenging, yet so rewarding and I definitely wouldn't be the person I am today without it. I learned so much both in and out of the pool from my coaches and teammates and made memories that will last a lifetime. As a coach, I hope to help swimmers not only learn about the sport but themselves too and to have the same positive experiences I had.”

Lauren Sharkey Assistant Coach

Sharkey joined FSPY in September 2019. Prior to coaching at FSPY, she coached at the Westfield YMCA and YMCA of Montclair Dolphins. She swam competitively for 11 years at the Metuchen-Edison YMCA. Sharkey was a NCAA Division III swimmer in the Eastern College Athletic Conference for all four years of college for the Pride at Springfield College, where she majored in psychology.

Sharkey has been working at the YMCA of Montclair in Finance. She also has worked in many different departments with the YMCA including the Geyer Family Center and Camp at the Lake. Outside the pool, she enjoys going to the beach and spending time with family and friends. Sharkey is looking forward to another great season.

Naomi McPeters Assistant Coach

Naomi became a 12U coach for FSPY in Fall 2017, in addition to working on a public television documentary series. She missed working directly with kids, and coaching swimming, which is one thing which brought her back to took me back into a sport that she had forgotten that she loved.

Growing up, Naomi swam for the Albany (NY) Starfish, then turned her attention to rowing and softball, leaving behind competitive aquatics and restricting my involvement in swimming to lifeguarding and teaching lessons.  While a 10U swimmer on the Starfish, Naomi had an amazing coach who made every swimmer feel special and capable – this inspires her every time she I'm on the pool deck, and driving her to help FSPY swimmers see those qualities within themselves.

Becoming a coach at FSPY also brough Naomi to the triathlon club, and brough her back in to the pool after years away from the sport. Naomi now competes in triathlon, which keeps her pretty busy swimming, biking, and running.  These activities help keep Coach Naomi in touch with the physical and mental challenges young athletes are facing in the pool every day, and gives her the tools to help kids overcome them.

Kyle Higgins Assistant Coach

Kyle became a coach for FSPY in March 2020, but swimming has been in her life for as long as she can remember. She swam in the summers from age 5-6 years old for Westfield Memorial Pool and Nomahegan Swim Club. She was also a member of the Westfield YMCA swim team through her sophomore year of high school before joining FSPY. She enjoyed swimming for Westfield High School, and eventually went on to swim for some time at Vassar College. Combined with a few years of lifeguarding at various pools, you might notice that Kyle has spent quite a bit of her life around the water (and wouldn’t change a thing!).  Although a Human Resources professional by day, Kyle is so grateful to be back at FSPY as a coach in her free time. Swimming gave her so much, and she wants to pay it forward. A huge animal lover, Kyle will always be happy to share a picture of her latest foster dog.

Mike Gelowitz Assistant Coach

Mike is a returning FSPY coach after an eight year break from when he began his teaching career in Sayreville New Jersey. He’s currently teaching fourth grade Math & Science, and loves what he does. Since his break from coaching, he’s been working hard at becoming a better teacher each year, and believes that he can take his expertise from the classroom and apply it to coaching on the pool deck. He is so excited to be back as an FSPY coach.

Mike started swimming when he was 6 years old, and continued up until the age of 17. Once he graduated high school and was no longer swimming on a team, he still wanted to be part of the sport. So he began coaching at the age of 18. Mike loves working with kids, and enjoys being a positive role model to all that he works with.

Madeleine Bebout Assistant Coach

Maddie joined FSPY in September 2021. Prior to coaching, Maddie’s swimming career began at Willow Grove Swim Club at the age of 6. At the age of 7, she joined FSPY and continued through high school. Maddie was also a member of the Scotch Plains Fanwood High School Varsity swim team in high school and enjoyed swimming on club teams in college.

Outside of the pool, Maddie works for Major League Baseball as a ticketing analyst. In her free time, she enjoys staying active and spending time with friends and family. Maddie is so excited to be back at FSPY!”

Board of Directors