Coaching Staff
Jon Mengering Director of Competitive Aquatics

Day to Day Coaching On Deck: Lead Coach of FMAC - Pre-Senior 1 and FMAC - Senior 1. Will oversee Senior 1 program wide as well. 

 

My name is Jon Mengering, some of you may know me better as Big Show and it is my honor to become the next Executive Director of Competitive Aquatics for the YMCA of Upper Palmetto Rays. As a coach I’ve been able to observe the proud tradition of the Rays swim program from afar, the excitement is very real to be able to engage with the team, community and all of the YMCA of Upper Palmetto members.

It is my goal to help the Rays program, its swimmers and coaches strive for and achieve their goals in and out of the pool. The swimmer is a complex and multifaceted student athlete, the goal for academic and athletic success can be accomplished while competing at the highest levels in both arenas. The critical piece is balance in all things, greatness is not a myth, it is available to us all should we be brave enough to strive for it and believe in ourselves enough to reach out for it.

My mission will be to empower the athletes, the coaches and everyone that supports the Rays and this program to achieve that end. We can be great, each and every one of us. Will it be easy, absolutely not; but I guarantee it will be worth it, if you’re brave enough to take the journey.

Appreciate the work, trust the process and believe in yourself; through these three things nothing can stand in our way. I believe in team; teamwork, teammates and the philosophy that brings them both together. There is nothing we cannot achieve if we commit to ourselves, our sport and our team. Hard work can be fun too! The goal is to enjoy the process, be with our teammates and learn from each other.

I’ve been in and around swimming my entire life. Starting with lessons when I was four years old at my neighborhood pool to NCAA Division 1 swimming as a member of the Clemson University Men’s Swimming Team. I began coaching with the university program in 2006 and began as head coach for Clemson Aquatic Team in the fall of 2007. I have learned from some of the best coaches in many levels of the sport, I was fortunate to swim for and gain insight from these mentors of mine and I bring that knowledge, energy and passion with me to the Rays.

I look forward to meeting and getting to know you in the coming weeks.

 

Best,

 

Jon ‘Big Show’ Mengering

Katie Wright CSDY Aquatics Director

Katie Wright is the Aquatics Director for the CSD Community YMCA. Katie will handle communication and scheduling for the CSD Rays swimmers until a new coach can be hired.

Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Coach Katie moved to the area in 2005 when she and her sister joined the Rays.  After graduating from Northwestern High School in 2007, she attended Wingate University. Katie swam for two years with the Wingate Bulldogs, NCAA Division II. While at Wingate she was an all-conference performer. In 2008, she was a member of the conference champion 400 Free and Medley relay teams.

After completing two years at Wingate, she transferred to the College of Charleston in 2009. She graduated from the College of Charleston in May 2012 with a degree in Arts Management.

Coach Katie hopes to instill in each of her athletes that swimming is a sport that can not only save your life, but can lead into learning how to save someone else's life.  She hopes each athlete walks away from her with life lessons they will continue to use, and a love for swimming.

Fun fact about Coach Katie:  She met her husband, Blake, while swimming at Wingate

 

Lynn Williams FMAC Senior 2

Coach Lynn Williams is from Kershaw, SC.  She coaches the Senior 2 athletes at FMAC.  Coach Lynn started her coaching career in 1974 when she started coaching summer league Kershaw, S.C. while in college.  In 1977 she began coaching the Fort Mill Swim team for summer league, which lead to her starting her career as a year round coach in 1978.  Coach Lynn has been with the Rays program since the year it started in 1988 (she was the founding coach), even though the Upper Palmetto YMCA Stingrays name was not established until 2002.

Coach Lynn is qualified as a ASCA level 3 coach.  She was honored as the South Carolina Age Group Coach of the Year in 1992.  Coach Lynn will tell you the most rewarding part of being a coach is seeing the success of the athletes that she has coached, not only in the water but as adults as well.

The most important thing Coach Lynn hopes to instill in her athletes is hard work and doing things the right way brings great success in every endeavor of life, not just swimming. Swimming is about life, not just what happens in the pool.  It is a mechanism for learning how to be successful at your ability level in athletic competition, which leads to learning how to be successful in life. It is learning how to work with many different people to bring success to the group, not just the individual.

Coach Lynn has two sons, two grandsons and 1 grand dogs.  She retired as Rural Letter Carrier.  Coach Lynn’s grandfather, grandmother, and father were all Rural Letter Carriers.  Coach Lynn was honored as the 2015 South Carolina Rural Letter Carrier Member of the year.  As a child Coach Lynn played basketball, took ballet and baton.  She also played piano and trumpet, which she played in the Andrew Jackson High School Band.  Coach Lynn was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority at Appalachian State University. Another fun fact about Coach Lynn is she remembers paying $0.10 for swim lessons!

Anne Small GFY Head Site Coach

Coach Anne is from Lancaster, South Carolina.  Coach Anne is the Aquatics Director and Head Site Coach for the Rays at the GFY-Lancaster site.  She oversees all groups that swim out of GFY site for the last 5 years.  Coach Anne has a total of 38 years of competitve and teaching swimming experience.

Coach Anne is incrediblily proud of her 38 years of experience.  She has had the opportunity and privilege to teach and coach children of all ages and abilities.  Many of her Rays swimmers have been with her since they first started swimming.  She bursts with pride watching her athletes grow and develop,  as while as achieve individual goals such as South Carolina State, Age group Sectionals, Senior Sectionals and YMCA Nationals.  Coach ANne believes teaching an athlete to take pride in themselves and their team is a skill she hope to instill in each athlete.

A fun fact about Coach Anne:  She is the crazy coach that runs up and down the side of the pool at the swim meets, cheering for the Rays swimmers.  She says; GO, KICK, SHOOT!  

Joshua Brown FMAC Senior Coach & Dryland Coach
Jenna Pehowski FMAC Manta and Blue Rays
Jenna is returning to the Rays as a coach after a four year absence while she attended college at the University of South Carolina, where she was also a member of their swim team. She graduated in May 2021 with a degree in Computer Science and works as a Computer Engineer at Verizon in addition to coaching.  Prior to college, Jenna swam for the Rays for 7 years before graduating from Fort Mill High School.  
 
During her time on the Rays, she competed and made finals at multiple state championships, was the 2017 Open Water State Champion, and competed and made finals at multiple YMCA Nationals meets. 
 
During her time at the University of South Carolina, she competed in many D1 SEC level meets and helped the Gamecocks to a top 25 ranking. She achieved multiple personal bests and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and the Athletic Director's Honor Roll all 4 years she competed. She also was named UofSC Outstanding Senior for her leadership and dedication to both academics and athletics. 
 
Her previous coaching experience has been with the Piranhas Swim Club in the Quad City region of Iowa and Illinois. There she guided numerous age grouped athletes to achieve personal bests and multiple top 3 overall team finishes at the Iowa State Championship. She also organized and led a camp for high school swimmers in the region in order to better prepare them for their upcoming swim season.
 
Fun fact about Jenna: she attended pre-school in Japan! 
Alyssa McAllister FMAC Electric

Coach Alyssa McAllister is from Exton, Pennsylvania. She will be coaching the Electric Rays at the FMAC site.  She has been coaching swimming for a total of six years.  Alyssa has coaching her old club team Lionville Community YMCA Riptides located in Exton for 2 years.  She was the head coach for the Northwestern Swim Team for 3 years.  Coach Alyssa is currently the assistant coach for the Nation Ford swim team.  In the summertime, she coaches for the Rock Hill Country Club.  This will be her third year coaching for the Rays.

Coach Alyssa swam competitively at the age of seven through high school for both her club and high school teams.  During this time, she qualified for both District and State Championship meets.  She also swam for Penn State’s Club swim team for two years and qualified for club Nationals in Georgia.

Coach Alyssa hopes to foster strong relationships with the swimmers in her group.  She hopes to teach her swimmers to love and appreciate the sport of swimming, to encourage and support their teammates and to understanc the importance of hard work and determination.

A fun fact about Coach Alyssa:  She loves to scuba dive and has been a certified diver since she was 10 years old.

Randolph Charcalla FMAC Pre-Senior 2

Randy is a second year coach with the Rays and a lifelong swimmer.  He started swimming competitively at age 9 for his local YMCA team and swam for his high school in Pennsylvania where he grew up.  After a long hiatus from routine swimming he reentered the sport joining US Masters Swimming in 2018 and has been competing at regional meets. He graduated from Penn State with a degree in MIS and currently works in the health industry supporting technology.

Lorena Lee FMAC Atlantic & MiniRays

Hi! I'm one of the FMAC coaches,I work with all 3 levels of MiniRays and Atlantic. I'm originally from Paraguay, right at the heart of South America, I have been swimming since age 4, My favorite stroke is butterfly. I have been living in Fort Mill since 2011 with my husband and two children.  I love baking,  exercise and spending time with my family. Fun fact about me: I speak 4 languages .

Heather Stout FMAC Atlantic and Mini Rays

Heather grew up in and around Wichita, Kansas and moved to the Carolinas in 2002.  She’s a regular at the former ASCG, now Fort Mill UPYMCA Complex, pool where’s she’s taught all age groups of swimmers: from preschool, swim team, adults, and triathletes over the last the last three years.  She’ll be coaching the Mini Rays and Atlantic teams.  She’s excited to see so many familiar faces from the Complex joining the Rays!
Fun fact: Heather once bribed pool attendants to allow her to swim in the outdoor Moscow Olympic pool in the middle of winter!

William Russey FMAC Senior Asst Coach

Coach Will is originally from Southern California. He will be involved with many groups for this upcoming season. Coach Will has been involved in coaching for over 25 years.

Coach Will started swimming by taking lessons at the local YMCA and later joined the swim team. In high school, he started to play water polo as well. After high school, he attended community college where he continued to compete in both water polo and swimming. The swim team won a state title in his second year. He earned a full scholarship to play water polo and swim at a four year university. Upon graduation, he started his coaching career at a club team and high school.

Coach Will is excited to begin working with the Rays and hopes to pass on all he has learned over the years to his swimmers. Doing the little things in practice and learning good habits will make all the difference in the world.

In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter by traveling as much as possible.

Sara Swanton FMAC Asst. Coach

Sara is a assistant coach in most groups at the FMAC location. Primarily works with the Pre-senior 2 and Senior 2 Groups. 

Originally from Michigan, I swam for the Saginaw YMCA growing up. I then swam distance freestyle and butterfly for Alma College. I have taught swim lessons and helped coach a few local teams before moving to South Carolina where I am a family medicine physician.  I still enjoy swimming, as well as running and golfing.  I would not give up any of my time as a competitive swimmer and hope to foster the same in others. 

Doug Fleck CSD Senior Groups

Coach Doug Fleck is from Elkhart, Indiana.  He coaches Pre Senior and Manta at our Clover site.  Coach Doug has over 55 years of coaching and swimming experience.  He started coaching summer league swimming at the age of 16 and year round swimming at 26 years old.  He has coached at the Johnston YMCA in Charlotte, Palm Springs, Texas Swim Camp, Team Charlotte Swimming and Charlotte Swim Masters.

 

Coach Doug has had tremendous success as a coach.  Coach Doug coached the first ever 12 year old to go under a minute in the 100 back in North Carolina.  He coached athletes to Olympic Trial cuts in 04”, 08’ and 12’.   Coach Doug played a strategic part in having an athlete place 2ndat Senior Nationals in the 200 breaststroke.  He also coached the World Record holder in 100 Fly for masters.

 

Coach Doug is a level 3 ASCA certified coach.   He also took 1stplace in the 50-yard backstroke at North Carolina State his 1styear swimming.  In college he was a NAIA qualifier for 3 years.  As a masters swimmer he placed 3rdin the 50 fly at the World Championship and took a 1stplace finish in the 400 IM at YMCA Master Nationals.

 

Coach Doug believes technique is critical for improvement as an athlete develops mentally and physically. He knows a strong kick promotes a strong fluid stroke that will in turn instill a strong swimming game!  He believes an athlete needs to enjoy what the sport brings to you and to appreciate and respect the process.  Coach Doug says circle swimming is life; it is full of angles, decisions, memories, challenges, failures, success and treasured friendships.

 

When Doug isn’t on the pool deck, he is at home with his wife, Beth, and his two dogs, Gracie and Koors.

 

Some interesting facts about Coach Dog:  He played tennis, soccer, basketball, baseball, rugby, ran cross-country and swam in college!  He also has the same birthday as his father and grandmother.

 

James Williams CSDY Blue / Electric / Manta Coach

James will be coaching at our CSD Community YMCA Location. For the early month of the 2021-2022 season he will be working with Blue, Electric, and Manta on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays & then the senior groups with coach Tim on Tuesday Thursdays. 

Bio to come. 

Katie Conley CSDY Atlantic and Minis

Primary Groups: Coach Katie will be co-leading the Atlantic Rays and Mini Rays at the CSD Community YMCA

Katie is very excited to be a part of the YMCAUP Rays! Her passion for swimming goes back to when she was 5 years old on the Indian River Community College summer league team. Katie swam competitively for 10 years at St. Edwards Aquatics and with the St. Lucie YMCA River Rats until she moved to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University. After graduation Katie moved to Gainesville FL where she coached for Makos Aquatic Club and Gator Swim Club. From Gainesville she moved to Greenville SC (best decision of her life) and coached at Y-Spartaquatic Swim Club where she met her amazing husband.

It has always been Katie's dream to be a swim coach. She was fortunate to have the opportunity right out of college. Katie has experience coaching a wide range of age groups from small children to high school and masters. She is excited to get to know the RAYS family and help with coaching and other team functions!

 

 

Annika Akins RHAC Atlantic and MiniRays

Coach Annika Akins is from Fort Wayne, IN.  She will be coaching Mini Rays, Atlantic and Electric.  Coach Annika has been coaching for 3 years.

Coach Annika swam competitively for 12 years on a club team called SWAC.  She was a top 8 finisher at her high school state.  She was also a high school sectional winner and top 7 at state. Coach Annika was a varsity swimmer for 3 years.  One of her most rewarding achievements as an athlete was reaching her personal best time in the 100 fly in her last swim meet ever.  She also values her memory of winning sectionals her senior year.

As a coach, Coach Annika hopes to teach her athletes that everything counts.  What you do in practice, you’ll do at meets.  She believes if you don’t want to do something or do something at meets you have to practice that skill at practice.

Fun fact about Coach Annika:  She has met Michael Phelps twice!

Jennifer Sustar RHAC Atlantic and MiniRays

Jennifer will be co-leading the Atlantic Rays and Mini Rays at RHAC. 

My name is Jennifer Sustar. I started coaching Atlantic and Mini Rays at RHAC in May while Coach Annika was on her summer break. I am originally from Milwaukee, WI, were I started competitive swimming at age 8. I have no natural swim talent but I love the sport! I love the friends, the competition, the hard work, the early mornings, all of it! I swam through high school but did not pursue a college swim career, instead I joined my colleges club synchronized swim team! Because the sport is so small I was able to participate at collegiate nationals all four years. I competed against beginners like myself as well as Olympic athletes. Synchronized swimming gave me another reason to love the water and swimming. I continued to swim with a masters team until moving to SC to get a degree in Timber framing. I live with my fiance, my 18 month daughter, and a bunch of animals, including yard sheep. I am exciting to continue coaching with the Rays and hope to get myself back in the water soon as well!

Cheryl Reinke RHAC Senior Groups & Electric Rays

Cheryl is returning to age-group coaching after 10+ years. Her coaching backgrounds includes coaching age-group swimming at Galion Community Center YMCA and Shelby YMCA Community Center in the 1980s, Mini-Rays in 2006, and South Pointe High School this year.  In 2009 she started the master swimming group at the RHAC which included open water swimming in Lake Wylie.

Cheryl was a distance swimmer for Westlake High School and Wright State University in Ohio setting school records at both.  After 2 shoulder surgeries and a 20+ year hiatus she returned to swimming in 2006.  She is an avid marathon open water swimming.  Over the past several years she has worked with budding age-group open water swimmers.

She is a 2-time masters open water national champion, female masters champion at Round The Sound (a 10K in Bermuda), female champion of SCAR (a 4-day 42 mile open water stage race in Arizona) and Beaufort River Swim and overall champion at Swim Around Charleston (a 12.4 mile swim around the Charleston Peninsula), Cliff Backyard Ultra (Denver, CO) and 8 Bridges Hudson Swim (a 7-day 120 mile open water swim in the Hudson River). 

Cheryl has a degree in Biomedical Engineering and currently works as a contractor in the automation industry.

Amy McMaster FMB MiniRays
Amy is returning to swim coaching after a long hiatus, but has been a lifelong swimmer.  She started swimming competitively at age 6 for her local YMCA team, swam for her high school in Quebec, Canada, where she grew up, and played on the women's water polo team at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada.  She returned to her hometown in Quebec for several summers during college to lifeguard at her local YMCA pool, where she also coached the summer swim team and water polo team.  
 
Following college, Amy moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, where she obtained a law degree from the College of WIlliam and Mary School of Law.  She practiced for many years in a Washington, D.C.-based firm, before moving in 2015 with her husband and four young children to Fort Mill, S.C. to work as General Counsel for a SC mining company.  Amy currently works part-time for a Knoxville-based law firm, and enjoys spending her free time swimming, gardening, camping, volunteering, making pottery and jewelry, and spending time with her children, husband and friends.
Tim Conley Regional Vice President of YMCAUP

Director of Operations for the Rays and Upper Palmetto YMCA Regional Vice President. As we search for a new Head Coach, Coach Tim will be available via email or phone call. [email protected] or 803-831-9622

Tim Conley was named brought to Rock Hill in 2013, named head coach of the Rays in May of that year.. The team flourished under his leadership, growing from about 80 swimmers to well over 300 in a matter of 4 years. Tim came to the Rays from YSSC in Greenville/Spartanburg where he was for 9 years. In those 9 years Tim was named Age Group Coach of the Year by the coaches of South Carolina 7 times. He was not only the first age group coach to receive the honor in back to back seasons, but 5 years in a row. In 9 years Tim and his colleagues at YSSC took the team from 75 swimmers in 2004 to 475+ swimmers currently. The team is nationally ranked in all levels of competition from Age Group to Senior.  His impact upon the teams he has worked for and the entire state has been felt at every meet his swimmers attend. Tim is a passionate coach who cares deeply about each and every swimmer he has the opportunity to work with. He prides himself on getting to know the swimmers both in the water and out. His attention to stroke technique and his ability to challenge young athletes mentally and physically has earned him the respect of swimmers and parents. Not one to EVER sit down on pool deck, Tim breaths electric energy into the Rays program. Tim has been a part of numerous South Carolina Zone Teams as both an asst and head coach. He was the age group chair for the board at South Carolina Swimming for 4 years and was the Coaches Rep for multiple years on the SC Swimming Board of directors. He was also named 2014-2015 South Carolina Coach of the Year in April of 2015 by his coaching peers in the state!

In the fall of 2017, Tim was promoted to Regional Vice President within the Upper Palmetto YMCA. He is still involved with the RAYS swim team as Director of Operations.

Tim hails from Drexel Hill, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Tim graduated from Shippensburg University with a degree in accounting. While attending college, Tim coached the Chambersburg YMCA and was the Head Coach of the James Buchanan HS. Tim is devout fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and sometimes the Sixers. Tim, his wife Katie, son Charlie, Daughter Abigail, and son Campbell enjoy spending time with their dog Ace.

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