Excel Aquatics Coaching Staff

The list below is Excel coaches grouped by location in the following order:

  • Brentwood
  • Gallatin
  • Longview
  • Murfreesboro
Coaches - grouped by location
Steven Murry Head Coach

Steven Murry started swimming with Excel Aquatics in 1998 and achieved team records in the 400-yard individual medley (IM), 1,000-yard freestyle, and 1,650-yard freestyle. 

Steven then went on to swim at Indiana University for three years where he obtained the team record for the 400-yard IM.  He was a top 16 finalist in three events (1,650-yard freestyle, 400-yard IM, and 200-yard IM) at the Big Ten Championships.  He was a three-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Championships qualifier in the 400-yard IM and 200-yard IM; additionally, he was named an NCAA Division I All American and ranked 13th nationally in the 400-yard IM.

Steven swam at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials after qualifying in the 400-yard IM and 200-yard IM. 

After an injury, Steven finished his bachelor’s degree at Middle Tennessee State University.

Steven has worked in numerous roles with Excel Aquatics.  He started out as a swim instructor.  He was then the Murfreesboro Site Coordinator while he also served as the Masters Head Coach and Triathlete Assistant Coach.  In 2010, he was named the Head Age Group Coach and helped the program to become ranked in the top 50 nationally.

Steven has been the Head Coach and CEO for Excel Aquatics since 2014.  He has coached top 10 nationally ranked swimmers, U.S. Olympic Trial qualifiers, and a U.S. Junior National Team member at a team that consistently ranks in the top 100 teams in the country.  He has also helped the team’s programming expand to 10 facilities across four counties.

Steven enjoys seeing athletes learn new skills and work toward their personal goals.  He believes in cultivating a team environment where athletes celebrate their teammates’ success as much as their own success.  He carries over his values about teamwork while leading the staff.

Off the pool deck, Steven enjoys staying active through CrossFit and fishing.  He is a Tennessee native from Columbia and currently lives in Brentwood.  He met his wife in high school while they were both swimming for Excel Aquatics.

Benji DeMotte Site Coordinator - Brentwood

Benji got his first coaching job in the summer of 1992 and has been coaching ever since. His first full-time coaching job was as the Head Coach at Binghamton University which was a NCAA Division 3 team that transitioned to Division 1 while he was there.

From there, he coached at the University of Arkansas, NW Arkansas Aquatics, Episcopal School of Jacksonville, South Carolina Swim Club, NOVA Aquatics and now Excel Aquatics (since 2018). Originally, Benji coached the 13-14 Group at Brentwood but has since transitioned to Senior Coaching.

Benji lives in Franklin with his bride Laura DeMotte and their three children, Sam, Abby and Macey, all of which have swum at Excel.

Brennan Riddle Lead Varsity Coach - Brentwood

Coach Brennan Riddle began coaching in 2007 and started with Excel Aquatics in 2013. He has been heading up the Varsity (13-14) group at Brentwood since 2021, and this is his second stint at the Brentwood location. 

Before moving back to the Brentwood site, Riddle spent five years as the Site Coordinator at the Murfreesboro location. While at that location, he coached one U.S. Open qualifier, one Speedo Summer Championships qualifier, multiple Winter Junior Qualifiers, and several NCSA Junior National Qualifiers, along with Tennessee High School state champions, and Southeastern Champions.

Riddle comes to Excel Aquatics after a year as an assistant women’s coach for The Ohio State University. At Ohio State, Riddle worked primarily with middle-distance and IM swimmers. While there, Riddle coached a Big Ten Champion, Four All-Americans, as well as Junior Pan-Pacific qualifier.

Before his time in Columbus, Riddle spent two years as a Graduate Assistant at top Division II Delta State University, coaching while earning his Master’s in Sports Management. During his time at Delta State, the Statesmen and Lady Statesmen combined for 19 team records, 30 All-Conference honors, 23 All-American honors, 11 Academic All-American honors, and 51 All-Conference Academic Honors. Riddle helped lead the Statesmen to a runner up finish at the NSISC championships and the Lady Statesmen to their first NSISC championship in over a decade.

Prior to his two years at Delta State, Riddle found success at age group levels and high school levels. He spent three years as an assistant coach for Riverdale Rapids Swim Team and Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. While at Riverdale, Riddle coached multiple athletes to regional and state meet success, as well as multiple age group swimmers to success in Southeastern Swimming.

Riddle graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2011, with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, and received his Master’s of Science in Sports Management from Delta State University in May of 2013.

Brennan lives in Nashville with his wife, Kate, who also swam growing up in upstate New York.

Bink Baxter Lead Junior Coach - Brentwood

Coach Bink grew up swimming for Excel and has been coaching with Excel for six years. He has coached and assisted multiple teams to Championship wins in the respective league of year around swimming. He has produced top level swimmers that have won individual events and relays in highly competitive swim meets. He brings the energy and passion to the pool deck and lights a fire in your swimmer’s chest to swim lights out!

Daun Lutz Lead 10 & Under Coach - Brentwood

Coach Daun has been with Excel since 2012, when she relocated here from Florida.  She started with the Excel Swim School teaching private and group lessons.  In 2015 she assumed the role of Excel's Executive Swim School Director, overseeing all the swim school locations.  She really loves working with the young swimmers and witnessing their transformation from not being able to swim to confident swimmers.  Beginning in 2016 she started to work with the Bronze (8 & U) group.  As the the team grew, so did her coaching responsibilites.

At the start of the 2022-2023 season she stepped away from her swim school responsbilities to oversee all the developing swimmers at Brentwood as the Lead 10 and Under Coach.  "It is just so much fun to work with the developing swimmers and watch them evolve into strong competitive athletes."  She is committed to fostering a love of the sport of swimming in Excel's youngest athletes. She has developed Southeastern champions and both Southeastern and Sectional qualifiers. 

She has also coached at the high school level.  While in Florida she coached at Mt. Dora High School leading them to an undefeated season in 2012.  Here in TN, she was the Ravenwood High School Head Coach for four years, and led the team to division wins, county championships, and strong finishes at Regions and State.

In her free time she loves horses and equestrian sports.  She was a four year member of the Hollins University equestrian team, competing at IHSA Nationals her Junior year.  She continues to ride today.  She also enjoys quilting.  She is married and her son Colby is a former Excel swimmer.

McKenna Morello Assistant Coach - Brentwood

Coach McKenna is an Excel Aquatics alumni now returned as a coach.  She swam for Excel from 2011-2017.  She is a graduate of Brentwood High School and was a four year member of their swim team as well.  She continued her swimming career at the Division 1 level while at the University of Tennssee.  She brings a knowledge of and love for the sport to the pool deck that the swimmers really appreciate and respond to.  Currently, McKenna works with swimmers at all levels from developmental to high performance.  The pursuit of a masters degree is what currently keeps her busy.

Lauren Geiger Assistant Coach - Brentwood
Alexandria James Assistant Coach - Brentwood

Alex has been with Excel since 2018. Since then, she has taught lessons with the Swim School. In addition to teaching lessons, she is an Assistant Coach with Excel’s Homeschool (K-12) swim team. Recently, she’s added to her responsibilities by being an Assistant Coach for the Bronze 2 and Bronze 2D (10 & under) groups. 

Alex graduated from Lipscomb University in 2020 with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Focus in Education. Her goal is to one day teach middle or high school math. 

Born and raised in Franklin, TN, Alex attended Independence High School, where she was a member of her school swim team. She swam for Excel Aquatics from 2011-2016 at both the ISC and Longview locations. Her favorite events were the 100 and 200 yard Breaststroke. 

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and going on outdoor walks.

Shantel Perry Assistant Coach - Brentwood

Shantel was a University of Kentucky Collegiate Swimmer from 2002-2006.  During that time she was and NCAA All American and qualified for the 2004 Olympic Trials. She has been coaching since 2006.  From 2013-2016, she was the Site Coordinator for our Murfreesboro location.  She then made the move to the Head coach position at Oakland High School and was there from 2017-2022.

She is married to Drew Perry and has two children, Thomas (6) & Emmeline (10).  They live in Williamson County.

Joshua Walsh Assistant Coach - Brentwood

Coach Josh has had a love for swim since he was 5 years old competing during Summer League in Austin, TX. He ended up joining Nitro in Austin when he was in middle school. Coach Josh swam with them for a few years before moving to Memphis, TN where I joined Memphis Thunder Aquatic Club (MTAC). This move was very beneficial for him as he progressed much faster and saw promising results. This led Coach Josh to compete at National Meets and eventually to swimming at the University of Tennessee. Coach Josh's time in Knoxville was fantastic and allowed him to compete at some of the highest levels. Coach Josh was able to walk away with a few records and on the Top 10 board for all UT swimmers. "I’m so grateful to still be involved in the sport and back in a team environment!

JJ Langhals Site Coordinator - Gallatin

Coach JJ has been coaching since 2007. He began with Excel Aquatics in Fall of 2016 at the Brentwood location, assisting with the Teal Group. In May of 2018, Coach JJ took over as the Gallatin Site Coordinator, where he coaches today. Coach JJ leads the Senior Group, as well as assisting the Bronze groups. During his time at Gallatin, Coach JJ has been a part of developing five NCSA Junior National Qualifiers and maintains a consistent rate of Southeastern Championship qualifiers.

Before moving to Nashville in 2015, Coach JJ was coaching as an assistant with his alma mater, Ottawa-Glandorf High School in Ottawa, Ohio. In his eight years there, JJ helped in getting the team's first boy to qualify and compete at the state championship in an individual event. Coach JJ also helped to bring the school its first Western Buckeye League Championship in Men's or Women's Swimming in 2014.

Andreea Mitrofan Lead 10 & Under Coach - Gallatin

Coach Andreea has been a professional swim coach for over 30 years. Having both parents as former swimmers and working as swim coaches, her passion for the sport of swimming started in very early ages. She started her coaching career in Romania and continued in the US. Coach Andreea has been with Excel Aquatics since 2004 and she is an ASCA level 4 coach. She developed swimmers that have competed and excelled at many levels, ranging from SES and Age Group Zones Champions, NCSA Finalist, Junior Nationals to competing at US Olympic Trials. 

In addition to having many championship titles and qualifiers with her swimmers throughout her career, she is also recognized to hold valuable skills on swim strokes and techniques. She strives for perfection in sports and character, while continuously motivating her swimmers to be the best athletes they can be in and out of the pool. She is ambitious with her swimmers’ growth & success, therefore continuously developing her skills and knowledge in sports and swimming arena through various educational learning streams.

Coach Andreea earned bachelor's degree in Economics Science with a Major in Tourism, and she also graduated from Romania National Coaching School. She resides in Gallatin with her husband and two daughters. When not on the pool deck you can find her in the water swimming, walking Nashville’s Greenways, hiking, paddle boarding, or reading. 

Riley Gaines Assistant Coach - Gallatin

Riley swam for Excel Aquatics from 8-18 years old, so her Excel roots run deep! She is a recent graduate from the University of Kentucky where she swam all four years. She finished her collegiate career as a 12x NCAA All-American, 5x SEC Champion, SEC record holder in the 200 yard butterfly, and Olympic Trial Qualifier in 2016 & 2020.

Joseph Caverlee Assistant Coach - Gallatin
Carrie Vaughan Site Coordinator - Longview

Carrie Vaughan has been involved in swimming and athletics for the past 30 years. She grew up in Hollywood, FL where she spent her childhood going to the beach, water parks and swimming pools. In high school, she joined the swim and water polo teams and lifeguarded during the summer.

Coach Carrie was more competitive in water polo than swimming—competing with her Water Polo Team at High School States and Junior Nationals, as well as on an All-American High School Team in the Pan-American Games. She has always loved training, swim practice and being at the pool, so she started coaching 8 and under swimmers her senior year of high school—helping them to improve technique and gain confidence.

Coach Carrie took a break from the pool while attending college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and starting a career as a healthcare writer and editor. However, she rediscovered her love of swimming after signing up her daughter for a summer swim team. She started coaching 10 and under athletes again and, throughout the years, has coached age group, senior and masters’ athletes, as well as Middle and High School Swim Teams.

Coach Carrie believes that swimming is a sport that is accessible to everyone and that you can start swimming at any age. Hard work, consistent training, and proper technique can help any swimmer improve and set them on a path for success. She also loves the life lessons that young athletes can learn through the sport of swimming, such as sportsmanship, goal setting and perseverance. She strives to instill these attributes in her athletes, so they realize as they head out into the world that, “They can do hard things and be successful.”

Throughout her coaching career, Coach Carrie has helped develop Southeastern qualifying swimmers, Age Group Sectional swimmers, High School State swimmers and many athletes who have gone on to swim in Colleges and Universities.

Coach Carrie has two children, a dog named Harley, and when she’s not at the pool likes to hike, read and watch movies. One day, she hopes to hike the John Muir Trail in California—all 211 miles.

Carrie Travis Lead 10 & Under Coach - Longview

Coach Carrie, or Coach "CAT," first got bitten by the “coaching bug" as a college student in Oregon, where she took the role as head coach for a high school dance team.  During her years with that team they saw the team grow from 10 students to 45 and achieved several state level trophies.

Swim coaching came decades later for Carrie, after the birth of her three children.  She very much wanted her children to be competent and safe while in the water.  After years of bringing them to swim lessons which evolved into bringing them to the Excel competitive team, Carrie decided to become even more involved with the program.  She started with teaching swim lessons, and successfully taught 100’s of novice swimmers how to be safe in the water.  Novices continued coming to her for their intermediate, and then advanced classes, and then even asking for private lessons to work on a specific skill that would help them with a competitive team.

Carrie's interest and involvement with the competitive team grew, until she was asked by Coach Dawn Van Ryckeghem to coach HomeSchool, Swim U, Bronze and Teal. Carrie is now the Lead Coach of the 10 and Unders at the Longview location. 

Chris Clemons Site Coordinator - Murfreesboro

Coach Chris came to Excel Aquatics in October of 2021 from the University of Florida and Gator Swim Club where he served as an assistant coach for both programs. For Gator Swim Club, he was the assistant for Gregg Troy's pro group that consisted of athletes such as Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Lochte. That pro group sent 4 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics winning 5 golds and setting 2 world records. He was also the lead coach for their elite age group program in which he helped athletes capture multiple FLAGS championships, set FLAGS records, and finish ranked top 5 nationally. In his role with Florida, he helped coach athletes to SEC and NCAA championships while also setting school records along the way. He also got to work with Olympic champion Bobby Finke and Olympic medalist Kieran Smith.

Prior to this, he was the assistant, head age group, and eventually head coach of the Manhattan Marlins. He helped coach multiple athletes to LSC championship cuts and LSC championships, as well as achieving Junior National time standards. He also got tasked with helping navigate the team through COVID, eventually kick-starting the team back into a full training operation.

Coach Chris has also served as an intern at SwimMAC Carolina and the University of Texas. These opportunities allowed him to be immersed in some of the nations top club and collegiate programs along with some of the top coaches in the sport of swimming such as Eddie Reese and Kathy McKee.

Coach Chris has an extreme passion for the sport of swimming and really values the relationships that are built through it as well as the multiple life lessons that our great sport teaches us.

Dakota Heflin Lead 10 & Under Coach - Murfreesboro

Dakota Heflin is an experienced competitive swimmer beginning in her hometown of Sarasota, Florida where she swam for the Sarasota Sharks from ages 5-18 under the talented and nationally-awarded coaching staff of Steve Brown, Sherwood Watts and numerous others.

Heflin was a "Junior Olympian" as early as 8 y/o for 100 breaststroke and went on to compete at the state level throughout her swimming career primarily in 100 breaststroke and distance freestyle. She also served as Team Captain of the Riverview Rams High School swim team and was presented with the Coach's Award for outstanding leadership—one of her most prized possessions to this day, as there is nothing better than being recognized for hard work by the people you highly respect. 

Heflin attended Middle Tennessee State University for their top tier Music Business Program (music; her other passion--and was employed as a publicist amongst the Country music scene in Nashville for 5 years). Since MTSU doesn’t have a collegiate swim team, Heflin swam USMS (Masters) and discovered her love for coaching by becoming a USMS-Certified Coach in order to organize and run the Masters program on campus.

With a brief period coaching the Clarksville YMCA Barracudas prior, Heflin originally joined the Excel Aquatics staff as an age group coach in 2018. Heflin also coached the Oakland High School (Murfreesboro, TN) swim team alongside Shantel Perry for the ’21-’22 high school season leading them to their 10th consecutive county championship title. 

With a passion for teaching technique and honing stroke development, Heflin is now the lead age group coach (Teal & Junior) at the Murfreesboro satellite of Excel Aquatics as well as the Swim School Director for all ‘boro locations.

When Heflin is not on the pool deck, you can find her outdoors with her husband, daughter, dogs and goats! 

Katherine Minatra Assistant Coach - Murfreesboro