Coaches and PAC

Coaching Staff
Gary Taylor Head Coach

Lead Coach: Senior National

Gary Taylor is in his first year with Cavalier Aquatics of Charlottesville, VA. Taylor was previously the head coach at Auburn University following North Carolina State where he spent the previous six seasons, including the last two as associate head coach. 

Under Taylor’s leadership, Auburn’s men’s and women’s teams both went 5-2 in dual meets in 2019-2020. At the SEC Championships, the women won three titles and set SEC records in both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays en route to a fifth-place finish. The men placed eighth with a number of Tigers swimming top 10 all-time performances in program history. Though there were no NCAA Championships, Auburn had 19 receive CSCAA All-American honors (18 women, 11 men) 

In Taylor’s first season on the Plains, he helped guide the Auburn women to a 12th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. The women’s team featured nine CSCAA All-Americans and three SEC titles – Erin Falconer in the 200 free, Aly Tetzloff in the 100 backstroke, and the winning 400 freestyle relay team. On the men’s side, Santiago Grassi earned All-American honors in the 100 butterfly at the NCAA Championships. 

Prior to Auburn, Taylor’s primary responsibility with the NC State program was working with the distance freestyle events and stroke aspects and assisting with recruiting responsibilities. In six seasons, he coached 11 swimmers to NC State school records and 97 to all-time top 10 performances.

Taylor played a vital part in guiding the NC State men to four-straight ACC Championship titles and three consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including top-four finishes in each of the last three years. In addition, while Taylor was at NC State, the Wolfpack women were crowned conference champions in 2017, tabbing its first conference title since 1980. The women’s team also achieved its highest NCAA finish in program history, placing seventh in 2017.

In 2017-18, Taylor’s final season at NC State, his distance group was the only in Division I to have a male and female finish in top three of 1650 freestyle at the NCAA Championships, including NCAA men’s champion Anton Ipsen. The NC State men earned a fourth-place finish at the 2018 NCAA Championships, winning a program-best five NCAA titles. The women finished 18th, which included three top-16 finishes in the 1650 free.

Ipsen was named the 2018 ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year as he earned All-America honors in the 500 free and All-America honorable mention honors in the 400 IM to go along with his 1650 free title. He was an ACC Champion in the 1650 free, 500 free, 400 IM and 800 free relay.

During the 2016-17 season, Taylor coached four athletes to the men's and women's NCAA Championships where they earned seven total All-America honors. At the ACC Championships, he led Ipsen to his third-straight title in the 500 free and a runner-up finish in the 1650 free. Adam Linker also tabbed All-ACC honors in the 500 and 1650 free events. On the women's side, Taylor helped Hannah Moore to All-ACC honors in the 500 free and 400 IM and Rachel Muller to a third place finish in the 1650 free.

In the 2015-16 season Taylor helped to lead Ipsen to ACC titles and All-America honors in the 500 and 1650 free for the second-straight season, as well as a berth to the 2016 Olympic Games in the 400m and 1,500m freestyle. Linker additionally earned the first All-America honors of his career in the 500 and 1650 free at the 2016 NCAA Championship.

Taylor also played a part in the development of recent graduate Christian McCurdy and Justin Ress's successful rookie season. McCurdy was a three-time ACC Champion and All-American during his career and Ress was named the 2016 ACC Male Freshman of the Year. Ipsen tabbed the mention in 2015, marking the second-straight year a Wolfpack swimmer earned the honor.

Prior to joining the NC State staff, Taylor spent the previous four years as the distance coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida State. The distance program at Florida State flourished under Taylor's tutelage as eight school records were broken during his stint with the program, and 43 all-time top-10 marks were achieved.

Taylor guided four athletes to individual crowns at the ACC Championships while at Florida State, including Juan Sequera, who was named Freshman of the Year in 2012, and Mateo DeAngulo, who took home Swimmer of the Year and Performer of the Championships honors. Taylor guided seven individuals to the NCAA Championships over the course of his four seasons, including DeAngulo, who earned first team All-America honors in 2012.

Prior to taking the reigns of the distance program at Florida State, Taylor spent three years coaching for the Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta, Ga. He coached multiple age sectional and state record holders, as well as age group sectional and state champions. He was named the Georgia Age Group Coach of the Year in 2007.

Before coaching with the Dynamo, Taylor spent six years with the Twin Cities Swim Team. He was the lead site coach in Minnetonka, Minn., and gained experience in both the business and coaching aspects of the sport through the program.

Taylor was a former student-athlete at the University of Minnesota, and was a member of the 1998 Big Ten Championship swimming team. He graduated in 2001 with a B.S. in sport management.

Todd DeSorbo Director of High Performance

Todd DeSorbo was hired as the head men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach in August 2017. Since taking over, the women have won two ACC titles, and were seeded to become national champions before the COVID crisis caused the meet to be cancelled. In 2020, the women scored the most points in a single ACC championship, ever. The men have rocketed from the bottom of the NCAA to a top 10 finish in 2019, and to a second place ACC finish behind a fiercely competitive NC State squad in 2020. 

Prior to coming to Virginia, Desorbo spent six years at NC State as an associate head coach, bringing the program to the national and international stage. There, DeSorbo worked primarily with the Wolfpack sprinters and was a developmental specialist. He oversaw the programs’ recruiting, training and day-to-day operations. Additionally, Todd coached Ryan Held to the 2016 Olympic team, where he helped the USA win gold in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay.

Todd joins CAV-Y as Director of High Performance, and adds a wealth of knowledge and experience to the coaching staff. 

DeSorbo holds two accounting degrees from UNCW, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1999 and a master’s degree in 2000. A native of Salisbury, N.C., DeSorbo is married to Lauren Suggs. They have one son, Jack, and one daughter, Cate who are both on the team.

Wes Foltz Head Age Group Coach

Lead Coach: Senior Blue, Sabre Orange

Wes Foltz enters his first full season with Cavalier Aquatics of Charlottesville, VA. Foltz was previously the assistant coach at the University of Virginia for 5 seasons where the Women’s program won 2 NCAA Championships. He has also had stops as an assistant coach at NC State University and the University of Southern California where both programs had multiple top 4 NCAA team finishes. 

Foltz helped guide Virginia’s women’s team to the program’s first and second NCAA Championships in 2020-21 and 2021-2022. In 2021 UVA won six national titles in individual and relay events at the NCAA Championships, the most ever by an ACC program. The Cavaliers had 12 athletes named to CSCAA All-America Teams (10 first team and two second team). Virginia also won its third women’s ACC Championship in four years, and league-record 17th overall. The men’s team had its best finish at NCAA’s since 2011, placing ninth overall, and picked up 28 All-America honors. Matt Brownstead won ACC titles in the 50 free and 100 free and the men’s team had five All-ACC honors.

Foltz helped coach the upper sprint group and worked with all four strokes during the 2019-20 season. He helped the women’s team capture their 16th ACC title and second title since he joined the staff in 2017. Paige Madden was named the ACC Swimmer of the Year and ACC Swimmer of the Meet, while Kate Douglass was named the ACC Freshman Swimmer of the Year. The men’s team earned its best finish at the ACC Championships since 2013, finishing as the conference runner-up. Combined, Virginia recorded 12 ACC titles and 23 All-ACC honors.

During the 2018-19 season, Foltz aided the Cavaliers with a sixth-place NCAA finish on the women’s side and a 10th-place finish on the men’s side. Foltz coached Megan Moroney, Kaki Christensen, Keefer Barnum, Cooper Wozencraft and Casey Storch to All-America honors In his first season with the Cavaliers, Virginia reclaimed the women’s ACC title, while the men’s team finished third at the conference championships. The women’s team finished the season with a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships as the men captured a 29th-place finish. The Cavaliers earned All-America honors in 21 events. Foltz aided the program in earning 34 All-America selections on the men’s side and 25 selections on the women’s side.

Foltz served as an assistant coach at NC State in 2016-17, helping the program achieve one of its best performances in recent history. Both programs finished in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships with the men earning a fourth-place finish while the women tabbed seventh. Additionally, the programs both won the 2017 ACC title with the men capturing the championship for the third year in a row and the women earning the conference trophy for the first time since 1980.

During his time with the Wolfpack, Foltz helped coach 34 male and 25 female All-American performances. Additionally, he had a hand in the Pro Group Wolfpack Elite’s success over the last year including a World Championship title by Simonas Bilis and a third-place finish for Cullen Jones at the 2017 U.S. World Championship Trials.

Prior to NC State, Foltz worked at Southern California (2014-16) as an assistant coach, helping the program record 64 All-American performances. During this time, the women’s program captured the 2016 Pac-12 conference championship and a sixth-place finish at the NCAAs. The men’s team recorded the conference title in 2015 in addition to finishing fourth at the NCAAs. The coaching staff earned Pac-12 Staff of the Year honors in 2015 for the men’s program and 2016 for the women’s program.

Foltz served as an assistant coach for the Trojan Swim Club from 2014-16, where he worked with 31 Olympic and World Championships qualifiers, in addition to helping guide six Olympic gold medalist and nine U.S. national team members.

From 2012-15, Foltz was a volunteer assistant coach for NC State in addition to working with the Marlins of Raleigh Swim Team (2012-14) as an assistant coach.

Foltz has an extensive background operating meets helping to run the 2015 Special Olympic Games the 2015-16 Los Angeles Invitational and all of the Southern California home meets.

Foltz has a Masters degree in Education & Counseling Psychology in Positive Coaching from the University of Missouri.  He also has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Towson. While at Townson, Foltz was awarded the most valuable swimmer for the university. He was awarded the Unsung Hero Award for Towson Swimming in 2010 in addition to being named the Rookie of the Year in 2009.

Ariel Howard Head Developmental Coach

Lead Coach: Sabre Blue, Wahoo Orange, Junior Hoos

Coach Ariel is joining Cavalier Aquatics after 6 years with Coast Guard Blue Dolphins.  She has coached swimmers at the beginning level all the way to the Senior level.  Coach Ariel enjoys working with all levels of swimmers and making a connection to help them understand the sport of swimming. During her time at Coast Guard Blue Dolphins she was selected for Virginia Swimming Zones Coach in 2018, 2019.  She was also selected for the 2021 IMX Select Camp with Virginia Swimming.  Coach Ariel has also coached Hampton Roads Academy in 2017 where both the men and women’s teams won the State title and in 2018 the Men won states and the women placed 6th.  Coach Ariel has also coached for the Sandpipers of Nevada in 2016. She has also worked with Master Swimming and enjoys learning more about swimmers and their passion of the sport. Coach Ariel graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Mass Communication and Social Media degree. She has one dog, Captain Jack who loves to swim in lakes or oceans.

Fun Fact: Coach Ariel worked at Walt Disney World.

Conor Hassard Senior Associate Head Coach

Lead Coach: Senior Orange, Cavalier Orange

Conor Hassard is in his second year with Cavalier Aquatics in the 2022-23 season.

Hassard previously spent the past season as a part-time coach at Cavalier Aquatics and a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Virginia.  In the 2021-22 season, the Virginia women won the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row, and the men finished in the Top 10 for the third consecutive year.  Members of the program set numerous NCAA, US Open, and American records in 2022, and won several individual national titles at Speedo Summer Nationals.

Hassard worked with the Senior Groups in his first season with Cavalier Aquatics.  The program captured its first YMCA Short Course National Championship and had several members compete at Speedo Junior Nationals in August 2022, where the men's team finished 4th and the men and women finished 10th in the combined standings.

Prior to moving to Virginia, Hassard spent the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons as an assistant coach at Villanova University.  With Villanova, Hassard handled the men’s team recruiting and coached a group of distance and middle-distance athletes.  In his two seasons, the women’s team won the 2020 and 2021 Big East Conference Championships, and Hassard was named to the Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year at both meets.

David Anderson Assistant Coach

Lead Coach: Cavalier Blue, Wahoo Blue

Dave Anderson is excited to be working with Cavalier Aquatics in the 2022-23 season. He previously spent the last three years with 757 Swim in Williamsburg, VA where he was the lead coach of two groups and worked as an assistant with every group (ages 5-18). Dave spent his last two summers as the Head Coach of the First Colony Flyers, winning the VPSU Championship two years in a row.

Growing up, Dave swam for Williamsburg Aquatic Club and Lafayette High School, where he earned All-State honors as well as the team winning the state championship his senior year. He attended Hampden-Sydney College where he broke 2 individual records and 3 relay records. After his freshman year, Dave retired from swimming to focus on tennis. At Hampden-Sydney, he played in the #1 doubles spot and the #3 singles spot. 

Dave enjoys working with swimmers of all ages and brings a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm to Cavalier Aquatics. His coaching philosophy is to make swimmers enjoy swimming and enjoy competition.

Hunter Mitchell Assistant Coach
Coach Hunter grew up in the Charlottesville/Crozet area swimming for the Crozet Gators for 13 years and Western Albemarle High School for 4 years. This is Hunter's 4th season with CYAC. He was lead Bronze Coach during the 2017-2018 season and has served as an Assistant Coach for the program since 2015.  This past summer he served as Head Coach of the Crozet Gators Swim Team, and an assistant coach with the team two summers prior to being the Head Coach. This past season he led the Gators to an undefeated regular season, Sportsmanship Award winners for Division I and a second place finish at JSL Champs.
Kevin Steel Assistant Coach

Kevin Steel is in his first year with Cavalier Aquatics. Prior to coming to Charlottesville, Kevin was a Volunteer Coach with Kenyon College in Ohio and ran the local age group swim program.

During his time with Kenyon, the Ladies won the 2022 Women’s D3 NCAA Championship team title. Kevin assisted with the sprint and short stroke swimmers with the program and worked with several NCAA Individual and relay champions. He was also the strength coach for the swim & dive team in the weight room and coordinated all team dryland activities.

Before entering the college swim scene, Kevin got his coaching start in Arizona working with the Sahuarita Stingrays first as Associate Head Coach and then promoted to Head Coach at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Under Kevin’s guidance, the program saw several Arizona state champions and an Olympic Trials qualifier.

Kevin originally got his feet wet in coaching in the weight room, interning for a year in the University of Arizona Olympic Sports Weight Room assisting with numerous sports from baseball to swimming. He is currently a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach with the NSCA and is working to complete a Sports Nutrition certification.

As a swimmer, Kevin started in the summer league world before joining the YMCA club program. He would finish 2nd in back to back appearances at the YMCA National Championships in the 100 Breaststroke and eventually go on to swim for the University of Arizona. His career highlights are as a Wildcat include 2 Olympic Trials appearances, a 2nd place finish (behind fellow Arizona swimmer) in the 100 Breaststroke at the 2013 NCAA Championships, a 1st place finish at USA Swimming Nationals in the 50 Breaststroke (setting 2 US Open Records in the process), and earned a spot on the 2013 USA World Championship team.

Kevin is also joining the University of Virginia Swim & Dive program as a Volunteer Coach.

Chris Taylor Assistant Coach

Coach Chris is a long-time resident of the Charlottesville area and has contributed greatly to the Central Virginia swimming community, both in USA Swimming and summer league.  Joining Cavalier Aquatics ahead of the 2021-22 season, Chris brings a wealth of effective swimming knowledge and experience formed from 32 years of coaching experience as well as a highly successful swimming career of his own.

During his years of coaching, Chris has worked with multiple Olympic trial and Senior National qualifiers, numerous Junior National qualifiers, a host of Division I, II, and III collegiate swimmers (many of whom went on to be conference champions), multiple state record holders, a National Age Group record holder, and a men's State Age Group Championship for mid-size teams.

As a swimmer, Chris competed at the highest level and was an Olympic Trials qualifier in the 100 Backstroke. During his time at Clemson University, Chris qualified for the Men's NCAA Championships, received ACC Honorable Mention awards, and set a Clemson University Medley Relay record. Other accomplishments include:

  • Senior Nationals qualifier in the 100 Back, 200 Back, and 200 IM
  • 2-time YMCA National Champion in the 100 Back
  • Top 3 Finish at Junior Nationals in the 100 Back
  • Junior Nationals Finalist in the 200 Back, 200 IM, and 400 IM
  • Multiple state record holder in the 100 Back and 200 Back
Parent Advisory Committee
Marco Mejias Chair & Meet Director
Jen Charlton Vice Chair & Volunteer Coordinator
Simon Davidson Secretary
Mary Jamison Apparel Coordinator
Jonna Garono Event/Hospitality Coordinator
Kristen Wells Meet Director
Jessica Simons USA/VA Swimming Rep
Brad Heilman At Large
Sara Johnson At Large
Martha Cullaty At Large
Joe Smith At Large