Practice schedule: Monday - Friday 6:00 - 7:30 AM. At the Gayton Site
$65 per month includes NOVAFit membership 


                                   Contact Coach Mark Kutz for more information, [email protected] or (804)339-0246

There is also a practice offered Mon/Wed/Fri from 8:30-9:30 am swimming at Gayton
with Coach Mark for folks with flexible schedules!

NOVA Masters swimming program serves swimmers of any ability age 19 and over who wish to swim in a structured training program and maybe even competitively. 

US Masters Swimming (USMS) is a national organization that serves adult swimmers through Masters programs across the country. Founded in 1970, USMS currently serves over 54,000 swimmers. The organization supports recreational swimming and competition for swimmers age 19+. More than half of USMS members participate recreationally and do not compete. Like USA Swimming, the United States is divided into zones; our USMS zone includes most of Virginia and part of West Virginia. There are 30 Masters clubs in the zone with about 950 swimmers. Masters swimmers at NOVA are affiliated with the Virginia Masters Swim Team, which has over 300 members.

The NOVA group is coached by our own Mark Kutz (read more about Coach Mark here). Mark has been involved with NOVA for 17 years, and with Masters swimming for 15  years. Mark is a certified level 4 US Swimming coach. In 2012, he won USMS’ Kerry O’Brien Coaching award, which is given in recognition of coaches who have done a great job in building strong USMS membership in local communities. He has contributed regularly to the USMS magazine, Swimmer.

NOVA’s Masters team currently includes 30 swimmers, ranging in age from 19 to 75. Many of these swimmers participated competitively as kids and missed the excitement of racing. Some have come to swimming as a way to get exercise and keep healthy as they have grown older. Whatever the reason, this tight-knit group has a great time.

Mark’s role as coach includes developing the structured practices, overseeing the training, and helping those swimmers who wish to compete with their racing strategy. “When these swimmers train with a regular group, they benefit from not only the camaraderie, but also get a better and more consistent work out,” states Kutz. “They may have started swimming for the exercise, but I think many of them keep coming for the friendship and fun environment.”

 Masters swimmer and former Masters World Record holder Chris Stevenson started swimming Masters just a year after his collegiate swimming career ended. Although he has participated in other sports, he comes back to swimming for both the exercise and camaraderie. He describes NOVA’s Masters group as “a great mixture of serious and fun…people want to work out and swim fast, but they also want to have fun doing it.” Chris appreciates Coach Mark’s knowledge as a coach as well as his enthusiasm, and says NOVA’s Masters group is the best of the many with which he has swum.

 There are numerous Masters meets held throughout the year. Some are local, but others are located at pools around the Mid-Atlantic. Recent meets attended by NOVA Masters swimmers include some in Richmond, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Swimmers at meets are divided into divisions based on age; swimmers only swim with those within these five-year increment groups to keep it competitive.

The Masters group at NOVA practices Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 7:30a.m. The cost is $65 per month, and also includes a NOVAFit membership, which allows Masters swimmers to utilize the pool during open lap swimming times (30+ hours a week). Mark also leads a practice from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Monday/Wednesday/Friday; the focus of this practice is more recreational than competitive.

No matter what your motivation may be, Masters may be a good fit for you. If you’re interested in joining Masters at NOVA, contact Mark at [email protected] or (804)339-0246. The business office can also answer questions about the program.


​Be sure to scroll down to catch the NOVA Master's spotlight swimmer!


Special Edition- Master's Nationals


click here for the latest Summer 2022


NOVA News – Early Summer 2022 Edition

Announcements –

Summer NOVA Master’s Swim Practices

Beginning Monday, June 20 – NOVA Masters swim Practices (Gayton) will be:

Monday thru Friday 6-7:30 AM or

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 7:30-8:30 AM

For those prepping for LC Nationals – M & W 4:30-5:30 PM at Regency


NOVA News -- We want to hear about YOU!!

Please email your achievements for the NOVA News to Val Pate at [email protected]

Include your name, name of event, location, date, your finish time, your place finish, age group and any other fun or interesting facts, quotes and pictures.  


Upcoming Swim competitions

June 19 – VA Beach Ocean Swim Series, VA Beach, VA   Registration deadline: S. June 18 or when filled up

There are two other swims are offered in July and August (1 mile and 3 K)


August 3-7 – USMS LC Summer Nationals, SWIMRVA pool, Richmond, VA

Registration deadline:  W. July 11


NOVA Masters – Swimmer Spotlight – Kevin Mastracci

When did you start swimming with NOVA Masters?

September 2021


What is your background as an athlete?

I started swimming competitively when I was 6 and joined the Coast Guard Blue Dolphins when I was 9. I didn't last very long with club swimming and stuck with high school and summer league swimming as a teenager. 


My love for swimming came when I was in college. I competed with the JMU Club Swim team, where I started to see myself competing at a much higher level than I ever had growing up. I was a College Club Swimming national champion and 13-time medalist during my four years in college. After graduating college, I swam on and off but never very competitively again until I joined NOVA, where I fell in love with the sport again.


What motivates you to wake up and swim at 6 am?

The people! Finding a masters group like NOVA's is incredibly rare. Having so many dedicated athletes swimming at such a high level makes it easy to wake up and swim at 6 am because it makes me feel like I'm a part of something special.


Outside of the pool, who are you?

I won't lie -- being a huge swim nerd takes up a lot of my personality. But outside of that, I work remotely full-time in Information Security, I love days spent on the beach or the lake, and I enjoy getting some hardcore relaxation in after a long week of Mark's practices.


People might be surprised to know that…

I was an all-state track athlete my senior year of high school, I specialized in the 400m. My running days are LONG behind me now.


Favorite Kutzism:

"I don't care what you say, THAT was fun!" "This one should be all-out; I would not be upset to see a *insert unachievable time here*."


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Kevin in Seattle October 2021





US Masters Spring National Championship – San Antonio, TX   April 27-May 1, 2022

Alex Marshall travelled to San Antonio for the Short Course Yards Spring National Championship.  She stated that her “races went well given the circumstances with my shoulder.  I was hoping for some faster times but pleased with how the meet went for sure.  I had a BLAST swimming outdoors and meeting new people.  Everyone was so friendly, and it was great seeing and hanging with friends.” 

Here's just how fast Alex was…

Alex Marshall - 25-29 Female

4th     50 Free         24.75

4th      100 Free       54.05

5th     50 Butterfly   26.55

3rd     100 Fly         59.00


NOVA LC Kick-Off, Regency pool, Richmond, VA - April 30-May 1, 2022

Kevin Mastracci took advantage of the opportunity to compete close to home in the new NOVA long course pool posting two fast freestyle times -

50 Free - 24.03

100 Free - 54.46

Kevin said, “This was my first long course meet in about half a decade, so very pleased with how it turned out and looking like a very promising summer ahead.”


Canadian Master’s Nationals Championships (Short

Course Meters) - Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada 

May 20-22, 2022

Alex Marshall left her mark at this meet as she swam some very fast times and placed 1st in her age group in all four events – making her a Canadian National Champion four times over!  Wow Alex!

While at this meet, Alex, as did all the swimmers, had to endure some last-minute changes to the venue which tested their patience and flexibility, as an overnight thunderstorm leading into the last day of competition, knocked out all power to the competition pool.  The officials moved the competition to the “warm-up” pool, and they made do with the good old-fashioned system of physical “hand” times as opposed to the automated timing system.  Alex said, “It was an adventure!”

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*All events were swum in SCM*

Alex Marshall - Female 25-29

100 fly (1:04.32) 

50 fly (29.09)

100 free (59.25) 

50 free (27.04) 



A group of people posing for a photoDescription automatically generatedHere’s what Alex had to say about the weekend, “This meet was a very special one for me, not only was it my first back competing in Canada since 2015 but I had my family and extended family come to watch me compete. My sister was able to come down on the pool deck and we had the best time chatting with the other swimmers and she helped me get through my races as I could see her cheering right behind the blocks. It was the perfect combination of visiting with family as well as swimming. This was the first meet in a very long time where I left the meet sad that it was over and looking forward in anticipation for the next competition.” 





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Pat Ryan travelled up I95 on Saturday, June 4 for the Reston Masters’ Jim McDonnell Lake Swims, a 2-mile cable swim in Lake Audubon, in Reston VA.  Pat finished in a time of 58:47 a mere 18 seconds out of first place in his 60-64 age group.  


Brad Phillips (29) –Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K, RICHMOND, VA 

If you’ve been wondering where Brad has been for the months of March and April, he traded his Speedo and goggles in for a pair of running shoes and training shorts.  On Saturday, April 23, 2022, Brad took to the pavement and tested his ability in the 10K road race here in Richmond, Virginia.  A perfect day for such an event as it wasn’t too hot nor too sunny.  Over 12,000 participated and Brad finished towards the front.  Here’s a look at how he fared:

Chip Time     42:44

Gun Time      42:50

Pace               6:53

A group of people running on a streetDescription automatically generated with medium confidenceOverall          302 of 12128

Men 25 – 29   41 of 594

5K split          19:50


Brad had this to say about the experience, “I took the race out with reckless abandon and just like a 200 Fly paid for it in the back half.  Great time and certainly doing it again next year.”







A group of men posing for a pictureDescription automatically generated with medium confidenceA stuffed animal on a motorcycleDescription automatically generated with low confidenceNoah Laurence has challenged himself several times this spring by competing in three triathlons all of varying distances.  On April 2 – Noah participated in the Smithfield Sprint Triathlon in Smithfield, VA which consisted of a 300m pool swim, 10-mile bike and 5k run.  He placed second in his age group and 19th overall out of 389 participants. He didn't bring home any Smithfield bacon, but he did win this sweet trophy (see photo on left).


A picture containing text, road, scoreboardDescription automatically generatedNext on Noah’s list was the - Rumpus in the Bumpus Olympic Triathlon on April 23 in Lake Anna, VA consisting of a 1.5km open water swim, 40k bike, and 10k run.  He placed first in my age group and 21st overall out of 221!!


On June 5 Noah headed to the Virginia Blue Ridge 70.3 in and around Roanoke, VA Which consisted of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike, and 13.1km run.  He placed 42nd in a very competitive age group and 361st overall out of 1,540.  He said, “the course had incredible views from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the only problem was the 5 mile climb up to the Parkway...  The descent was fun, at least.” 



Other Noteworthy News–


Val Van Horn Pate was inducted into her high school (Stuart Country Day School) Athletic Hall of Fame, as a member of the 1980 State Championship Lacrosse Team, on Saturday May 7, 2022, in Princeton, NJ.  She was the All-State goalie for her team totaling 171 saves for the season, a 76.6 save % average with 5 goals/game against average.  She tallied 19 saves, while her twin sister scored the overtime goal to secure the win (final score 6-5)!


Excited for New Job -- Sallie Turner Godwin is excited as she has been offered a teaching position at Hunter Classical Academy (off Derbyshire Road) where she will be their new 3rd-8th grade Classical Latin teacher, as well as their music teacher! She will start Fall of 2022, as will her three young kids, two of which will be attending the same school (Alice Lee, 7, 2nd grade & Edward, 5, Kindergarten) while Charlie, 3, will attend Derbyshire Pre-School in the same building.  Sallie still hopes to attend morning master’s practices but may have to hop out a tad early to get the family started for their day.


Sallie with her kids – Photo #1 Edward & Charlie, Photo #2 Alice Lee  







SWIM ACROSS AMERICA Opportunities --

We have a couple opportunities to join the Swim Across America fundraiser as a former NOVA Master swimmer, George Sushoff has registered a team, as well as a NOVA age group coach Jessie Hevener.  Take a look and support which ever one (or both) you feel drawn to.  Here are their write-ups:

Hi Mark,

     I hope you are doing well.  I wanted to let you know that I started a team for the Swim Across America cancer research fundraiser.  If anyone would like to swim in this event on August 27th, here is a link to my team.


2022 Richmond Open Water Swim: Team River City - Swim Across America


People can join the team, or simply donate to the cause.  Our team is trying to raise $15,000 this year.

     The Richmond Flying Squirrels are also doing a Crazy Wig Night at The Diamond on June 24th.  It's still in the early planning stages, but here is what we have so far.

There will be three ticket options:

#1 $10 General Admission Ticket

#2 $20 Ticket + Wig

#3 $20 Ticket + Deluxe Wig with LED lights

The Squirrels are creating the link and landing page now. We are in contact with an Olympic swimmer about getting them to come out and sign autographs at the event to entice participation, but ticket prices are crazy right now, so we aren't ready to advertise that just yet. Let me know if it would be okay to send you more details as soon as I get them.



+                      +                      +                      +                      +                      +

Calling all NOVA masters, swimmers, families, and friends! 


Participate in "Swim Across America - Richmond" on August 27th in the James River. Join our "NOVA Swimming" team and help us fundraise money for cancer research at VCU Massey Cancer Center. Team members can choose between doing a 1 -mile down river swim, a 1-mile down river float (on a float!!!), a volunteer position, or they can even participate virtually if they can't come on event day through "SAA My Way." 


Steps to Sign Up:

1. Click on the link below for the "Nova Swimming" team page


2. Click on the "Join Team" button on the right-hand side


3. Choose how you would like to participate (Note: The pop up does not have a "1-mile float" button. Choose the "In-person Swimmer" and you will be given the option to swim or float later.)


4. Set a fundraising goal and create your personal page. Your registration fee will also go towards your fundraising goal!


We would love to see as many people as possible participate in helping us fundraise money for cancer research so please come on out and invite your families and friends! There is also a competition for which team can fundraise the most money by August 27th. We are currently in 5th place right behind SwimRVA Hammerheads! If you have any questions about the event, please feel free to email Coach Jessie at [email protected] or click on the link below for general event info.



Coach Jess





NOVA Masters News -- Spring 2022

47th Annual Sunbelt Masters Swimming Championship

Sat/Sun, February 26 & 27, 2022

Charlotte, NC

            With a good four to five months of training Alex Marshall headed back to her old stomping grounds of Charlotte, NC & the MCAC pool for the 47th Annual Sunbelt Swimming Championships in late February.  A great pool for racing, as it is deep (hopefully fast), Alex was excited to get back up on the blocks but also a little anxious in that she’d been having some shoulder issues.  Saturday, she competed in three events and swam them well, finishing first in all three and posting some favorable times.  Alex felt it best not to push too hard so scratched the two events she was scheduled to swim on Sunday.  She had this to say about her meet, “My racing on Saturday felt good but something just felt off, like I couldn’t reach/feel fully into my strokes.  All in all, the races I did compete in, I left feeling optimistic of what can happen once I get healthy. Looking forward to seeing what comes next!”

Alex Marshall (W 25-29)
50 free- 24.87              Top Ten Time (3rd)
100 fly- 59.71               Top Ten time (5th
100 IM- 1:06.41

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Alex at Sunbelt Swim Champs.


VSI Short Course Senior Championships   -- A CHAMPION WE HAVE!!

March 3-6, 2022

SwimRVA in Richmond, VA


It had been four years since Kevin Mastracci had swum in a prelims/finals style of swim meet or for that matter a meet for which he had fully tapered.  Four years ago, Kevin was swimming for the JMU Club team in Harrisonburg, VA.  At the Sr. Champs, he found himself a “man among boys” and he proved just that with his swimming.  Typically, this meet is for elite Virginia swimmers ranging in ages from 15-18 years old, occasionally “a man” or “a Master” will swim fast enough to qualify for this meet and chooses to compete.  Kevin stated, “I felt a little awkward on the first day of the meet, being the “old” guy” at the meet that’s traditionally for high schoolers.  But after a couple of swims and especially after swimming some relays with the NOVA boys, I felt very included by the coaches and the rest of the team”.  Kevin posted some of the fastest times in his life as well as finishing as one of the top NOVA male swimmers.  He WON (1st of 138) the 50 Free in 20.54!  He is “The Master”!  This time ranks him as the third fastest in the country for his age group (25-29) this year and 52nd on the All Time Top Ten times.  Kevin also notched two second place finishes in the 100 Free – 45.47 and 100 Fly – 49.21, setting VA State Records in both events and posting 3rd place rankings in both for the 2022 USMS Top Ten Listing.   These times also ranked Kevin, 48th and 28th, respectively on the All Time Top Ten listings.  In the 100 Back he swam a 51.48 and finished 14th, his time placing him second in the country for the 2022 Top Ten ranking. He swam a blistering 21.3 split for the 50 Fly as a member of the NOVA 200 Medley relay team. 

Coaches and swimmers alike chatted with Kevin throughout the meet inquiring about his training methods and what keeps him going.  This he said made the meet “very fun and overall, a great experience”.  He stated that he doesn’t ever remember experiencing such a meet as this one.  Nothing like WINNING and swimming two LIFETIME BEST TIMES.  Congratulations Kevin!

A Master, a NOVA Master!!


Meanwhile at the same meet 17-year-old Ava Hutcherson, a training partner of Kevin’s with the NOVA Masters team under the tutelage of coach extraordinaire, Mark Kutz, was also turning heads as she finished 8th in the 200 back posting a time of 2:02.29, which was a four second drop from her best!  Ava also swam the 100 Back going under a minute for the first time in 59.02, good for a 36th place finish. 


A senior at Deep Run, Ava had recently decided she would not swim in college and said she wanted to go out with a bang!  Realizing that this Senior Champs meet might be her last “NOVA” meet ever, she began training a little more seriously a few months back.  Leading up to the meet, she did lots of pace work and race specific training because as Ava said “Coach Mark always says, ‘If you can’t go a pace in practice, how can you do it at a meet?’” Ava mentioned that Mark knows her love of backstroke and allowed her to alter the practice to allow for more backstroke swimming, ie. Fridays for our Broken Mile if you glanced over to Ava’s lane … she was swimming backstroke off those intervals.

“The first day of the meet set the mood for the rest of the weekend because I finally broke a minute in the 100 back after going low minutes for years. My younger cousin was also at the meet, and she beat me in the 100 back, so I knew I had to bring it the next day to beat her in the 200.”   Ava knew she had nothing to lose and must just give it her all. And that’s what she did.  She dropped 4 seconds from her lifetime best time to place in the top 8 which place her in the A final. Ava said, “I was so happy with myself because not only did I beat my cousin, I beat my own expectations.”
“This senior champs was awesome!”

Ava noted that, “I like showing up to the meet with the kids that are in those elite level groups and proving that masters swimming isn’t a joke, and you can be fast.”


With a college decision to make in the coming month, Ava wondered about the US Air Force Academy, of which she had begun the application process last fall.  After the meet she still hadn’t heard from the Academy, but googled the women’s swim team times on line.  Realizing that she would be competitive with the best on the team, Coach Mark encouraged her to reach out to them and see what happens.  Ava sent the coach her meet times, and stated, that the coach replied by saying, “she had one spot left, and it was mine if I wanted it.”  Ava took a weekend trip out to visit the US Air Force Academy recently and she said she had found the best place for her. 

Ava received a letter of appointment from Abigail Spanberger and has accepted her nomination to the academy.  Ava reports to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO to begin her first year as a “doolie” in early June. 


Ava had this to say, “two years ago, I would have called you crazy if you told me I would be swimming in college, but Coach Mark and his masters group allowed me to find the love for swimming that was buried for so long. The past year and a half with NOVA Masters has allowed me to swim for myself and doing something because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to. Swimming quickly became something I wanted to do for the rest of my life and not something I had to do until I finished high school.”

It is with trepidation that she leaves the comforts of home but she said she is “ready to take on whatever challenges I’m faced with. I’m going to miss NOVA Masters so much, but I’ll be counting down the days until I’m on break and can come swim with y’all again.”   


Congratulations Ava!  Well done!  We wish you well.  Do us NOVA Masters Proud!  We’ll miss you!


NOVA MASTERS News --  Fall 2021

l to r:   Alex Marshall, John Morris, Sarah Tisdale, Kristen Harris, Kevin Mastracci, Val VH Pate, Sarah Jorgenson

Mark has been busy prepping NOVA Masters swimmers this fall/winter to swim fast.  And darn if they didn’t deliver on three separate occasions!  On December 4, 2021, seven NOVA team members traveled to Germantown Indoor Aquatic Center in Boyd, MD for the 8th Annual SCM (Short Course Meters) Solstice Meet.  Our NOVA team broke ten LMSC (State) Records, set 11 meet records, recorded 21 Top Ten times, and had a swimmer swim (50 breastroke leg) in a “pending” World Record breaking W 200-239 200m Medley relay; swim. Have a look at the swims they posted below.


Below are the LMSC (State) Record Breaking swims which happened that night. 

 * also denotes a Meet Record

also denotes a World Record

( ) denotes Top Ten ranking


Kevin Mastracci M 25-29

*50 Back – 25.75 (2)

*50 Free – 23.28 (2)

*100 Free – 51.92 (2)

*100 Fly – 57.88 (2)


Alexandra Marshall W 25-29

*50 Free – 27.43 (1)

*100 Free – 59.79 (1)


Kristen Harris W 45-49

*50 Breast – 35.78 (2)

*100 Breast – 1:17.82 (2)


Val Van Horn Pate W 55-59

*100 Fly – 1:17.55 (2)

*100 Back – 1:19.87 (7)


# * 200m Medley Relay (1)

W 200-239

Kristen Harris swam the breaststroke (50m) leg in the relay helping to break the world record - 2:06.51 (pending verification)


Other commendable NOVA swims:

Sarah Tisdale W 30-34

50 Free – 30.70

100 Free - 1:06.92

50 Fly - 34.67



*200 IM - 2:55.57 (6)

50 Back – 36.05 (5)

50 Fly - 33.37 (3) LMSC record - until broken by another swimmer in the following heat



50 Fly 30.78 (2)

* 100 Fly 1:07.59 (2)


Sarah Jorgenson W 18-24

100 Free 1.07.26 (9)

200 Free 2:27.20 (6)

*100 Fly - 1:12.30 (4)


John Morris M 35-39

200 Fly - 2:51.95 (7)

100 Free - 1:10.76

200 Back 3:02.73 (6)

400 IM 6:09.66 


X120-159 Free Relay --1:59.94     1st at meet

Kevin (23.51), John (31.76), Sarah (30.72), & Alex (28.95)


In October, Alex Marshall (26), Kevin Mastracci (25) and Sarah Jorgenson (22) competed in the first competition held at the new NOVA Regency pool (SCY) where they took on the younger competition (15–18-year-olds) from NOVA’s fastest swimmers in the Senior Gold and Silver groups as well as athletes from Poseidon and SwimRVA in the NOVA Kick-Off.  When asked about the experience, Kevin stated that, “it was the first meet I had competed in since Feb 2020, so about 20 months…it was great to be back in a competitive atmosphere after such a long time, and it was a pleasure to be racing amongst some of NOVA’s fastest swimmers….we were the oldest swimmers there (by far), the kids seemed to enjoy racing us and we didn’t feel out of place”, while Alex viewed the meet slightly differently, saying “Swimming in the kickoff meet was a lot of fun in that it was my first meet back in over three years. It was interesting however, swimming with the youngsters. I missed competing with people around my age and felt a little awkward swimming with middle and high schoolers. At the end of the day though it is my own lane, and it is me against the clock. All in all, I still had fun and it was a good first meet to clean the cobwebs off the racing shelf.” 


They held their own as Kevin swam to two 2nd place finishes (50 Free - 21.59, 100 Fly - 52.4) and a 4th place (100 Free - 48.00) while Alex finished 7th (50 Free - 25.1), 9th (100 Free - 55.5) and 10th (100 - Fly 1:01.6). 

They were turning some heads that day, as they proudly represented our NOVA Masters team!


On December 12, 2021, Peyton Farmer competed in the Carol Chidester Memorial Swim Meet No. 3 (SCY), held at the Casey Swim Center, Washington College, Chestertown, Maryland.  As a team of one Peyton finished tied for sixth place in the team standings.  All her swims were first place finishes (W 18-24 category)

50 Y Free – 25.46

50 Y Fly – 27.97

200 IM Y – 2:26.47


Well done NOVA Masters!!