Encouraging More Adults to Swim
USMS Award Recipients

Recipients of The U.S. Masters Swimming Kerry O'Brien Coaching Award

The U.S. Masters Swimming Coaches Committee initiated a new award in 2008 with the goal of recognizing USMS registered coaches who are building our membership in communities throughout our country. Originally named the Grass Roots Coaching Award, it has been renamed to honor Coach Kerry O'Brien of Walnut Creek Masters, who embodies the passion, dedication, and heart that these coaches bring to the pool deck. It is with the efforts of individuals like these that U.S. Masters Swimming will most certainly move to a greater level.

2014 Jenny Birmelin
Noah Birmelin
April Cheadle
David Clark
Richard Garza
Mary Kahn
Steve Lintz
Dirk Marshall
Mary Nygren
Peggy Stringer
Patty Waldron
Lisa Ward
2013 Marcia Benjamin Marcia Benjamin - USMS appreciates the opportunity you have given to an area of Pacific Masters that would be void of a Masters swimming program had it not been for your vision. With Marcia's Enthusiastic Masters, you have found a way to work within the Community College system to create a different template to build a successful program. The range of possibility is continually stretched. The environment created within your program has members believing in their ability to reach their goals by trusting your methods in getting them there. Presented by Stu Kahn. Marcia Benjamin received the Dorothy Donnelly USMS Service Award in 2006: Marcia has given her time to scheduling over 34 pool and open water competitions. She has served as the Scheduling Chair for the Pacific LSMC, the Open Water Points Tabulator and All-Star Tabulator, and nationally as the Vice Chair of the USMS Long Distance Committee.
Sue Berger-Mann Under Sue Berger-Mann’s guidance, the Stray Cats of the South East YMCA have being molded from a small workout group into a team with winning aspirations and a true commitment to community. Her membership speaks of her unique ability to fuse creativity, structure, and camaraderie, wrapped in a rekindled passion to teach and share her vast wealth of knowledge. Because of her efforts to immerse herself in both LMSC and local outreach activities, she continues to expand and improve her program.
Mary C. Gibson During her time with the Talbot Manta Rays, Mary Gibson has displayed the ability to quickly build relations with the membership, and bring others back into the program with her caring spirit. Both young and old, seasoned and beginner, all swimmers under her leadership, have bought into her vision, dedication, enthusiasm, and experience, creating an environment where everyone is challenged and strengthened.
Doug Green Doug Green's six years of coaching, alongside his unique ability to appeal to both young and old, seasoned and beginner, pool and open water, in such a way that all, regardless of level, making all feel valued, makes him a great asset to the South Coast Masters. His experience and ability benefit not only his 200+ membership, but the larger aquatic community on many different levels, such as providing fundraising and teaching for other aquatic groups.
Donald B. Jackson At the Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center, Coach Donald B. Jackson is a vital link for a growing the Masters community. He coaches and mentors new Masters coaches and swimmers through an 8-week novice program that has proven to be an important step to transitioning beginners into successful, confident swimmers and USMS members. The increase in USMS registrants at the Schroeder pool is in part due to his positive and cooperative attitude and applied coaching skills that have adults thriving in an encouraging and challenging environment.
Mike Kazek Mike Kazek has shared his compassionate spirit for the sport of swimming with the California Maritime Academy Masters Since 2006. His volunteering for time and expertise as coach—even calling on his own financial resources to meet the immediate needs to the program—have impacted many lives. Mike is seen by many as coach and teacher, motivator and cheerleader, advisor and lobbyist, mentor and dear friend. By example, Mike has shown that one does not need a big pool, big team, or big paycheck to be considered one of the great success stories in Pacific Masters Swimming.
Greg Orphanides Since the launching of the Houston Cougar Masters in Houston in 2009, increased workout opportunities have led to increased numbers. Now with 11 practices a week, the club has become the second-largest tclub in the Gulf LMSC. With the loss of their home pool in 2011, Greg Orphanides' spirit and dedication to his athletes spearheaded an intense effort to find a temporary pool while a new permanent home could be secured. On deck for all of the team's practices, Greg encourages and teaches with a contagious enthusiasm that has members stretching their comfort zones with new challenges at highly competitive levels.
Jan Peluso In his three years of coaching the Peluso Open Water Masters, Jay Peluso has brought together two different groups--swimmers and triathletes--using his skills to get both to coexist for everyone’s mutual benefit. As both an athlete and coach, Jay recognizes the need for collaboration with other fitness organizations in his area through partnerships and sharing of expertise. Incorporating this, alongside his ability to fuse creativity, structure, and a systematic approach to his coaching plays into the growth that POWM has experienced in the Virginia LMSC.
Tom Reudy Tom Reudy has displayed incredible leadership during his time as coach of the San Mateo Marlins, overflowing into not only Masters swimming, but the aquatic community as a whole. Alongside his swimmers and coaches, Tom has done tremendous work with Swim Across America and the Pac Masters Championships. At least a part of San Mateo's competitive success can be attributed to Tom's immersion in the program, and in the LMSC.
Don Swalwell Coaching the Ann Arbor Masters for some 25 years, Don Swalwell brings a strong foothold of passion for both the sport and the people that embrace it as a foundational piece of a healthy lifestyle. By infusing balanced doses of technical teaching with an encouraging spirit he has proven to his swimmers that you can build confidence in ability as you would "build" technical aspects in a stroke. Ann Arbor Masters are not only a family of swimmers, but also a force to be reckoned with competitively, demonstrated at the Michigan State Masters Championships.
Kendra Wheeler Kendra Wheeler, the head coach at CROC Masters, manages her workout schedule so that everyone under her leadership is included into the process and held accountable. Her swimmers can see her clear commitment to the sport, and to her team, because she swims the sets in the lane alongside them. She is a leader by example—always promoting a health lifestyle, encourgaing her swimmers to train for attainable goals. This is one of the many reasons why she runs such a successful programs.
2012 Valeriy Boreyko For 17 years Valeriy Boreyko, "Val," has been spreading his passion and expertise for the sport of Masters Swimming with a heavy dose of warmth, sense of humor, and generosity, creating a bonding agent that keeps the University of San Francisco Masters one of the most competitive teams in PacMasters Swimming. His leadership is in part responsible for an atmosphere that gives importance to the realization of personal goals while building a culture of team camaraderie that is hard to surpass.
Tim Edmonds USMS is proud to honor Timothy Edmonds with a 2012 Kerry O'Brien coaching award. The members of the Stanford Masters speak very highly of Tim's ability to orchestrate a highly energized practice to the entire ensemble. During his tenure, the Palo Alto-based team has been able to expand the demographics of their membership so that growth in every caliber of both competitive and fitness swimming is evident. But it is not just the increased numbers that makes the program so successful, but rather the culture of "everyone matters" that he has seeded into the community that gives this band of swimmers their unique culture and identity.
Gary Henderson Based out of Florida, the Villages Aquatic Swim Team Masters are an enthusiastic group of Masters swimmers all over the age of 50. With 44 years of coaching experience, Gary Henderson uses his influence with age group, high school, and Masters swimmers to create an integrated environment that inspires each group through the efforts of the other, and puts on display a foundation for "generational swimming" that can only benefit United States Masters Swimming for years to come. He is also the Florida Coach's Chair to USMS and was recognized as the 2011 Florida LMSC Coach of the Year.
Mark Kutz With what began as an opportunity to provide the parents of the NOVA age group team with a positive fitness experience that has transcended into a part of the Virginia Masters Swim Team, Mark Kutz has wrapped his philosophy of “specific training” over “yardage training” in an enthusiastic and energetic deck presence that an entire community has bought into and made a priority for their livelihood. From this approach, and an encouraging and enthusiastic deck presence, have come some very strong performances at the national and international levels.
Kurt Olson The growth of adult swimming in the California central valley since 2004, be it for fitness or competition, is due in large part to Kurt Olson's ability to envision what could be, commit to making it happen, and spearhead projects that draw attention and interest to his program. The increased membership of the Modesto Area Aquatic Club, to over 200 members and 15 practices a week speaks directly to that. Also, through his encouragement and mentoring, assistant coaches have been able to successfully transition into higher level coaching positions in other areas.
Laura Schuster USMS is proud to honor Laura Schuster with a 2012 Kerry O'Brien Coaching award. For over ten years, Mountain View Masters has benefited greatly from the services she have provided to the organization, both on the deck and behind the scenes. Weaving her experience and passion for multi-sport racing, physiological knowledge, and the understanding of the unique characteristics of competitive swimming has helped her to develop a clear and concise methodology that makes you a very valuable piece to the MVM coaching committee. Through her contributions to the On-Line Coaching Services of USMS, continuing education through certification, and the enthusiasm she bring pool side to the workouts she oversees, she is making a difference in the lives of the people she touches, both in person and electronically.
Leslie Scott USMS is proud to honor Leslie Scott with a 2012 Kerry O'Brien coaching award. She has proven that vision, enthusiasm, and persistence are a hard combination to trump. Seeing one discontinued program as an opportunity to create something fresh and new, the now 100+ membership of the club is so grateful that she continued to knock on closed doors, weaved her experience as Aquatics Director, teacher, and athlete into a convincing argument that was undeniable as to what might be. She demonstrated the innate ability to fuse passion, energy, and creativity that has some reaching for new fitness goals and others reaching touch pads faster than they ever have done, making the Greenville Splash Masters a true testament to what is possible with a great coach like her.
2011 Ken DeMont Ken coaches North Bay Aquatics with Don.
Rich Axtell Rich Coaches the Minuteman Masters club.
Diane Bartlett Diane coaches the Grand Stand Masters.
Elmer Egelkraut Elmer coaches the Battle Creek Y Masters.
Marty Hendrick Marty coaches Ft. Lauderdale Aquatics.
Tom Mester Tom coaches Cresent Hills Masters.
Eric Peterson Eric coaches Shaker Sharks Masters.
Jody Smith Jody coaches Mountain View Masters.
Brian Stack Brian coaches Manatee Aquatic Masters.
Dennie Swan-Scott Dennie coaches Glens Falls Family YMCA Masters.
Don Swartz Don coaches North Bay Aquatics with Ken.
Hermine Terhorst Hermine coaches Santa Rosa Masters.
2010 Robert Babiak Bob coaches the O*H*I*O Masters club.
Reed Barnitz Reed coaches the New Mexico Chargers Masters.
Chris Campbell Chris coaches the Mountain View Masters.
Suzanne Grebe Suzanne coaches the Milford Masters.
Stuart Kahn Stu coaches the Davis Aquatic Masters.
Cokie Lepinski Cokie coaches the Marine Co. Pirates.
Michael E. Lynch Mike coaches the Peninsula Covenant Masters.
Wendy Neely Wendy coaches the Federal Way Masters.
Patti Scott-Baier Patti coaches the Tuolomne County Aquatic Masters.
Frank "Skip" Thompson Skip coaches the Michigan Masters.
2009 Dyann Charette Dancy Dyann coaches the Germantown Maryland Masters.
Jay Christiansen Jay coaches the Central Valley All Stars.
Christopher Colburn Chris coaches the Academy Bullets Masters.
Linda Gilchrist Linda coaches the Alameda Aquatic Masters.
Dana Kirk Dana coaches the South Palo Alto Masters.
2008 Claire Broussard The news in Lafayette, La., is that Masters swimming at Red Lerille’s Health and Racquet Club is the “hottest ticket” in town. Under the enthusiastic and creative leadership of coaches Justin Wellborn and Claire Broussard, this group of 10 occasional lap swimmers has grown to a team of over 60 dedicated Masters swimmers. This year they hosted their first swim meet with over 50 swimmers from seven different teams. One team member reports that she pushes herself so much in practice because Coach Claire is so invested in her success that she couldn’t bear to let her down!
Kathryn Gregory In 1998 Masters swimmer Kathryn Gregory relocated from Maryland to Kilmarnock, Va. She joined a small health club, which featured a five-lane pool to continue her training and worked closely with the club owner to develop a Masters program. When their efforts to find a coach were exhausted, Kathryn made it happen by stepping into the role as coach and building the program from scratch. Her swimmers say she does not miss a thing with creative workouts that challenge swimmers and individualizing the sets to meet the needs of each swimmer. She has taken Stripers swimmers to YMCA Nationals in 2004, 2006, and 2008 and makes time to do continuing education in the field of coaching.
Marilyn Grindrod The community of Poulsbo, Wash., offered no opportunities for adult swimmers beyond a few lap-swimming hours until Coach Marilyn Grindrod created the Olympic Aquatic Club Masters. Working with the board of directors of the local USS team, Marilyn secured the pool time and registered the new club with PNA. The word spread quickly and her lanes were soon flowing with triathletes, fitness swimmers, and competitive swimmers. Coach Marilyn is a natural with the Masters swimmers—creating workouts that challenge each swimmer at their own level while maintaining the cohesion of the team. This keen sense of leadership is the making of great Masters coaches.
Conrad Johnson Coach Conrad Johnson was a recipient of the 2008 Kerry O'Brien Coaching Award. Conrad joined Team New York Aquatics in 2006, taking an already thriving club to yet a new level. Under Conrad’s leadership, the team now enjoys a more varied program, which includes skills clinics, social outings, and training trips. Conrad has provided training and mentoring to a growing coaching staff and has established a scholarship fund to assist needy swimmers. In October of this year, Team New York Aquatics will be hosting their first Masters swim meet, due to the efforts of Conrad. Congratulations Coach Conrad!
Paul Jones The Columbia Gorge Masters in Hood River, Oregon didn’t know how fortunate they would be when Paul Jones stepped up to the plate as their head coach in May of 2007. The quality and the intensity of their workouts took a huge step up, but the members quickly realized that Paul offered much more than great workouts. Coach Paul brought an enthusiasm that was infectious and motivating to swimmers of all abilities. Through his outreach programs to triathletes and fitness swimmers, the membership has grown and the workouts regularly see 30+ swimmers in the water on any given day.
Cynthia Krass Four years ago, Cynthia Krass, a former UCLA 200-fly specialist, started a Masters swim program at Columbia Athletic Club in Sammamish, Wash. Cynthia’s spirit and dedication, combined with her attention to detail, has created the thriving program with barely enough room to accommodate its members. Cynthia begins each workout with a technical focus and moves into a workout that is tailored for a variety of abilities. She has inspired many of the team to attend local competitions including the PNA Championships. Congratulations Coach Cynthia!
Fred Nelis In 1999 Coach Fred Nelis founded the Dutch Masters of Holland Michigan with the philosophy of "Fun, Friends, Food, and Fitness.” His team has appropriately added “Fred” to the slogan for the dedication and passion he brings to the program. I quote: “Fred calls or visits when a swimmer needs a hand or an ear. He gives advice on stroke, takes film, cheers when you make a hard set, gives you a pat on the back whether you swim a great time or not. He continues to energize all of us to continue to participate, brings in others to add to the mix, many of whom otherwise might be reluctant to dive in. He makes the food/entertainment part of our group even more fun! Fred leads us as a family—and a family that swims together stays together."
Kerry O'Brien This award is named after Kerry who was the USMS Coach of the Year in 1987. He continues to be the excellent head coach for Walnut Creek Masters and is a mentor to swimmers and other coaches far and wide.
Brandon Vail In 2007, a young man named Brandon Vail was hired to start an adult swim program in a city facility tucked between a cornfield and a high school in Omaha Neb. Great things happened over the next year as Brandon’s enthusiasm, passion, and creative coaching has grown a couple of lap swimmers into a thriving club of dedicated Masters swimmers. From Twinkie relays and attention to every swimmer in a workout to his bimonthly newsletter and ongoing marketing efforts—Brandon has done it all.
Justin Welborn The news in Lafayette, La., is that Masters swimming at Red Lerille’s Health and Racquet Club is the “hottest ticket” in town. Under the enthusiastic and creative leadership of coaches Justin Wellborn and Claire Broussard, this group of 10 occasional lap swimmers has grown to a team of over 60 dedicated Masters swimmers. This year they hosted their first swim meet with over 50 swimmers from seven different teams. One team member reports that she pushes herself so much in practice because Coach Claire is so invested in her success that she couldn’t bear to let her down!
Sponsor #43Sponsor #49Sponsor #20Sponsor #13Sponsor #36
Sponsor #25Sponsor #52Sponsor #41Sponsor #44Sponsor #29
Sponsor #35Sponsor #14Sponsor #33Sponsor #51Sponsor #42Sponsor #50