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Competitive Team Staff

Aaron D Opell

Head Coach

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Background:

Head Coach Aaron Opell began swimming for the Newburgh Sea Creatures at age seven and continued to swim for the club until graduating from Castle High School and attending college at Indiana University.  At Indiana, Aaron joined the swim team as a walk on, but within his first year, he worked his way onto IU's travel and Big Ten team after dropping ten seconds off his previous career-best times.  Aaron continued  to improve while swimming under Coach Ray Looze at Indiana.  By his junior year, he earned a spot on the USA Swimming National Team in the 200-meter breaststroke, finished second at the U.S. Open in the 200-meter breaststroke, and competed at the Olympic Trials.  As a senior at Indiana University, Aaron earned the title of Big Ten Champion when he won the 200-yard breaststroke and broke Indiana University's record.

After completing his undergraduate degree in healthcare administration, Coach Aaron Opell earned his Master's degree in kinesiology and sports management through Indiana University.  While continuing his schooling, he swam professionally in competitions across the world.  After deciding to retire from swimming, he worked as a volunteer assistant coach for IU where he greatly enjoyed coaching his teammates and working with his previous coaches.

When Aaron graduated in 2011, he moved to North Carolina to coach for SwimMAC under his previous coach Pam Swander and legendary coach Dave Marsh.  This opportunity provided him with the ability to gain more experience coaching various age and talent groups from younger teenagers to Olympic medalists.  Although Aaron greatly enjoyed his time in North Carolina, he moved back to Indiana in June of 2012 when his high school sweetheart and soon-to-be wife, Emily (Starrett) Opell accepted a teaching position in Indiana.  Emily and Aaron got married on August 28, 2012 and currently have an adorable son named Vincent.

These experiences have helped shape Aaron as both a swimmer and coach and give him personal insight into all facets of competitive swimming.  Having either seen or experienced individuals accomplishing goals at all levels, Aaron is confident that there is no better sport to teach children valuable life lessons than swimming.

 

Coaching Accomplishments:

Since Aaron joined the NSC coaching staff, the Sea Creatures have re-written the record books across all facets of the program.  Below are a few statistics displaying NSC's rise within the past few years:

Team LSC ranking:

2012 - 13 = 20th

2013 - 14 = 9th

2014 - 15 = 7th

Junior National Qualifications:

2012 - 13 = 6

2013 - 14 = 16

2014 - 15 = 25+

 

The Sea Creatures have taken massive strides on the national stage as well.  Within two years, Newburgh has climbed 241 spots nationally in the USA Swimming's Virtual Club Championships.  having recently set two National Age Group records, Lilliy King with the 15-16 100 breast and Women's 15-18 200 Medley Relay record, the Sea Creatures are making a statement that they are willing to compete with the nation's elite clubs.

From Aqua School and Prep group to Creature Elite and Adult Swim Fit, Aaron enjoys working with individuals of all ages and abilities.  There is nothing he loves more than helping others realize their true potential and developing their passion for athletics and swimming.

Kyle Johnson

Head Age Group Coach

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Background:

Kyle began swimming competitively at age 6 with Anderson Community Aquatics Club (ACAC) and swam with them until he was 18.  During that time, Kyle developed into a butterfly and freestyle specialist and occasionally swam the IM.  Throughout high school Kyle swam the 200 free, 500 free, 200 IM, and 100 butterfly for Anderson High School, and qualified for State all four years.  His senior year, Kyle placed 7th in both the 200 free and 100 fly, earning him the attention of Indiana University.  Kyle chose to swim for the Hoosiers in 2012 and competed with them until 2015 when he stopped swimming due to a shoulder injury.  While he was a Hoosier, Kyle swam the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly.  He made the Big Ten team twice and was named one of four captains of the men's team his junior year.

 

Coaching Experience:

Kyle began coaching for ACAC when he was 13 and coached with them until he left for IU in 2012.  He then worked the IU Swim camp for 4 years and his fourth year he was named Associate Head Counselor.  After school, Kyle went on to coach with Bloomington Swim Club for a summer before taking the head coach position at the Southridge Aquatic Raider Gators.  He coached their team until April of 2017, and then accepted the Head Age Group position for the Sea Creatures.

 

Throughout his years of swimming, Kyle always knew that he would want to be a coach.  He has wanted to be able to pass on the knowledge and wisdom that he has gained to as many generations of swimmers as he can.  While he isn’t able to show his passion for the sport by swimming anymore, he is able to channel that passion into coaching and learning as much as he can about swimming.

Skyler Shinn

Lead Coach - Black

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Lead Coach - Black

Groups:

Black / Strength and Conditioning

Education: 

University of Evansville, B.S. in Exercise Science

Accomplishments:  

  • Swam at UE for 4 years
  • Captain my junior year

Why do you love to coach?

I love to coach because I love to make athletes better in and out of the pool.

Favorite quote: 

"I will either win, or I will learn."

Andrew Cotton

Lead Coach - Senior / Green

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Lead Coach - Senior / Green 2

Groups:

Senior and Green 2

Education:                                         

University of Evansville, Sports Management 2017

Accomplishments:   

  • Captain of the UE Swimming Team 
  • H.S. Team MVP and Captain (3 years)
  • State qualifier as both Age Group and high school swimmer
  • Four time state qualifier in water polo

Why do you love to coach?  

I love to coach because it gives me a chance to give back to the sport that has helped sculpt me into the person I am today.

Favorite quote:

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't hustle."

 

Michaela Kent

Lead Coach - Green 1

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Nick Davlantis

Lead Coach - Prep

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Lead Coach - Prep

Groups:

Prep

Education:

Bachelor of Arts in Physics

Accomplishments:

  • High school swim team captain
  • swam for the University of Evansville
  • head coach for Evansville Day School Swimming

Why do you love to coach:

I love seeing the joy this sport brings to people of all ages, and want to share that with as many people as possible.

Favorite Quote:

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." -Henry David Thoreau

Daniel O'Brien

Assistant Coach - Prep

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