The Coaches

Head Coach David Miner

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 4.25.07 PMCoach David Miner is a USMS-certified Level 3 Masters coach, ASCA member and Masters certified coach, adult learn-to-swim instructor, open water coach, NAUI Certified Dive Master, and Adult CPR/AED certified. David coaches all morning practices and runs his own open water races along with coaching and instruction through his business Swim Without Limits, is the Florida LMSC Open Water Chairperson, and is the race director for SYSM’s Tropical Splash open water race. With open water swimming as his passion, David has participated in many open water races in Florida, Tennessee, Hawaii, Bermuda, St. Croix, Chicago, Puerto Rico, including multiple 12.5-mile, 10-mile, 9-mile, multiple 10K, 5K, and 2.4 mile swims.

Founder and Emeritus Head Coach Rick Walker

Coach Rick has been an active Masters swimmer since 1985 and started coaching in 2002, after many years in business. An ASCA-certified Masters coach and Level 3 USMS-certified coach, Rick has grown the program from three swimmers in September 2002, to formation of the Sharks in November 2006. SYSM now has more than 300 members. The team has earned multiple YMCA National championships, one USMS national championship and several USMS top 3 finishes nationally. SYSM is currently the largest team in the Florida LMSC. Coach Rick was honored for his contribution to YMCA Swimming and Diving with the John DeBarbadillo award in 2012 and was featured in a Swimming World article in 2012.

In the pool and in open water swimming, Rick has been ranked nationally and worldwide including two career world records in the 400 and 1500 freestyle events, and has been recognized as All-American multiple times in multiple events.

Coach Daphne English

SHARK HEADSHOTDaphne English coaches the evening group. She began her competitive swimming career with the Sarasota Sharks at age 3 under Coach Sherwood Watts. Over the years she’s competed and trained with the Sharks, Gotham (NY), Badger (NY) and Starlit (VA). She’s coached high school teams and the North Port and Venice branches of the Sharks. She is a certified Level 2 coach for USA Swimming and USMS. In 2015 she achieved Top 10 for her age group in the 200 butterfly LCM. Daphne competes as a swimmer in pool and open water events as well as in triathlons.

Coach Laura Hamel

After a 30-year hiatus from swimming, Laura returned in late 2006. She has been working hard to regain lost ground and is living proof that it is never too late to come back to the sport. In spite of the missing years, she managed to place in the Top 10 in her age group her first year back. She also achieved All-American honors for the 200M breaststroke in 2008. Laura, a certified Level 3 USMS-certified Masters coach, was instrumental in developing the evening Masters program and she enjoys helping new swimmers and triathletes develop their skills. She assists Coach Rick with logistics at national meets, manages watercraft support for both Tropical Splash and the New Year’s Day Swim, and leads the Saturday morning open water practice at Siesta Key Beach. Laura has participated in open water races all over the world and especially loves rough-water and adventure swimming. She also created this website and serves as the team’s webmaster.

Coach Marshall Pepe

Coach Marshall Pepe writes our Saturday morning sprint workouts, in which he incorporates some on-deck drylands and anaerobic drills. Coach Pepe also volunteers his time with our age group team, assisting the legendary Sherwood Watts with the Black and Gold teams. Coach Pepe has a degree in cosmetology from the Aveda Institute and is widely credited with the invention of both the Mullet and Bondo for Men, a product that helps reverse chlorine damaged hair. Coach Pepe has already pledged a $10,000 donation to go toward the new men’s locker room mirrors and sink area, which will be appropriately named the Marshall Pepe Prep Station.

Coach Ed Mench

Coach Ed Mench writes workouts, coaches and swims at the Lakewood Ranch YMCA, offering our northern-living or working Sharks an alternate training facility. Coach Ed swam for Johns Hopkins, where he worked as a janitor before the head of the math department discovered that Ed had solved both the Goldbach conjecture and the Riemann hypothesis in one evening while mopping up after a faculty party. Coach Ed is currently dividing his time between coaching, his janitorial duties at the LWR YMCA, and his latest venture, serving as a body double for Florida Governor Rick Scott.