Let’s tell you about our award winning coaching staff: Head Coach Shari Cruse, Sarah Larroque, Buffy Patterson, Mike Providenza and Marlon Woolf.
Head Coach Shari Cruse
Shari joined our coaching staff in October, 2014 and took over as Head Coach in September 2017. She is a USMS Level 3 certified coach and an Adult Learn to Swim Instructor. She is also a Level 3 USA Swimming Official, and spends many hours on deck at USA swim meets for her two children. Shari started Masters Swimming in 2009 with her husband Bryce. She has made incredibly strong friendships with her teammates, who have since introduced her to kayaking, paddle boarding, competitive running, and even triathlons! In the past two years she has competed in 2 sprint triathlons and over 20 running races, including 7 half marathons.
Shari has a B.S. degree from the University of Chicago in Behavioral Science, a Masters degree in the Science of Teaching from the University of Chicago, and is a lawyer with a J.D. from Golden Gate University Law School. She loves to teach! She taught music lessons for 15 years and taught elementary school kids in the Chicago Public school system, and then here in Marin. Shari loves being on deck helping other Masters swimmers enjoy the same wonderful experience she has had. She strives to help people with their proficiency in swimming, but also wants to help them attain a terrific sense of accomplishment, increased fitness, confidence to challenge themselves in other sports, and, most of all, the opportunity to make great lifelong friendships.
You can email Shari by clicking her photo/name in the right side bar.
Coach Sarah Jack
The 25 things you must know. 1) She learned to swim at 9 months old and 2) at age 9 in a race she decided it was too long and climbed out of the pool midway through. 3) Growing up, the trophy she always wanted was the biggest one – the “Most Coachable” trophy. 4) Not only did she never get that trophy, her name was probably never mentioned. 5.) She hates fins and breaststroke equally. 6.) She started coaching swimming at age 16. 7.) No need to do the math, but that’s 22 years of coaching and or teaching swimming to all age groups and abilities. 8.) She feels most at home in the water. 9.) She loves the ocean, and will swim in it, but she will hate every minute of it. 10.) This goes for any body of water sharks can enter. 11.) Open water swimming in fresh water is her favorite. 12.) The only person she knows that gets injured more than herself is Coach Cokie. 13.) Swimming has been her one saving grace during every injury. 14.) She coaches and will continue to coach swimming because it is the bestest thing ever. 15.) Her love of swimming probably started at the age of 12, right about the time she realized she was naturally good at it. 16.) Chlorine is her favorite smell. 17.) The sound of someone swimming freestyle correctly is probably her favorite sound. 18.) She often spends half her workout analyzing the other swimmers around her. 19.) Butterfly is her favorite stroke. 20.) She can only breath to one side. 21.) The left side, because when she was young a coach told her right handed people breath to the right, she wanted to prove them wrong, suckers. 22.) She has 3 boys 15, 13, & 10. 23.) She swam through every pregnancy. 24.) When she’s not coaching she’s teaching mindfulness to children. 25.) Most importantly she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
Sarah can be emailed by using her first name with… @swymnutmasters.com
Coach Buffy Patterson
Growing up in San Rafael, Buffy started swimming in the Marin Summer league for the Marinwood Water Devils at the age of 5. She attended Terra Linda High School and swimming was the one sport where she was varsity for all four years. She also played water polo and basketball. Buffy continued to swim and play water polo at San Diego State University where she obtained a B.S. in Recreation Administration. Her main events were the 200 and 500 freestyle. Most recently, she enjoys activities that take her outside….swimming, biking, running, skiing, hiking, etc.
She started to help children learn how to swim when she was 12 or 13, serving as a swim aide at the Marinwood pool, and continued on as a swim instructor all through high school. Before leaving the area, she got her first assistant coaching job in the Marin Summer League, with the Novato Riptides. After a hiatus away from the water, she returned to it in 2010, getting back in to teach once again. “I knew it was time to get back into coaching!” At the Marin JCC, Buffy instructed people of all ages and abilities. She is now in her third year of being an assistant coach for the Pacific Coast Marlins, a USA swim team located at the Rafael Racquet Club.
Buffy first got into Master’s Swimming in 1999 and was in and out of the pool the next few years. When she got back into teaching a few years ago, she wanted to learn more about all things related to swimming. She has been taking many certification classes through ASCA including the USMS Level 1 & 2 Masters certification. She assisted the instructor at the JCC in a program very much like a Master’s club and enjoys working with all ages to support their passion for being in the water.
Buffy can be emailed by using her first name with… @swymnutmasters.com
Coach Mike Providenza
Mike is a level 2 Masters certified coach. He has swum in Marin since age nine and has been swimming off and on at the Lucas Valley pool for ten years. Mike is not only a passionate swimmer but a passionate water polo player. He has played with masters teams and clubs in Marin, San Francisco, San Antonio, Boston, New York, and Buenos Aires. He played a year of varsity at Fordham University and was on the Boston College Men’s Club team that took fourth at nationals in 2014. Mike’s introduction to the dry side of Aquatics happened during graduate school where he worked as a office assistant, swim instructor, and lifeguard for the Boston College aquatics department.
Mike holds a B.A. in philosophy from Fordham University where he graduated as a member of the Phi Sigma Tau honors philosophy society. He holds a M.A. in philosophy from Boston College where his main interests were metaphysics, the history of western thought and ethics. Two principles guide his coaching. The first found in virtue ethics, is the belief that actions are excellent when they are the mean between excess and deficiency and are done for the right reason. The second is that people reach out towards what they perceive as good for them.
Mike can be emailed by using his first name with… @swymnutmasters.com
Coach Marlon Woolf
Marlon joined our coaching staff in June 2014 and is a USMS Level 3 certified coach and an Adult Learn to Swim Instructor. He only started competitive swimming in his late 40s and caught the bug big time. A consummate sprinter who excels at 50s and 100s, he has also taken on open water competitions and now even competes in fly and backstroke. Along with coaching Masters, Marlon also serves as an age-group coach with the Lucas Valley Lightning and the SwimMarin team in the Marin Swim League. He is married and has twin girls that keep him plenty busy! He teaches archery and is often found hiking or doing something in the great outdoors! You’ll like his positive energy and ready smile.
Marlon can be emailed by using his first name with… @swymnutmasters.com
Former coaches – thank you for your time with us!
Coach Cokie Lepinski
Cokie was the team founder and head coach of Swymnut Masters from 2012 through 2017. She is a USMS Level 4 certified masters coach, an Adult Learn-to-Swim Instructor and a seasoned Masters swimmer, competing in local, regional, national and even worldwide Masters swimming events. She loves to compete in both pool meets and open water events and has held Pacific Masters and National records in breaststroke.
She is an award winning coach whose passion for swimming is all encompassing. In 2014 she was named the U.S. Masters Swimming Coach of The Year! Her awards include the:
- 2010 USMS Kerry O’Brien Award
- 2011 Pacific Masters Coach of the Year Award
- 2011 Pacific Masters Distinguished Service Award
- 2013 Pacific Masters Contributor of the Year Award
- 2014 USMS Dorothy Donnelly Service Award
- 2014 USMS Coach of The Year
She was one of four coaches to serve as a National Team Coach for the 2010 FINA World Masters in Sweden and served two years with the USMS High Performance Camp (in 2012 and 2013 where she was the Head Coach). She has presented at USMS SwimFest Clinics, led numerous Pacific Masters clinics, and presented at the ASCA World Clinic as well as USMS National Coaches Clinics.
She has authored a $5 e-book “There’s A Drill For That” along with authoring many technique articles for USMS Swimmer Magazine and the USMS e-newsletter Streamlines. She has served on the USMS Coaches Committee and as Coaches Chair for Pacific Masters Swimming. She continues to write articles for USMS and remains an instructor in their Coaching Certification Courses.
You can email Cokie: cokie AT usms DOT org
Coach Susie Powell
Coach Susie Powell is a USMS Level 3 certified coach, an Adult Learn to Swim Instructor and an accomplished pool and open water swimmer, with Top 10 USMS rankings in several events and relays. An incredibly versatile athlete, Susie has competed in running and triathlons, did mountain biking and is a former Jazzercise Franchise Owner and Instructor. Now her activity passions are swimming, hiking and kayaking. Oh, and there is that coaching thing, too!
Susie helps us out with special events now and continues to coach SwimFit, a swim technique and practice group she started at Rolling Hills Club in 2010, turning many non swimmers into swimmers and helping former swimmers return to the water and learn new techniques.
Susie is also an award winning coach. In 2014, Susie Powell received the USMS Fitness Award at the USMS National Convention in Jacksonville, FL. She was recognized for her creativity and her focus on fun, fitness and camaraderie.
Susie has an extensive background in nutrition as a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with a B.S. degree from UC Berkeley and a B.A. degree in Spanish from the University of Miami. While attending U of M, she had the privilege of being on the very first U of M Women’s Swim Team. She enjoys pool competitions and open water events. She is also thoroughly enjoying photography and you’ll often see her with her camera in tow.
You can email Susie: swimsp AT me DOT com
Coach Nicole Coll
Nicole joined our coaching staff in June 2014 and coached with us through June 2016. She is a a US Masters Level 3 certified coach. She also assists Susie Powell in coaching the SwimFit group at Rolling Hills since 2012. A former competitive runner in marathons and half marathons, she switched to swimming after a nagging back injury finally made her turn in her running shoes for a swimsuit. She made her debut swim meet competition in February 2014 and we all saw the fire that burns within!
She enjoys the outdoors, camping, snow skiing, and playing board games with her husband of 18 years and her 3 children. She met her husband at Chico State (over a keg of beer) and their first date was a running date.