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Coaches & Directors
Our program is fortunate to have an exceptional coaching staff. We take great pride in our coaches and their qualifications. Collectively, our coaches have decades of competitive swimming and coaching experience.

If, at any time, you have a question or concern about your swimmer’s progress,
please feel free to contact his/her coach or our head coach.  
Coaching Staff

Kalen A Darling

Head Coach

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Kalen Darling is starting his first year as Head Coach for Spokane Area Swimming. He graduated from Whitworth University in 2011, with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication, and has been a private swimming instructor for more than ten years.

Growing up in Hawai’i, Kalen swam for Kamehameha Swim Club throughout his high school years. His collegiate career took him to the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where he was a six-time Conference-USA Championship finalist. After his sophomore year, Kalen transferred to Whitworth University where he ended his swimming career as a four-time NCAA Division III All-American.

Pursuing a career as a professional triathlete, Kalen competes in the International Triathlon Union circuit. He was the 2010 Under-23 Pro National Champion. His goal is to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. 

Gary A Johnson

Assistant Coach

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Gary began coaching with SAS in 1996.  He assists in coaching all the levels of swimmers on SAS. He is the primary coach for the Silver, Bronze and Osprey level swimmers.  Gary brings a wealth of coaching experience to our program, having been a head coach for over eight years.  Gary’s coaching experience began with the Salvation Army Swim Team, where he was the head coach from 1980-1983.  He was also the assistant coach for Spokane’s Super Nova Aquatic Club from 1983-1986 and the head coach for EWRA’s swim team from 1986-1994.

Nicole Marie Merrick

Assistant Coach

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We are pleased to have Nicole as part of our coaching team!   She joined us in spring of 2013 bringing an abundance of energy & enthusiam.   Nicole came highly recommended to us by the YMCA where she has worked with their recreational level swim team and she continues to work  as a swim instructor &  lifeguard.   Nicole participated in age group swimming  for a number of years and we appreciate her willingness to share her passion for the sport with our swimmers.