MEET OUR COACHES
The Town of Tonawanda Titans Swim Club seeks to provide its swimmers with an environment that fosters the achievement of individual potentials. Our club is built on a tradition of excellence by teaching and training all levels of swimming, combining life lessons both in and out of the pool, with an emphasis on team unity and family participation.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE TITANS…
The Town of Tonawanda Swim Club was founded in August 1971 as an AAU Club. In 1980 United States Swimming replaced the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) as the national governing body for competitive swimming. USA Swimming is the official name for this national governing body today.
In 1988 the Town of Tonawanda Swim Club merged with the Western Empire State Titans Swim Club, the U.S. Swim club associated with the Sweet Home School District. That’s when the Town of Tonawanda Swim Club became known as the Titans. One constant in the club’s more than 40-year history of competitive swimming is the Town of Tonawanda Youth, Parks, & Recreation Department which has supported the team from the beginning.
The Club’s Name
In Greek mythology the Titans were a race of elder gods that were in power before the Olympian gods replaced them. The Titan Oceanus – the elder god of the Ocean – was never pictured in Greek art but is often confused with Poseidon, or Neptune, who is pictured in art, holding the trident. Today, members of the Titan Swim Club hold the trident – the scepter carried by the god of the sea.
Scott Vanderzell has been coaching the Town of Tonawanda Titans since 1994 and Head Coach since 1995. During the time Scott has been here he has produced a number of Olympic Trial Qualifier, Junior and Senior National qualifiers, Eastern Zone qualifiers and has had a team that is consistently near the top of the Niagara District year after year. The program under Scott has grown for a team of 75 swimmers to a team that has been consistently year after year 200 to 250 swimmers. Scott also began coaching Division 1 swimming in 1998 at the University of Buffalo where he remained for 10 years then moving on the Canisius College where he has been since 2008. Scott is a Level 4 ASCA coach who has been coaching club swimming since 1987 beginning his coaching as a Learn to Swim coach, then age group coach before moving to Titans. Scott is a native of Hamburg NY and then spent 1 year at the University of South Carolina Spartanburg playing soccer then after injury transferred and graduated from Buffalo State College where he swam for 3 years and remains in the Buffalo area with his wife Sherri and 4 children.
Age Group Coordinator / Coach Level 4 / Level 6
Tim Bennett has been coaching with the Titans since the summer of 1995. He is a Buffalo State College and University of Buffalo graduate. Swimming for Buffalo State, he set school records in the 200, 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyle events. He spent one year as an assistant coach at each of his Alma Maters. Prior to the Titans, Tim was a coach for the North Tonawanda Swim Club and summer clinic. Since joining the Titans, the team has grown from 75 swimmers to one of the largest in the Eastern Zone. Since 1995, the Titans have won several district championships, sent countless swimmers to the Eastern Zone Championships, Super Sectional Meets, Junior National, and Senior National Meets. We have had Zone Champions, National top 16, National Top 10 swimmers, and broken numerous district records. Tim is proud to have been a part of this and plans on the team only doing bigger and better things. Tim, as part of the Titans staff, has been recognized as the Age Group Coach of the Year by the American Swim Coaches Association three times, and believes that the entire staff is why we are one of the best swimming programs in the Eastern Zone. “I am most proud of how many of our swimmers continue to swim past Titans, the ones that return to swim in the summer from college, the others that return to coach after college, and now they are beginning to bring us their kids.”
Coach SD / Level 1
Sage Pollack began competitively swimming at the age of 6, she attended Albertus Magnus High School in New City, Ny swimming varsity for 4 years and holds the record for the 50 free. She currently is a junior at Canisius College studying animal behavior and psychology where she also swims sprint freestyle under Scott Vanderzell for the Canisius College swim and dive team.
Coach SD / Level 1
Alexis Agee began swimming at the age of 10 with her club team in Medina Ohio. She has been workin with the stroke development and level one group since September 2019. She currently swims distance for Canisius college where she is studying journalism and creative writing.
Coach Level 4 / Level 6
Ben Verdi is from Buffalo and started swimming in 6th grade and swam with Titans, St. Joe’s, and Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. While at Le Moyne, Ben came second in the North East Conference in the 100 Breaststroke in 2013 and was on the conference winning 200 Medley Relay and 400 Medley Relay in 2015. Altogether, Ben had a career spanning almost 12 years in the pool. While in graduate school at Le Moyne for his degree in Arts Administration, Ben joined the Syracuse Chargers and Christian Brother’s Academy swim teams as a coach, and later on as a meet director. Ben also coaches for St. Joe’s and works at Irish Classical Theatre as the Audience Services Manager.
Sarah E DiMayo
Coach Level 2 / Level 3 / Level 4 / Level 5
Sarah DiMayo began competitive swimming at the age of eight, she attended RoyHart high school in Middleport, swimming varsity for 5 years. She was also part of the Titans swim team for 2 years. Under Scott Vanderzell she specialized in breaststroke and IM at Canisius College, where she just finished out her senior year. Sarah graduated Canisius with a bachelors in psychology and will be joining the AmeriCorps ABLE program this September in Buffalo.
Greg J Staebell
Coach Level 2 / Level 3 / Level 4 / Level 5
Greg Staebell began swimming at the age of nine, growing up in Williamsville he attended Williamsville South High School and went on to swim under Scott Vanderzell, where he specialized in backstroke/IM at Canisius College. He is currently a team captain for the Griffs, holds the 200 backstroke school record, a part of the All-MAAC academic team and was named MVP for the 2016-2017 season. Greg is entering his senior year at Canisius where he is studying Finance and Computer Forensics.
Joe C Wilkie
Strength & Conditioning Level 7 - Level 8
Joe received his M.S. in Health and Human Performance and B.S Physical/Health Education from Canisius College. Joe Currently teaches students personal training at Orleans-Niagara Boces. In addition to his teaching, he has been a working for the Town of Tonawanda as a pool supervisor and a personal trainer since 2006, Stroke Development and level 1 Coach for the Titans, Varsity Soccer and Swimming Coach at North Tonawanda High School, and Varsity Track at Williamsville South High School.
Grace Van Buren
Coach Level 4/ Level 6
Grace Van Buren began swimming when she was 9 years old. She swam for Amherst High School for 5 years. She is now a sophomore at Canisius where she swims and majors in Finance and Economics.
Coach Level 3/Level 5
Grace Fredericks started swimming for Titans at the age of 13 and swam for Mount St. Mary Academy in Tonawanda, where she holds records in several relays and the 100 breast stroke. She attended Central Connecticut State University where she swam for all four years and graduated with a Psychological Science Degree. She now works as a Child Care Therapy Aide with Child and Family services.
Charlie Schutt has been involved with competitive swimming for 20 years; 10 years as a swimmer and the last 10 years as Head Coach at the Ken-Ton Family YMCA Cobras. During his tenure at the YMCA, Charlie helped to triple the size of the team while producing numerous district and state champion swimmers; while also serving as the State Commissioner the past two years. Charlie holds a bachelors (‘14) and masters (‘15) degree in accounting from the University at Buffalo. Currently, Charlie works at M&T Bank, leading their BSA/AML Technology Audit Team. When he’s not working or coaching, Charlie enjoys playing tennis, traveling and spending time with his wife, Elizabeth and daughter, Quinn.