2019 Board of Directors Election
Meet the Candidates!

John Kirk – Little Otter Swim School

I would like to ask for your vote to remain President of the United States Swim School Association. My wife Lory, and I, joined the association over 15 years ago as we were beginning our journey to become swim school owners. We have been helped by many fellow owners along the way. Now, it is time for us to give back. I was born in Charlotte, NC and attended Appalachian State University where I met my amazing wife. I became a camera operator in video and film after college. During this period, I was fortunate enough to work on 2 projects that were awarded EMMYs and other awards. I enjoyed this work but knew that I wanted to work in a different industry as I got older. As we looked around, we found the USSSA to be very welcoming and after attending the conference in Monterrey Mexico we decided this was an industry that we wanted to join. We built our first location after doing a whirlwind tour around the country going to Texas, Arizona and Ohio. We learned a lot and still are learning. I enjoy learning and seeing how different people approach the same challenges. Our company has grown from 1 school with 25 children and 5 instructors to 2 facilities with over 3000 children and about 70 instructors. We were excited to welcome many of you to visit our facilities when the conference was in Charlotte. We still get phone calls and the occasional visit. In the past, I have served as chair of the PR committee. I was honored to be chosen as a Guiding Light. I was elected to the Board of Directors in 2014. I created the Owners Forum on Facebook which continues to be a valuable resource. As president, I will continue to seek ways to make the Association more relevant and valuable to the members. I look forward to seeing everyone in Milwaukee and ask for your vote.

Tracy Koleber – Nitro Swimming

Tracy Koleber is running for Vice President of the Board of Directors. She has been a member of the USSSA since 2008, and has served the association as a member of the Membership Connections Committee and as a member of the Board of Directors. Tracy owns Nitro Swimming with her husband, Mike, and she’s the mother to two great kids and three fur babies. Mike’s and Tracy’s story began on a pool deck in 1997, and she had no idea how much time she would be spending on a pool deck for the rest of her life. Nitro began as a pipe dream and a napkin sketch in 2002, and the first location was built in 2007. The program started as a USA Team in rented pools and now has three locations which currently serve over 5000 swimmers a week with 130 employees. Tracy’s role at Nitro is all things admin, and as a member of this association, she has borrowed several best practices from many of you. She believes that the best thing about serving this association is the circle of amazing people you get to call friends.

Karen Kittelson Clay – SwimWest Swim School

For over 30 years, I have owned and operated SwimWest School of Instruction, Inc., with two locations in Madison, Wisconsin. In the summertime, I operate a day camp, Swim & Gym Summer Camp. I also love being a business consultant who assists swim schools, camps and area businesses with marketing, business plans, financials, crisis management and where to find new hires. I enjoy public speaking and speak nationally and internationally on business related topics. I have served two separate three-year terms on the United States Swim School Association Board and on the Stop Drowning Now Board. Since 2003, I volunteer on our local SaferKids Board and represent our area in drowning prevention at local events around the community. The Guiding Light Award was presented to me in 2006 for creating a mentoring program for the USSSA. I was granted the Coutts Family Scholarship in 2018 to study “Energy Efficiency in our Swim Schools”. However, my most important roles are that I am a wife to Tim and a mother of two children, Teddy who is 12 and Abby, 9 years old plus our Golden Retriever, Lucy.

Felipe Delgado – Evolution Swim Academy

Felipe Delgado, Olympic Partner and Founder at Evolution Swim Academy, is a 2x Olympian (1996/2000) and the current Team Director at Gators Swim Club. In 2004, Felipe started his professional career working at Johnson & Johnson in their pharmaceutical division and spent two years with the company. In 2006, Felipe was hired by Novo Nordisk, worldwide leader in diabetes and hormone therapy care, as a pharmaceutical sales representative and would later work in the training department as well as the global marketing team. During his tenure at Johnson & Johnson, Felipe started to feel the urge to get back into swimming, the sport that was a major part of his life for many years. In 2005, he would start teaching swim lessons as part of his daily routine. During the day he would work at the pharmaceutical company and in the evenings and weekends he would teach children how to swim. Felipe would slowly build his business, hiring part-time employees, renting small office space and contracting with various HOA’s throughout South Orange County. In 2011, Felipe decided to take a leap of faith and ended his tenure at Novo to focus on building his business and someday possibly owning his own location. Today, Felipe owns and operates a location in Mission Viejo, California, is building a second location in Rancho Mission Viejo, is a minority shareholder in a swim school in Shanghai, China, and continues to work with the various seasonal locations in South Orange County. Felipe is also the Team Director at Gators Swim Club, a team he co-owns. Felipe is married to Megan Delgado and together they have four children: Anicka (17), Valentina (9), Francesca (7) and Luca (4).

Brad Grzelka – Atlanta Swim Academy

Water has played an integral role in Brads life. As a child, he was fortunate enough to have grown up with many opportunities to be in and around the water. More than 3 decades ago, Brads parents started a family business, Atlanta Swim Academy. At the age of 15, he began working at Atlanta Swim Academy teaching swim lessons and helping run the business. Brad is a born leader. He has grown with his family business and took over operations in 2005. Recently celebrating 34 years in Marietta, GA, Brad and his team continue to grow the swim program and community involvement. Brad is always looking for new ways to help others overcome their fears and foster the same love for the water that he has. The WOW!!! Theory is something that Brad is very passionate about; always changing and adapting his programs and facility to make it the best of the best. One of Brad’s favorite times of the year is when the USSSA Conferences occur. Not only does he get the opportunity to communicate his ideas, he also learns from other members who share his passion of the water.

The Association Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body of the Association. It is made up of the following positions: President; Vice-President and five Members at large. Each Board Member is elected by the membership and holds their position for a three-year period. Board Members act as liaisons to the committee chairs of the Association.

Your 2019 Board of Directors are as follows:

John Kirk
President – elected 2015
Little Otter Swim School
8200 Tower Point Drive
Charlotte, NC 28227
(704) 846-7946
johnkirk [at] littleotterswim.com

Tracy Koleber
Vice President – elected 2016 (appointed VP 2019)
Nitro Swimming
15506 D West Hwy 71
Bee Cave, TX 78734
(512) 861-7946
tracy [at] nitroswim.com

Buffy Folise
Treasurer – elected 2018 (appointed Treasurer 2019)
Chicago Swim School
2020 E Northwest Hwy
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 870-7946
buffy [at] chicagoswimschool.com

Brad Grzelka
Board Member – appointed 2019
Atlanta Swim Academy
732 Johnson Ferry Rd.
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 973-3120 x 555
brad [at] atlantaswimacademy.com

Bobby Hazen
Board Member – elected 2018
2100 Dear Park Ave
Deer Park, NY 11729
bhazen [at] saf-t-swim.com

Melissa Taylor
Board Member – elected 2018
Small Fish Big Fish Swim School
346 Pike Rd #3
West Palm Beach, FL 33411
(561) 818-7946
melissa [at] smallfishbigfish.com

Matt Young
Board Member – elected 2016
Hubbard Family Swim School
13832 N. 32nd St. Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85032
(602) 971-4044
matt [at] hubbardswim.com

Lisa M. Zarda
Executive Director – hired 2017
US Swim School Association
7100 E. Cave Creek Rd., STE 109
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
(480) 447-4987
lisa [at] usswimschools.org