Apr 27, 2019

Lisa C Kanak

  • Swim Coach (flexible), USAS Certified (current), ASCA Certified
  • Tidewater Area, Virginia
Full time Head Coach Head Age Group Coach Associate Head Coach Age Group Coach

Personal Summary

Swimming was always "my sport."  I dog-paddled my way onto the Superfish in the early 1980's and fell in love with the water.  Unfortunately, my family moved quite a bit, and I wound up leaving the sport long before I was ready.  It wasn't until I was an adult with my own children entering the local swimming program and becoming increasingly competitive that I realized how much I had missed being a part of this activity.

When getting involved with our local teams, I felt it was always my job to be where the team needed me.  In some cases, this meant holding a timer, in other cases, it meant making and serving food.  From there, I worked as a Clerk of Course, a stroke & turn official, a starter, a ref, and eventually a coach.  Moving across the ocean to Naples, Italy put us in a strange position -- the local club team environment was not compatible with what USAS goals for age-group swimming.  The clubs here are known to specialize early and only work with the fastest -- little attention is paid to technique after a certain level and it becomes all about the times.  I've watched swimmers from France, the US, Canada and Greece grow frustrated with the local club environment and erode their love for the sport.

We joined the Naples Tiger Sharks,, a European Forces Swim League team, on the US Navy base here.  This league is more of a recreational-style league, but we have a good number of very competitive swimmers.  Due to the nature of our environment, we usually don't have swimmers with us for more than three years, as such our ability to truly grow swimmers from beginner to national levels is limited.  That doesn't mean we don't do our best to maximize every swimmer's abilities.

The Tiger Sharks is committed to promoting a love of swimming, and building swimmers with solid technique and the skills each child needs to reach their fullest potential.  This program has developed swimmers from beginner all the way to NCAA recruiting.  Each year, we have swimmers who achieve A, AA and AAA times, and more than 50% of our swimmers achieve at least one BB time each season (this season may be higher).  We may not always have the best talent, but we do have some of the hardest workers in our league -- and it shows through 12 consecutive Division Titles.

I'd like to take what I've learned here, and work to help build a program when we return stateside.  I want to continue to learn from some of the best coaches the U.S. has to offer, as well as taking various continuing education courses through ASCA.  I hope to work alongside coaches who strive to be their very best in order to inspire more swimmers to do their very best -- while making a lifetime of wonderful memories in and around the pool.

Work Experience

Head Coach
Mar 2017 - Mar 2019 Naples Tiger Sharks

Principal Team Manager.  While the Tiger Sharks is a Board-Run, non-profit team, I was responsible for communicating, implementing and maintaining the vision and goals for the Naples Tiger Sharks Swim Team. There were multiple duties required which included:

  • Determining requirements for group levels, evaluating swimmers and placing accordingly;
  • Interviewing, hiring, training and developing assistant coaches and high school team captains;
  • Developing a network of parent deck assistants who could assist on deck when coaches were out due to travel or illness;
  • Presenting the board with equipment needs, regular communication of any issues on the pool deck or with the facility;
  • Maintaining records of when assistant coaches were on deck and tracking hours as necessary; and
  • Providing the very best competitive program despite limitations within the overseas Navy environment.

Program Development:  As the head coach, it was my responsibility to develop an annual swim program, taking into account the needs of both new and returning swimmers, as well as ever changing facility availability.  This included:

  • Spring Swim Program.  I worked with the board and the facility management and created and implemented a new Spring Swim program which allowed swimmers to work primarily on skill refinement, as well as teaching new skills and improving conditioning following the completion of our championship meet.  This also provided an opportunity for swimmers who had recently moved to Naples to begin working in a non-competitive environment.
  • Summer Swim Program: I worked with the board and the facility management to come up with a summer swim program that would allow our intermediate and advanced swimmers to get a head start on conditioning activities in preparation for the season, as well as introduce new and developing swimmers to competitive swimming, while having fun with their friends.  The summer swim program concluded with an intrasquad meet. 
  • Special Training Programs.  I ran multiple small clinics throughout the pre-season and competitive season in order to provide small group, detailed instruction for swimmers who needed or wanted special attention to improving specific stroke, turn or starting technique.   Additionally, I set up a one-week Swim Camp with Josh Davis (former Olympian and D2 coach) for the Naples Tiger Sharks in 2018, and have set up a second camp for the Tiger Sharks in 2019.
  • Season Schedule and Competitive Program.  I developed the training schedule for season practices, as well as an outline for the President regarding meets we should attend, selected focus meets, and in general tried to keep the meet schedule balanced throughout the season.
  • Season Training Plan.  I created a training plan for each level at the beginning of the season, and modified as necessary throughout the season based upon the needs of the team.

Daily Planning, Coaching and Training:  Each practice for each level was planned and prepared by me.  I worked to push out practices to the assistant coaches, and captains when necessary, in order to enable everyone to remain as informed and prepared for what we needed to accomplish each week.  I was on deck leading each practice an average of 24 hours a week (non meet weeks were 30 hours on deck).  This included in-water assistance at times with the younger swimmers.  It was my responsibility to make sure anyone on deck assisting knew what was planned, what our goals were, and had the ability to instruct, correct, and adjust the plan for individual swimmers in order to acheive the overall goal of the practice.

Tracking Swimmer Development, Meet Planning & Attendance:  In addition to the daily coaching responsibilities above, I was also responsible for tracking the progress of the swimmers through various test sets in practice, tracking events swum at meets, times, qualification for championships, and helping swimmers develop, set and achieve both process goals and time goals. 

  • Created and utilized Excel spreadsheets to better track swim dates, events and progress for each swimmer; 
  • Utilized SwimShare to prepare daily swim training sets;
  • Worked through Swimtopia and Team Manager to contact and confirm the attendance of swimmers for meets, handle entry suggestions, final meet and relay entries for each swimmer attending;
  • Utilized Team Manager for swimmer reports, family and individual swimmer records, Created new Team Record Report in Team Manger, imported and exported various files as needed.
  • Used both Team Manager Meet Reports and Excel Spreadsheet to plan meets, working to maximize team points, while ensuring individual goals for swimming a variety of events, and working to qualify individuals for championship meets could also be met.
  • Attended a majority of swim meets in order to assist swimmers with pre-race plans, help younger swimmers with pre-race jitters, or questions about an event, post-race discussions enabling swimmers to better prepare for their next race; or issues to take back to practice to improve.

Communication and Marketing:  Throughout the season, I was responsible for regular communication with the board, parents, coaches, captains and often the community at large. 

  • Utilized Facebook, Swimtopia, Messanger, and telephone to communicate for both normal and emergency situations. 
  • Attended ancillary groups in order to assist with marketing the team to our NATO allies at other local military installations. 
  • Worked to develop training opportunities for officials, parents, and coaches on our team and throughout the League through Facebook, YouTube and group communication software, such as GoToMeeting.  

Personal & Team Statistics:

  • ASCA Certified Level 5 / Level 2 USAS
  • Squad Size – Approximately 80 swimmers ages 6-19.  Three main training groups (Developmental 18-22 swimmers; Intermediate Age Group 22-24 swimmers; Advanced Age Group/Senior Swimmers 30-32)
  • 36% of the squad achieved qualification times for EFSL Championships in 2017-2018
  • 56% of the squad achieved q
    • ualification and/or pull up times for EFSL Championships in 2018-2019
    • 51% of the squad attended and swam at EFSL Championships in 2018-2019, and 35% of those earning times were in their first or second year of competition, and began their swimming career with the Tiger Sharks.
  • 19% of the squad achieved at least one A time or better.


B.S. Communicaiton
Aug 1987 - May 1990 Liberty University
B.S. Political Science
Aug 1987 - May 1990 Liberty University


References available upon request.