The Central Area Aquatics Team (CAAT) in Seattle, Washington has formally announced the addition of 4 coaches to their staff. The coaches all come from the former KING Aquatic staff, where all-but-one coach resigned after CEO Sean Hutchison was publicly accused by former World Record holder Ariana Kukors of grooming her from a young age and later sexually abusing her.
Only 1 member of the KING coaching staff remains on the roster to serve under new head coach Jay Benner. Much of the rest of the staff joined CAAT – including the 4 named in the press release:
New CAAT coaches, and their new roles and locations:
- Tommy Cunningham – Senior and Senior Performance – North
- Keith Ure – Agee Group and Age Group Performance – Kent
- Tomas Mendez – Senior, Senior Performance – Evergreen
- Bill Inglis – Age Group and Age Group Performance – North
In addition, CAAT is expanding into new practice locations and expanding hours at existing pools as part of an effort to absorb more than 100 swimmers who have moved to CAAT from KING. CAAT says that the increased membership will allow them to offer more options to their members, not fewer.
CAAT has added pool space at the Evergreen Pool, Kent-Meridian Pool, Woodridge Swim Club, Newport Hills Swim Club, and are expanding hours at Seattle University and Mercerwood Shore Club. Most of these sites are former KING training locations.
CAAT finished 28th at March’s Federal Way Sectional Championships in the overall team standings. That’s a meet that KING won by 19 points over the Fort Collins Area Swim Team.
The full CAAT press release is below:
CAAT, a year round club swimming team in Seattle that values community, teamwork and performance, announced a significant expansion to the club today, adding four new practice pool locations, expanded hours at existing practice pools and the hiring of four veteran lead coaches and several assistant coaches.
The pools being added are Evergreen Pool, Kent-Meridian Pool, Mercer Island Beach Club, and Newport Hills Swim Club. The team is also expanding hours at Seattle University and Mercerwood Shore Club. Coaches Tommy Cunningham, Keith Ure, Tomas Mendez, and Bill Inglis joined the coaching staff. Their bios can be found at https://swimcaat.org .
CAAT, with its more than two-decade history of operating out of the central area of Seattle, will expand into South King County with these additions and now has the pool and coaching capacity to more than double the team size. Since coming on to lead CAAT 4 years ago, Kenneth Spencer has been building an organization that both values performance and community outreach and inclusivity.
Since coming on as head coach, the team has stepped up its role in supporting regional swimming leading up to hosting one of the premiere meets for USA Swimming, the Speedo Senior Sectionals, in March at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way. The meet drew over 1000 swimmers from much of the western half of the country.
CAAT is very focused on growing the swimming community – and being active in the communities where the team practices. Through Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, the team commits its USA Swimming Swim-A-Thon fundraising to its Financial Aid program. The team has also actively reached out to grow the team’s diversity as well as help bring athletes to the sport who might not be able to participate in year-round swimming.
CAAT applies 100% of its fundraising dollars to its Diversity & Inclusion programs, having raised over $120,000 over the past two years alone. CAAT received a Gold Medal Award from the USA Swimming Foundation for the most recent Swim-A-Thon completed – this means of teams in the same size category, CAAT raised the most funds and this is due to the dedication of the swimmers, coaches and their families to further the mission of outreach and inclusion.
“This expansion is a big step for our team. We have built a program at CAAT that encompasses performance and teamwork and we are excited to expand this to a new set of coaches, swimmers and their families. Swimming is about more than performance and our program emphasizes teamwork, determination, and execution as well as values around character and citizenship that will sustain swimmers in the pool and beyond,” commented Head Coach Kenneth Spencer.
CAAT will be hiring administrative staff and more assistant coaches in the coming months to support this growth.