Alex Rayle of the Piedmont Family YMCA/CYAC in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been named the 2020 Fitter and Faster/American Swimming Coaches Association Age Group Coach of the Year. The winner was announced on Thursday during a virtual ceremony as part of the annual ASCA World Clinic, which has been forced online this year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Olympian and Vice-President of Fitter & Faster Chloe Sutton, Olympian and Fitter & Faster’s Director of Clinics and Camps Brett Hawke, and outgoing ASCA CEO Steve Roush were the presenters.
This is Rayle’s 3rd straight nomination and first time winning the award. He served as the Head Age Group Coach at CYAC from 2017 through 2019 and the associate head coach from 2019-2020.
While Rayle was nominated for his time at CYAC, which has incidentally since merged with Cavalier Aquatics and competes under the Cavalier Aquatics name, he is currently serving as the Head Senior Coach for the Central Virginia site of the Virginia Gators.
While with CYAC, his best-known athlete was Thomas Heilman, who recently became the fastest 13-year old in history in the 100 yard free. Heilman set a total of 7 National Age Group Records during his time training under Rayle.
In total, Rayle’s swimmers last season finished with 12 #1 rankings and 5 different athletes ranked in the national top 20 in a total of 33 event.
Rayle swam at UNC Wilming from 2013 through 2017, where as both a junior and a senior he finished 4th in the 200 breaststroke at the CAA Championships. A Charlottesville native, Rayle has returned home to kick off his coaching career, and even in just his mid-20s, he’s already growing a reputation thanks to a number of successes, including and beyond Heilman.
Past Winners of the Fitter & Faster/ASCA Age Group Coach of the Year Award
- 2014: Beth Winkowski – Dynamo Swim Club
- 2015: Tom Himes – North Baltimore Aquatic Club
- 2016: Sherwood Watts – Sarasota Sharks YMCA
- 2017: Rob Norman – TAC Titans
- 2018: Rod Hansen – Irvine Novaquatics
- 2019: Megan Oesting – Eastern Iowa Swim Federation
2020 Fitter & Faster/ASCA Age Group Coach of the Year Top 10 Honorees
- Gabriela Sofia of Long Island Aquatic Club in East Meadow, NY
- Hector Jimenez of Rose Bowl Aquatics in Pasadena, CA
- Cashel Mack of West Florida Lightning Aquatic in St. Petersburg, FL
- Owen Molenaar of Pacific Swim in San Diego, CA
- Rob Norman of TAC Titans in Raleigh, NC
- Marni O’Dell of Chino Hills Aquatics in Chino Hills, California
- Alex Rayle of Piedmont Family YMCA/CYAC in Charlottesville, VA
- Mark Taliaferro of Santa Clara Swim Club in Santa Clara, CA
- Bryan Welter of Lakeside Aquatic Club in Flower Mound, TX
Fitter & Faster is a SwimSwam partner.