NCAP hires former Machine, Rockville-Montgomery coach Sue Chen to work with Gemmel, Ledecky site

Nation’s Capital Swim Club is already one of the hottest age group super-clubs in the country, and their coaching staff just added a new power-player in former Machine Aquatics coach Sue Chen.

Chen coached with the Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club for two decades, coaching multiple high-level athletes – most recently, American record-holder Jack Conger. Chen left Rockville Montgomery in 2013 to coach with Machine, but now makes the leap to NCAP.

“At Nation’s Capital, we’re always looking for ways to help our athletes continue to improve,” said club CEO Tom Ugast. “Sue became available and contacted me asking if we had any opportunities for her to coach with us.”

That contact coincided with an opening at NCAP when a current coach moved away, said Ugast, leading to Chen’s hiring with the multi-site mega-club.

Chen will coaching alongside Bruce Gemmell at the Georgetown Prep site, where world record-holder Katie Ledecky currently trains.

That gives NCAP a pairing of two renowned age group coaches at the same site, something Ugast says should help the club through what will be a busy season for Gemmell and Ledecky.

“Over the next 18 months, Bruce will have to travel a lot with Katie and on national teams,” Ugast said. “With Sue on board, we know we still have a coach here who can work with our athletes who are trying to make that next step.

“Even when Bruce is travelling, we don’t miss a beat in terms of workouts and training.”

Chen will start primarily working with the team’s Silver I group, which consists of high-level 11-14-year-olds competing at the Sectional and Junior National level. Ugast added that her role will continue to evolve and expand as the year goes on.

“Over this quad, our goal is getting all of our kids from age 8 to 18 to continually improve,” Ugast said. “Adding Sue to the staff definitely helps us do that.”

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5 years ago

Wow. Huge hire.

5 years ago

Anybody knows why Sue Chen left Machine club? She was the head coach for a senior group there.

Reply to  DCSwimmer
4 years ago

She is not head coach material. It’s one thing to coach one swimmer, to manage all those other responsibilities is beyond her capabilities. Her communication skills are terrible.

5 years ago

NCAP has always been a good team but even a few years ago when it was still known as Curl Burke it had competition from the other local teams. NCAP always had the numbers but the stars from the DC/VA/MD area typically came from the smaller teams (Kate Ziegler, Chloe Sutton, Jack Conger) but now its a straight up monopoly….and its not just the Ledecky factor (although that for sure helps) they really started to pop off right before Ledecky made it big. Not hating tho….just an observation

Reply to  Ervin
5 years ago

What team did Chloe Sutton swim for in the DMV area?

Reply to  dmswim
5 years ago

Sutton also swam for Machine Aquatics before she swam for FISH with Ziegler. And prior to that swam for York swim club I believe.

Reply to  Ervin
5 years ago

To answer the question below, Sutton swam for the FISH very briefly. I do question the statement that the stars from the area typically came from smaller teams. Ziegler did, of course. Conger came from RMSC, which is huge – as big as CUBU/NCAP for many years (not sure what the current numbers are). McLean swam for a smaller team too, SNOW. The rest, over the past quarter century, were from CUBU/NCAP – Barrowman, Santos, Lopez, Henderson, Dolan, and Moses, and now Ledecky, Seliskar, Vissering, Hirschberger, Hu, Jones, etc. Your basic point is correct though: NCAP has never been as overwhelmingly dominant as it is now. Not even close.

Reply to  Fan
5 years ago

You’re right RMSC is a big team…I guess “other” local teams would have been a better word choice. By “stars” I was mainly thinking collegiate level…Sean Fletcher was big for Michigan’s NCAA tittle, Sarah Haase for RMSC and Stanford, Ashley Danner as that George Mason swimmer in the breastrokes, Amanda Kendall from LSU won 3 or 4 golds at the Pan American games. But what NCAP has been able to do is incredible. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a transition from a age-group team to something like a SWIMMAC…I know Chuck Katis went back to train with them for a while last summer

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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