Coaching Staff 2017-06-06T17:50:52+00:00

Coaching Staff

John Morse

Head Coach


Since taking over the helm as the Head Coach of the Nashville Aquatic Club in 1984, John Morse has established a tradition of dedication and excellence in Middle Tennessee.

The 1989, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2016 Southeastern Swimming LSC Coach of the Year, Morse has coached the team to over 40 LSC Championship titles.

Upon Morse’s arrival, NAC has established itself as a consistent and elite program in developing fast, successful swimmers. Through Morse’s guidance, NAC has finished in the top 10 at Senior Nationals, as high as 2nd at the Junior National Championships, and has been overall team champion at the Southeastern Sectional Championships.

Coach Morse has developed more than 60 Olympic Trial qualifiers, over a dozen National finalists, four World University Games qualifiers, World Junior Championship qualifiers, Junior National Champions, National Team members, FINA World Junior Champions, and swimmers that went on to become NCAA champions and All Americans.

Morse’s leadership has allowed the team garner twelve consecutive Gold Medal Club Awards. This award identifies USA Swimming Clubs that have attained a high level of athlete performance as well as organizational success. NAC has been honored as a Gold Medal Club in each year of the first 12 years of the awards existence.

Morse’s success has also led him to earn the American Swim Coaches Association Bronze Award of Excellence, signifying ten years of having a finalist at Nationals. Morse has served as a National Team Coach in 1992, 2008, 2011, and has been a part of the Olympic Development Camp (1994), the Eagle Camp (1995), Zone Distance Camp (1997), and National Select Camp (1998). Morse was selected as an assistant coach for the National Junior Team in 2007-2008, and participated in international competition in Melbourne, Australia.  In both 2008 and 2016, Morse was recognized by USA Swimming as the USA Swimming Developmental Coach of the Year, and was selected as the head women’s coach for the 2009 National Junior Team trip to Vancouver.  In 2010, Morse was selected as the co-head coach of the Junior Pan-Pacific team which competed in Hawaii.  In 2011, Morse was selected as a member of the Pan-American Games coaching staff which competed in Mexico.  In 2012, Morse was selected as a coach for the Junior Pan-Pacific team competing in Honolulu, Hawaii.  In both 2014 and 2016, Morse was selected as the head women’s coach for the Junior Pan-Pacific team competing in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Coach Morse also stays involved in the politics of swimming. He has been a delegate to the United States Swimming Aquatic Convention more than a dozen times. He has also served on the National Championship Time Standards Committee, the National Championship site selection committee, the National Club Development Committee, and currently serves on the Senior Development Committee for USA Swimming. Coach Morse is also a member of the Southeastern Swimming board of directors and has served as the Senior Chairman, Technical Planning Director, Outreach Director, and Swim-a-Thon Director.

He also stays very involved in high school swimming, and was instrumental in bringing the high school state meet to Nashville in 1991. He has worked with the Nashville Metro Parks and Nashville Sports Council to secure three Senior National Championships, 2 Junior National Championships, and 1 Masters National Championships for the city.

Coach Morse is a graduate of the University of Florida, where he swam on conference and NCAA championship teams.  Coach Morse is happily married and has 2 stepchildren.  He is also an avid fisherman and has two dogs:  Bentley and Jenks.

The Morse File:

  • 65+ Olympic Trial Qualifiers
  • 21 National Junior Team Members
  • 18 National Finalists
  • USA Swimming and US Olympic Committee Developmental Coach of the Year, 2008 & 2016

International Experience

  • Head Coach, USA, 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Team, Hawaii
  • Head Coach, USA, 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Team, Hawaii
  • Head Coach, USA, 2010 Junior Pan Pacific Team, Hawaii
  • Head Coach, USA, 2009 National Junior Team Competition, Vancouver
  • Assistant Coach, USA, 2011 Pan American Games, Mexico
  • Assistant Coach, USA, 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Team, Hawaii
  • Assistant Coach, USA, 2007-8 National Junior Team Competition, Melbourne

Doug Wharam

Associate Head Coach


Doug enters his seventh season with Nashville Aquatic Club as Associate Head Coach and Senior Coordinator.  During his tenure in Nashville, the Senior group has developed dozens of winter Junior National qualifiers, sixteen summer Junior National qualifiers, over a dozen first time summer Senior National qualifiers, fourteen 18&U Olympic Trial qualifiers, placed twenty-two athletes on the Southeastern Zone Championship team, and had hundreds of USA Swimming Top 10 swims, including more than thirty #1 rankings.  In addition, NAC has also had international success, with athletes securing multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals at FINA World Junior Championships and the Junior Pan Pacific Championships.

Prior to his tenure with NAC, Doug was the Director of Competitive Swimming with the Shenandoah Marlins Aquatic Club in Waynesboro, Va., the Head Age Group Coach and Assistant Senior Coach at Seacoast Swimming in Providence, R.I., Head Age Group Coach with the Waves of Wilmington in Wilmington, N.C. and Assistant Age Group Coach with Machine Aquatics in the Washington, D.C. area. Collegiately, he has served volunteer assistant coach posts at Brown University, the University of Virginia, and Vanderbilt University’s women’s swim team.

In 2013, Doug was selected as a member of USA Swimming’s National Select Camp coaching staff, and in 2016 was selected as a member of the staff for National Junior Team Camp.  In 2014 and 2016, Doug received recognition as an ASCA/Fitter & Faster National Age Group Coach of the Year finalist.  In 2016, Doug was recognized by USA Swimming as Developmental Coach of the Year.

A 2005 graduate of the University of Virginia, Doug earned a master’s degree in Sport Management from the State University of New York at Cortland in 2011, and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Sport Management. He is certified as an ASCA Level 5 coach and was selected as a 2009-2010 ASCA Fellow.  Doug has two dogs – Powell and Emmitt, a cat named Sam, and a totally rad wife.

Sarah Peterson

Age Group Coordinator


Sarah is entering her third season with the Nashville Aquatic Club as Age Group Coordinator.  Sarah swam for the Nashville Aquatic Club for 11 seasons, and during that time was a member of the National Junior Team and a 2008 Olympic Trials Qualifier.  Sarah grew up in Franklin, and was a high school All-American and team captain at Franklin High School.

After graduation, Sarah attended the University of Florida where she swam for coach Gregg Troy.  While at Florida, Sarah was a 3-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, an NCAA All-American, and a member of the 2009 SEC Championship, and 2010 NCAA Championship team.  Sarah graduated with a degree in advertising.

Sarah is dedicated to continuing the tradition of excellence of the age group program!

Jessica Ralston

Developmental Coordinator


Jessica is a native to Charleston, South Carolina and swam competitively throughout her adolescent years.

In 2010 she began her coaching career with Daniel Island Flying Fish, a summer league, coaching all age swimmers.  In 2012, she began at LTP Racing Club, a newly developed USA Swimming team in Charleston.  During her time at LTP she helped build and grow the entire program for four years from 80 swimmers to over 250.  She was also highly involved with the South Carolina LSC where she coached at several South Carolina Select Camps and served as an assistant coach on the 2013 South Caroline Zone Team.

Jessica is a 2013 College of Charleston alumna with a Bachelors’ Degree in Special Education.  She is excited to dive into the developmental coordinator position at NAC to help guide young athletes to success.

Ashley Ann Whitney

Masters/Triathlon Coordinator


Ashley was an National Junior Team qualifier as an age group swimmer with NAC. She still holds the Southeastern record in the 200 freestyle for 13-14 girls. Ashley swam for the Bolles School, where she qualified for a spot on the US National Team from 1995-1998. She competed in a variety of national and international competitions and won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics in the 800 freestyle relay. Ashley was a member of the 1999 NCAA Championship team swimming for the University of Georgia and completed her collegiate swimming career at the University of California-Berkeley.

A three time Olympic Trials qualifier, Ashley now focuses much of her efforts on training, racing, and coaching for open water swimming. She earned a spot on the 2009 US National Open Water team and has won several open water races around the country. Ashley has coached hundreds of adult swimmers to successful triathlon and open water finishes from sprint to mult-ironman distances. Ashley especially enjoys helping adult swimmers achieve their goals whether they include learning freestyle to participate in their first race or prepare a bid to qualify for World Championship multi-sport competitions. Ashley is excited to bring her swimming and coaching experience back to the team where her competitive swimming career started.

Ashley also enjoys her time as head coach of Nashville’s Seven Hills Barracudas summer league team. She and her husband met in Nashville and enjoy racing triathlons together. They have two daughters who are learning to swim with NAC’s Swim America program.

Margy Cramer

Red Group Coach


Margy is entering her third season as a coach with the Nashville Aquatic Club, and serves as the Red Group Coordinator. Prior to moving to Nashville, Margy served as the Assistant Coach for the men and women at Towson University for four seasons. She grew up in Cincinnati and went on to swim at Penn State. While there, she was an NCAA Academic All-American, Academic All Big Ten Team member and member of the Dean’s List. Margy also competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials and won a silver medal in 5K Open Water race at the 2005 World Championship. Margy began coaching in 2007 at M.E. Lyons YMCA and Ursuline Academy, both in Cincinnati. Margy and her husband live in Nashville with their daughter and son.

Rachel Deutsch

Age Group Coach


Rachel, a native of Franklin, TN, is beginning her second season of coaching with Nashville Aquatic Club.  She attended Father Ryan High School and swam at four Tennessee High School state championship meets.  She was the team captain, most valuable swimmer, and broke the 50 freestyle record for her high school in 2010-2011.  She swam for NAC as an age group swimmer and again from 2009-2011 during which she competed at four Southeastern Championship meets.  Rachel attended college at the University of Tennessee where she majored in Child and Family Studies and earned her bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Sciences.  She was the head and assistant head coach for the Traceside Barracudas in the summers of 2009-2013 and coached part-time for Tennessee Aquatics in 2012.  She is currently building her personal business as an Independent Beauty Consultant when not coaching Green group, Red group, Blue group, and SwimFit 2.

Jessica Ivy

Age Group Coach


Jess is entering her first season with NAC as a Blue Group coach. Jess began coaching in Dallas, Texas and has coached at a USA swim club in Maryland for the past five years. Jess grew up swimming for the Dallas Mustangs and competed in swimming and track and field at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. She was a conference champion in the 400 IM in 2007 and finished 5th at NCAA Div III Nationals in the 5,000m in 2008. Jess is finishing her masters in nutrition and is a registered dietitian. Jess enjoys competing in triathlons and helping athletes achieve their fitness goals. She is excited to continue her coaching and nutrition career in Nashville.

James T Loveless

Age Group Coach


James Loveless grew up in Westchester, NY swimming for Badger Swim Team under coach John Collins. James was a Junior National Qualifier in the freestyle events as a ninth grader. By twelfth grade, James expanded into individual medleys and Senior Nationals/Olympic trial times in the freestyle events. James attended UC Berkeley (CAL) where he trained under Nort Thornton and Mike Bottom (Michigan). There, he was a PAC-10 finalist and was nominated for rookie of the year. After being offered a full scholarship for swimming, James moved to Syracuse University for his remaining years where he was team captain, top five finalist in the Big East Championship and a Big East Academic All Star. After college, James received a fellowship to Fordham University in 2004 where he completed a Master’s in Education for grades 1-6. For the past 6 years, James has been teaching science to elementary/middle school students in the New York area. During this time, he has also been able to coach with for the Badger age group team and coaching country club and high school teams as well. James has coached over 300 age group swimmers to success as well as coaching swimmers to become Junior National Qualifiers and All-American athletes. James swims everyday and truly believes that swimming can improve one’s quality of life.

Alex Pierce

Age Group Coach


A native of Hendersonville, TN, Alex is entering her second season coaching for NAC. She attended Hendersonville High School and swam at four Tennessee High School state championships. Alex swam for Nashville Aquatic Club from 2004-2009. With the Nashville Aquatic Club, Alex competed at Southeastern Championships, Zone Championships, Sectionals, Grand Prix and National swim meets. Alex continued her swimming career at Michigan State University where she graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. While at Michigan State, she was a women’s team captain, competed in all four Big Ten Conference Championships, competed on relays at the Big Ten Conference Championships, made the Top Ten Times list in the 200IM, 400IM, 100fly, and 200fly, was a Scholastic All Big Ten award receiver, and made the Dean’s list in 2012 and 2013.  Alex coached with the Panama City Swim Team Tsunamis in 2013-2014, Excel Aquatics in the summer of 2013, and the Indian Lake Warriors summer league team in the summer of 2012. Alex is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration through the University of Findlay in Ohio.

Neal Rushing

Senior Assistant Coach


Neal grew up in Jackson, TN swimming for Union Swim Club before moving to Nashville to swim for NAC. He went on to swim four years at Western Kentucky University where he was a two-time team captain and helped set both the pool and school records in the 800 free relay. He was also a member of the 2014 Conference USA championship team. Neal graduated from WKU in December of 2014 and began his coaching career with SKY Swimming in Bowling Green, KY. After a year at SKY, Neal took over the head coaching position of the Jackson Gators Swim team in his hometown. While coaching the Gators, Neal had numerous Southeastern finalists, several State Championship finalists (including a two-time state champion in the 100 backstroke), four Junior National qualifiers (including three first-time qualifiers), and two zone meet participants. Neal is excited to be a part of the NAC family once again and hopes to add to the legacy of hard work and fast swimming in Nashville! Away from the pool, Neal LOVES sports and has one awesome pup named Brooks.

Clarissa Wentworth

Age Group Coach


Clarissa started coaching the Pre-Competitive Group in the Winter of 2012, and has now coached the Red Group exclusively for the past three seasons  She swam competitively for 16 years, getting her start with the Dayton Raiders Swim Club in Dayton, OH. After high school, she swam for Indiana University, specializing in freestyle and butterfly. Clarissa returned to the Dayton Raiders and coached age-group, high school, and Master’s level swimmers for two years after college. She then moved to middle Tennessee and is currently working as an elementary school councilor.

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