Energy Core Swim Team Coaches
We are here to support your needs. If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact one of the coaches. For all administrative questions related to things such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please contact one of the board members.
Doug Buckalew, Head Coach
Doug is an ASCA Level 3 Coach and is responsible for all aspects of the competitive swimming program at ECS. He is also a member of the ECS Board of Directors and heads the Board Nominating Committee. He grew up in Winston-Salem, NC and started swimming at the age of 10 for the WSY where he was a two-time YMCA National Champion, (relays) and several times an individual Y National Finalist. He was MVP of the RJ Reynolds High School swim team his senior year and swam for NCSU for two years. After his sophomore year at NCSU he left to swim in Europe for the Mulhouse Olympic Natation in Mulhouse, France. While living in France, Doug trained and competed with the top French and European swimmers and was a finalist in several French National and Club Championships.
Doug has helped many swimmers over the last few years to achieve their goals in and out of the water. As a coach in the Gulf, his swimmers have consistently been able to achieve their personal best times. He has helped numerous swimmers to be able to achieve TAGS, Sectionals and Junior National Qualifying Times. He has also had several swimmers achieve National TOP 10 Age Group Rankings and 2 swimmers be named as High School All-Americans. He has been selected to coach for multiple GULF Swimming Teams and camps including Select Camps, Zones, All Stars, Catch the Spirit Camps, Gold Medal Clinic, and The Gulf Open Water Team. Swimmers he has coached have also been selected to represent the Gulf multiple times.
His coaching philosophy and style is simple. He uses positive motivation to help swimmers achieve their personal goals. He loves to cheer swimmers on during their races and at practice. As a former swimmer who was very competitive, he knows how to motivate his swimmers and get them through the tough patches. He believes that he as well as every swimmer is accountable for their performance in a meet as well as in practice. He is in clear and constant communication with swimmers and parents. As the sport of swimming continues to evolve, he continues to educate himself and the clubs he works with. He has studied some of the newest and most innovative techniques out there and is constantly searching for that which will make himself a better coach and leader for the swimmers with whom he is entrusted.
Phil Sundahl, Head Age Group Coach
Phil is a 1983 graduate of Mariemont High School, having selected the University of Cincinnati(full scholarship athlete) out of the many Div 1 colleges who recruited him. While at University of Cincinnati, Phil swam under Frank Busch (USA Swimming's National Team Director), and during the summer long course seasons he would travel to South Florida and swim under Jack Nelson (1976 U.S. Olympic Head Coach).
While at UC Phil won several Individual Metro Conference titles, received MVP honors as well as a NCAA qualifier. He was also a 1988 Olympic Trials qualifier in the 200 Meter Backstroke and that same year was World ranked in several events, including the 200 Backstroke and 400 IM. Phil has been involved in all levels of coaching, including Head Age Group Coach, Masters Swim Coach, Team Developments and Private Instructor. Most recently he was the Aquatics Director at VillaSport.
Alexander Plaetzer, Core I/III Lead Coach
Alex began his swimming career with the Rochester Swim Club Orcas, but switched to Med City Aquatics when the program was first started. During his eight years swimming for Med-City, he helped set a multitude of relay records that still stand. He also swam five years for John Marshall High School and helped set several relay records.
Upon graduating high school, Alex moved to Wisconsin and spent five years at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. At Eau Claire, Alex swam four years under head coach Art Brandt. During his college career Alex was a sprint and butterfly specialist. During his junior year, he earned Second-Team All-WIAC honors, and was named 'Most Improved'. He was named Team Captain for his senior year.
Alex graduated with a B.A. in History in December 2012, while serving as a volunteer assistant with the team. He spent the following season coaching at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. While coaching at the collegiate level, he assisted in the development of several NCAA qualifiers. Alex then transitioned to club coaching and worked for Med-City Aquatics, coaching both senior and age group athletes. During his time with Med-City, Alex coached several age group swimmers to the Minnesota State Championships.