Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Adam Nelsen Team Head Coach, Benton Head Coach

Adam Nelsen has been involved with swimming since he was 4 years old. He began competing under the guidance of Coach Paul Blair through the LRRC Dolphins. At an early age, he demonstrated a high level of understanding of the mechanical aspects of swimming and a natural feel for the water that blossomed into a love for the sport. During his career as an Arkansas swimmer, Adam broke many state and association records in multiple individual events and relays across various age groups.

In 2014, Adam was inducted into the Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame. This was a tremendous honor that was a highlight of his swimming career in the state. He realized that so many wonderful coaches, officials, and parents had helped him during his journey. Coach Adam recognized that he owed it to the next generation to give back to the sport in the form of coaching. His long-term goals are to ensure that children gain a love of swimming that will carry them through the sport for the rest of their lives.

Adam currently is the Aquatics Director of the City of Benton in Arkansas. He is developing, organizing, and implementing creative aquatic programs that improve the swimming, physical, and mental health needs of all residents in Saline County. He brings extensive personal experience with Arkansas Swimming and education in community health, as well as dynamic interpersonal communication skills and motivational techniques.

Coach Adam is happily married to his wife, Monica. They have 6 children: Morgan, Dylan, Aubrey, Zach, Eli, and Gabe. In his spare time, he likes to perform music and spend time traveling with the family.

Highlights of his career:

  • 2014 AR Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2017 Arkansas Swimming Age Group Coach of the Year
  • 2018 Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association Professional of the Year
  • 2018 ARPA Sports Program of the Year – Benton Sharks
  • 2019 World Aquatics Health Conference Speaker
  • 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021  Arkansas Zones Team Coach
  • Head Coach for the Central Arkansas Swim Club Racers (9 locations)
  • Catholic High School Coach
  • Age Group Chair for Arkansas Swimming
  • AR Swimming Hall of Fame Banquet coordinator
  • 2019 1st Place Girls for ARSI 14 and Under Age Group Championships
  • 2020 1st Place Girls, Boys, Combined for ARSI 14 and Under Age Group Championships
Cari Karugireyo Benton Assistant Coach
Michelle Miller Fort Smith Coach
Curtis Lagrone Hot Springs Coach

Coach Curtis LaGrone graduated with his BSE in Health and Physical Education from Henderson State University in December of 2017. His path to coaching began with the South Arkansas Swim Association in 2010 until he moved to Arkadelphia where that path would continue. During his time at Henderson State, Curtis was assistant coach to the Arkadelphia High School swim team where his love for the sport would grow even more. Through Coach Megan, Curtis was introduced to Coach Adam Nelsen and the rest is history. Curtis was placed on the coaching staff of the Lakewood Waves of the Central Arkansas Swim League where he would integrate himself fully with the Racers swim team. He has coached with the Racers now since Fall 2017 at multiple levels, and the value of this team to him cannot be understated. Since his beginning with us, Curtis now coaches the Benton High School swim team as well as the Benton Sharks swim league in the Summer months. The Racers are a team like no other, and I will strive to coach to that standard of excellence each time I step onto that pool deck that we all love so much.

Katie Liddell Paragould Coach

Coach Katie began swimming when she was about 5 years old and her mom signed her and her older brother up for the local summer league, Greene County Swim Team. She instantly fell in love with the sport. She says being on the swim team was like joining a huge family; everyone always helped and cheered each other on. It was such a great experience that when her little brother came along, the family immediately put him into swim lessons when he was old enough and he was on the team in no time.

Coach Katie continues to believe swimming is a sport for the whole family and hopes that all her swim families have the same great experience. For her, it was great for everyone to be involved in one sport and watch each other participate, instead of being split up to go play different sports. She made so many friends thanks to swimming and has had the opportunity to travel to many places for meets that she otherwise would not have experienced.

Katie swam until she was 18, which included swimming on the high school team. When she finished her last year on the team, the head coach resigned. With the assistant coach moving up, Coach Katie decided to take on the new open role as assistant, and has been there for over 3 years now. 

She says swimming has been so important and vital to her life that she can honestly not imagine it without the sport. She is constantly learning new things about the kids and different coaching techniques. It really has been a great experience for her as an athlete and as a coach, giving her the opportunity to go to coaching clinics and discuss coaching tips with other experienced coaches. Coach Katie says she has found her place in life because she loves what she does and does not consider it 'work'. She thrives on watching the kids grow and dedicate themselves to swimming.

Board of Directors
Adam Nelsen Executive Board Member, President
Monica Nelsen Executive Board Member, Vice-President
Alyce Oulette Board Member
Beverly Nelson Board Member
Gina Sims Board Member