Coaching Staff
Jeff Arce Libertyville Head Coach

Jeff has been coaching with RISE Aquatic Club formerly CATS Aquatic Team since 2004.  RISE started in the summer of 2022 out of a vision between Jeff and Adam (Willowbrook RISE Site Head Coach) that we could create a big team that maintains small club values.  


Prior to RISE Jeff had been the Head Coach of the CATS Aquatic Team since 2008. Jeff spent his first four years at CATS as the Head Age Group Coach. Jeff has previously served as Head Coach of the District Unified Swim Team,


Jeff primarily works with the Titanium Group but you will see him at many other practices watching or giving feedback. 


Jeff is an ASCA Level 5 certified coach he has worked with athletes of all ages and abilities. He has spent most of his coaching career working with age group swimmers who have been Sectional Finalists, Nationally Top 16 Ranked, Age Group State Champions, Zone Champions and State Record Holders. Jeff has seen the CATS Aquatic team place as high as 3rd at the Illinois Age Group Championship.

Aside from his work with RISE, Jeff has been the Team Illinois Zone Manager and has served as a coach for many Illinois Camps and Clinics. He also served as Boys Water Polo Coach for Libertyville High School from 2004-2008.

Educated at University Wisconsin-Madison, Valparaiso University and University of Illinois-Chicago Jeff has a Bachelors’ Degree in Mathematics with an Illinois teaching certificate. Jeff swam competitively at Wisconsin and Valparaiso until a shoulder injury ended his career.

Jeff and his wife Nina, daughter Hannah, son Danny and dogs Pebbles and Gilly live in Arlington Heights! Jeff has a simple philosophy when it comes to swimming: He is committed to providing “something for everyone,” regardless of their ability or experience. He believes that teaching swimmers Life Values through competition is more important than fast times. He feels that learning the value of hard work, discipline and self-respect though sportsmanship, respect for others, will result in an overall successful person.

Vlad Pyshnenko Libertyville Head Senior Coach
Coach Vlad hails from Russia carrying his enormous wealth of swimming knowledge as an athlete and a coach.
After arriving in America a little more then 23 years ago, Vlad has worked with all different age groups. His heart and soul is swimming and he takes great pride in watching that passion develop in the swimmers.

His motivation is contagious; he will help achieve goals in a proactive and entertaining style.

Coach Vlad is a former Russian freestyler who won one gold medal (World Record) and two silver medals at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and one silver medal 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He also won two silver medals at the 1994 World Aquatics Championships in Rome.

Vlad compited at the Masters level and currently holding few US National records for 35-39 and 40-44 Age Group, plus 2 World Records (1 - in 200 Free for 35-39 Age Group and 1 - in 200 Free for 40-44 Age Group)

Since arriving in the U.S., Vlad has coached at COHO Swim Team, Glenbrook Aquatics (formerly Northbrook Spartan Swim Club), CATS Aquatic Team and RISE Aquatic Club now.
Sammy Jo Mahler Libertyville Head Age Group Coach

Sammy Jo holds a B.S. in business and marketing with a minor in theater from Carthage College. This is Sammy Jo’s 6th year coaching with RISE/CATS with a focus on the 12 and unders. Sammy coached a little bit on and off after graduating college and was happy to find a home here. She swam competitively for 13 years, retiring after college, and she still enjoys being around the water. Along with coaching here, Sammy Jo also coaches weightlifting and CrossFit in Arlington Heights and has a huge passion for the fitness industry. Outside of coaching Sammy Jo loves being active and lifting heavy things. She enjoys competing in various events and aspires to help people better their lives and reach their goals.  

Nina Arce Libertyville Lead Bronze Coach
Jacob Weber Libertyville Lead Silver Coach

ASCA   LEVEL 4 – Grew up in Mexico City, Mexico  and then in Des Plaines, IL. Swam for the Maine Township Aquatic Club, Maine East High School, and Northern Illinois University as a distance swimmer.   At NIU  earned a degree in Education (Spanish and Physical Education).


 35+ years experience coaching high school, college, & club swimming.  Coached Junior National qualifiers, dozens of swimmers and  relays ranked in the top 16 in the country, including state champions, state record holders, and zone champions.  


Lives in Deerfield with his wife Michelle, daughter Claire and dog Ringo. When not coaching loves watching his daughter swim and dance plus whitesox baseball and Bears football. 
Pat Costello Libertyville Assistant Gold Coach
Matt Ozimek Libertyville Assistant Titanium Group

Matt started coaching in 2022 with Rise Aquatic Club.  Matt has been a swimming official since 2018.  Matt will assist Coach Jeff with Titanium Group.


Matt swam and played water polo at St Patrick HS and then swam at Illinois Institute of Technology.  Matt was a 4 year national qualifier in college.  He was a 3 time national qualifier in 100 Backstroke, one year in 200 Backstroke and 4 year qualifier in Medley relays.  He became an All American in 1994 for a 7th place finish in the 200 Medley Relay. 


Matt has a BS degree in Business, specializing in Finance.  He has an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.  He currently run his own business with his oldest son. 


Matt resides in Libertyville with his wife Cyndi and sons Jonathan and Nicholas.  Nicholas is currently in Platinum group.  Matt enjoys camping and being outdoors.  You will most likely find him outside by the fire pit enjoying a fire (inside by fireplace in winter).  

Jeff Arce Head Coach/President/CEO/Owner
Jennifer Williams Secretary
Vlad Pyshnenko Vice President