Crystee Ballard, Head Coach
Crystee Ballard has been involved in competitive swimming and coaching for more than 20 years. Crystee has achieved recognition as a Level III ASCA certified coach. She has coached swimmers that have qualified for YMCA Nationals, USA Junior Nationals, USA Nationals, and USA Olympic Trials.
Crystee is a SPY Alumnus and went on to swim for Towson State University. She spent one year working with the University of Maryland Swim Team while working on her master’s degree. She has also spent three summers at the University of Michigan working with their swim camps. When Crystee is not coaching she enjoys running and spending time with her husband Nat and daughters Carlee, Ellie and Riley. Crystee has been coaching at SPY for more than a decade, has been Head Coach since 2005.
Richard Heim, Assistant Coach
Richard has been involved in competitive swimming for 20 years as both a swimmer and as a coach. Richard swam on SPY for 9 years until 2001 and has been coaching since 2002. He is currently certified as a Level III ASCA coach.
Since 2006 he has been the head coach for Oakleigh Forest in the summer and has led them to 4 East Severna Park League Championships over the past 10 years. He has also previously coached for Evergreen and Shipley's Choice during the summer. Richard is a graduate from the University of Virginia with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and works in Baltimore as an engineer, where he recently received his Professional Engineers License. This is Richard's 11th year coaching at SPY.
Melissa Albers, Assistant Coach
Melissa has been coaching in Maryland since 2005. She coached Masters Swimming at SPRC in 2005 and their age group team from 2006 to 2011. From 2011 to 2014 she was an assistant coach at CATY in Catonsville, Md. She is very excited for the opportunity to join the SPY Coaching Staff! Melissa is ASCA level 2 certified, an NFHS (National Federation of High School Swimming) Meet Referee/Starter and is a summer Official for CMSL (Central Md Swim League) as well as serving on the CMSL Board since 2007 to present as their Officials Liaison. Melissa has lived in Severna Park with her husband and 3 children since 1997. Active community members and volunteers, they share a lifelong love for swimming, tennis and diving!
Gayle has been involved with swimming in some aspect for as long as she can remember: swimming with summer swim and Master’s teams, training for triathlon competitions, coaching Master’s teams and triathlon clinics and has coached the Severn School boy’s high school team the last seven years. While her two children were swimming on the SPY team for many years, she could be found on deck officiating. Gayle is certified as a Level II ASCA coach and is certified in Pilates Core Mat I and II..
A California native, Gayle’s Air Force service brought her to the East coast where she met and married her husband John, and they have lived in Severna Park for 25 years. Their daughter Allie just graduated from the College of Charleston, and son Jack attends and swims at Cornell University.
Melanie Hopkins, Assistant Coach
Melanie has been involved in swimming for over 16 years. She swam for SPY for 12 years until she graduated in 2007. She has been a summer swim coach since 2008 and was involved with the University of Maryland Club Swim Team. At the University of Maryland, Melanie studied Community Health and is pursuing a master's degree in nursing. Melanie also holds certifications from American Red Cross in Lifeguarding and CPR. This is Melanie's second year as a SPY coach.
Ken Keer, Assistant Coach
Coach Ken is an ASCA Level III certified coach and has been coaching age group swimming for more than 20 years. The majority of his coaching career has been spent coaching 12&Under swimmers. Over the years, he has coached National Top 16 qualifiers, Sectional Qualifiers, State Champions, and Maryland Zone Team Qualifiers.
Emily was a SPY swimmer for 10 years before moving on to swim at the University of Virginia. As a SPY swimmer, she participated in many National-level meets from YMCA Nationals to USA Senior Nationals as well as Olympic Trials in 2008. She was a YMCA National Champion 14 times in her SPY career and was a team captain her senior year. At UVa, Emily was a 6-time All-American and a 6-time ACC Champion. She holds the second-fastest time in Virginia history in the 100 free and was also a team captain her fourth year. Emily spent the last year coaching swimming in New Hampshire and is now working at HopeWorks in Columbia serving victims of sexual and domestic violence when she isn't coaching SPY.
Charlie Schindler, Assistant Coach
Charlie has been involved in swimming for 20 years. He swam for SPY for 12 years until he graduated in 2008, when he went on to swim for Widener University. Charlie graduated from Widener in 2012 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has coached several summer swim teams since 2008 and also has collegiate coaching experience as a Cross Country and Track and Field coach. Charlie holds certification from American Red Cross in Lifeguarding and CPR. This is Charlie’s second year as a SPY coach.