Swim Instructors

Scott Bernitt

Scott comes to us with a versatile background, and brings to the table a wealth of knowledge and skills in organizational management.

Scott is certified in Instruction of Microsoft Operating Systems and Products, Adobe Creative Suites, CompTIA, and currently conducts training courses in these platforms at Brewster Technology, under a New York State Business School Teaching License.  He has been a web developer for more than 15 years.

An Alumni of SUNY Purchase College, Scott has a degree in Fine Arts. He has certifications from Westchester Community college in culinary arts as well. Scott broke into the Aquatics field while studying culinary at Westchester Community College, and became a lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor. He brings to our Aquatics Department a keen eye for detail, a strong sense of leadership, and a love of swimming that transcends through our department.

Joe Cave

Joseph Cave has been certified to teach American Red Cross swim lessons for the past seventeen years, and has been a member of the Club Fit Family Water Safety Instruction team for the past two years. He developed his love for swimming at an early age and to this day you can catch him in the pool swimming laps always looking for ways to improve techniques. His philosophy is “breathe and stay relaxed.” Joe is patient and reassuring to his students and enjoys working with all age groups from children to adults.

As the father of a five year old daughter, Joe has exceptional patience and empathizes with parents of children who are learning how to swim. He prides himself on having taught his own daughter to swim and for Joe, becoming a parent has enhanced his teaching skills, as it has taught him how to connect with young people. He always strives to establish relationships where his students feel safe and are therefore able to truly focus on developing their skills.

“Relax and Breathe.” - Joe Cave

Mike Simonson | Swim Instructor | Club Fit BriarcliffMike Simonson

Swimming has been a passion of Mike’s since he was very young. His love of swimming began while chasing his swim instructor in the deep end of the pool during lessons without the aid of floatation devices. From those early days of swimming, he ventured to a variety of different sports including the martial arts Tae Kwon Do, Wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but Swimming has always been his favorite, and therefore, he decided to pursue a career in aquatics. Mike trained and competed year round in both private swim teams and the Town of Cortlandt swim team. He set records for his competitive teams for butterfly and breast strokes. Once old enough, he took an interest in becoming an American Red Cross Lifeguard and has been actively lifeguarding for the last 16 years.  As an instructor he has been teaching for the last 13 years, and he began his relationship with Club Fit 10 years ago as an American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard. Mike believes that any skill can be mastered by taking the skill one small step at a time. Such training can be applied to cover long distances, and/or perform advanced strokes such as butterfly.

“Any skill can be mastered by taking the skill one small step at a time.” - Michael Simonson

Bill Mentz | Swim Instructor | Club Fit BriarcliffBill Mentz

Bill is certified a certified Lifeguard Instructor, Water Safety Instructor and also maintains a Certified Pool Operator’s License. He has been a WSI at Club Fit since 2003. Bill also served as Pool Director at Westwood Swimming Association for 24 years and Pleasantville Town Pool for two years. He credits his years working at Windmill Club in Armonk as fostering his appreciation for waterfront safety. He is a retired Clarkstown North English teacher and currently is English Department Chair at Soundview Prep in Armonk. 

"Sink or swim." - Bill Mentz

Gerald Cox | Swim Instructor | Club Fit BriarcliffGerald Cox

Gerald Cox is a 23 year veteran of the Aquatic Training industry. He has been a Water Safety Instructor for Club Fit Briarcliff since 2004. Dating back to his days working with young children at the Leeks and Watts Facility in Yonkers, New York, through his 10-year tenure working at the YMCA as an instructor, 3 years at Asphalt Green in Manhattan and having more than 10-years as a Water Safety Instructor at Club Fit, he has taught children of all levels, with quite a following and very positive reviews. A Marymount College alumni graduating at the top of his class, Mr. Cox is also a Certified Health Instructor. 


Marc Quintiliani

Growing up, Coach Marc swam competitively for 10 years as a member of the Gotham Aquatic Kings and competed in the Junior Olympics, County and in State Meets as well. He was also an avid soccer player. He is a graduate of Hackley Private High School. He was recruited out of High School for soccer to Allegheny College on a scholarship. He has received notoriety from Best of Westchester Magazine as being a “…patient and caring instructor..” in their August 2010 edition and was recently featured in an article in the Fall 2014 River Journal.

Coach Marc has been an instructor for Club Fit Briarcliff since 2010. He is currently Swim Coach Assistant and Private Swim Instructor here at the Club. Marc has a true passion for helping children and teens develop their swimming techniques. He genuinely enjoys the relationships that he establishes with his students, and it is his goal to help them excel!

John McArthurJohn McArthur - Swim Instructor at Club Fit Briarcliff

John McArthur was only 7 years old when he decided he wanted to help others to learn. His third grade teacher taught him patience and instilled in him a deep love of learning, thus driving him forward with direction throughout his young life. He got his “feet wet” with teaching as a mentor for his Christian Youth Organization when he was 13 years old and was placed in a position counseling his peers through sports. When he was 17, he had the fortunate experience of working as a kids’ sports trainer at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. It was there that he had his first experience with teaching children to swim.

John has worked for Club Fit Briarcliff since 2003, when he began college. He started out as a lifeguard. Within two years, he was offered an opportunity to become a Water Safety Instructor and he jumped at the opportunity. He was mentored by Gerald Cox, also a Club Fit WSI, and quickly became a confident and very popular instructor at Club Fit.

During his career, John completed his BA in History and Education at SUNY Purchase and also completed his MA in Education at Long Island University. In 2008, he accepted a position as Physical Education Teacher and Head Coach of Varsity Basketball at Soundview Preparatory School.

John’s philosophy of instruction is to inspire young people to learn discipline through athletics, while having fun. He is very patient and utilizes positive reinforcement to help his students develop confidence in the water.

Laura CassidyLaura Cassidy | Swim Instructor | Club Fit Briarcliff

Laura grew up celebrating the summer season by being in the water, gliding across a small backyard pool or riding the waves in the Atlantic Ocean. At age 9, Laura taught her best friend to swim.

Laura has been part of the Club Fit family since 2002 and a Water Safety Instructor for 35 years. She enjoys teaching swimming so much, that she makes time to do this alongside her other obligations. Laura is a Physical Therapist and her hobbies include swimming and water stunts, tennis, skiing and book club.  

She frequently will speak of Newton’s laws or Archimedes' principle and how they apply to movement in the water. She has taught many people how to swim and loves sharing the water experience, weither it be with an enthusiastic child or fearful adult. Laura is exceptionally patient and has a keen ability to tailor her instruction to meet her clients’ needs. Laura currently teaches the Adult Group Lessons, novice to advance levels, and is always welcoming new students! 

Jonathan Garcia - Swim Instructor at Club Fit Briarcliff

Jonathan Garcia

At the age of 7, Jonathan joined Yonkers’ Parks and Recreation Swim program. He worked his way through Level 3 and then began taking Private Swim Lessons, in addition to taking Group Swim Lessons. Once Jonathan reached Level 5, he was identified as being exceptional for his age, which propelled him forward with swimming. He participated on Ossining’s Spartans through the Ossining Parks Department, continued swimming competitively for Ossining High School and became the Co-Captain of the Swim Team. As a co-captain, Jonathan discovered his passion for mentoring developing swimmers.

Jonathan is a certified Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor and Certified USA Swim Coach at Club Fit Briarcliff. When delivering instruction, he focuses on giving everyone the opportunity to feel safe in and around the water by altering his teaching styles for each individual he is working with. Jonathan believes strongly that patience, trust and dedication are the key elements to becoming an efficient swimmer.

"You win or you learn." - Kanye West

Scott Sanger | Swim Instructor at Club Fit BriarcliffScott Sanger

Scott was introduced, as an infant, to the H2O as a swimmer. He loved it; however this love almost took his life when he was 2. Thanks to the intervention of a San Diego Lifeguard, he survived to begin swim lessons the following summer. The patience of an ARC swim instructor helped him overcome the resulting terror of swimming. At age 6, he tried out for a USS (now USAS) swim team, and was informed that he would never be a competitive swimmer.

At age 11, Scott started summer league swimming, and the following summer he won the Va. Beach City Championships in the 11-12 year old breast stroke event. A few years later, he started swimming for a USS team, and with the help of the Old Dominion Aquatics Club’s (ODAC) coach, Bill Peak, he earned a scholarship to swim for James Madison University, and then Old Dominion University.

After a few years of lifeguarding, coaching and teaching competitive swimming, Scott was married in 1994. He opted to become a stay at home parent, and of course, taught all four of his children, and some of their friends, to swim.

Scott's philosophy in regards to teaching swimming is:

  • Assist the swimmer in becoming confident in the H2O, that they may then experience the joy of swimming
  • Guide the swimmer in learning to swim underwater, along with basic surface locomotion
  • Then the swimmer can be taught to swim more efficiently, and if desired, competitively
Scott is an American Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructor as well as an ASCA Level 2 swim coach. He is passionate in his desire to teach all ages how to swim at the highest level they wish to achieve.

Maria AlleluiaMaria Alleluia | Swim Instructor | Club Fit Briarcliff

Maria is a New York State certified teacher and has her master’s degree in special education. She attained her degree from St. John’s University and has her certification in Chair Yoga from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

Maria has taught children and adults of all ages. She has also worked with early intervention programs as a therapist. She is a proud mother of two grown children. She uses aquatics and swimming as her “go to” for fitness, recreation and mindfulness. In addition to her swimming endeavors, Maria teaches yoga and uses its holistic approach to wellness. She has always been drawn to her three passions, teaching, swimming and yoga. She currently is combining the three together in water and on land.

Maria uses creativity to design individual programs to incorporate fitness for the body, mind and spirit. She is sensitive to one’s needs regardless of one’s age or challenge, and hosts a variety of designed lessons from parent-infant, through all levels of American Red Cross levels. Maria is also available to teach Adult Lessons!

Favorite Quote: "Be!" - Maria

Amy VeleAmy Vele | Swim Instructor | Club Fit Briarcliff

Amy Vele has a love for teaching and helping kids develop their swimming skills. Growing up, her parents taught her how to swim. She learned to love the water because it was about family for her. Once in High School, she joined Peekskill High School’s Competitive Swim Team. This was where she truly refined her strokes and got into serious and competitive swimming.

She began her career as a WSI at Kiwi Country Day Camp. Coming from a bilingual background, she is able to instruct students in both Spanish and English. She understands the psychology of swimming fears within children and thus embraces the opportunity to work with children who are very fearful. Currently, Amy is majoring in Journalism at Westchester Community College where her education has taught her that having the right information can change the lives of those around you.

Amy is a seasonal employee, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science at the University at Albany with a passion for teaching students to swim as well as guarding the pool and keeping patrons safe in and around the water. She’s a positive and outgoing girl who enjoys making others happy in any atmosphere!

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” - Henry Adams

Tom LocmajianTom Locmajian | Swim Instructor | Club Fit Briarcliff

“Family. Duty. Honor.”

These are the words of House Tully from the popular book and television series, A Game of Thrones. Tom Locmajian, a lifeguard and water safety instructor here at club fit, has adopted these words as his to show his own commitment to a strong, professional, and fun work ethic.

Family: Before he was the giant, bearded man Club Fit has come to know and love, he was a small boy who learned to swim with a life jacket throughout his youth on Kirk Lake in Mahopac, his family home. He learned to swim at a young age and often engaged in other activities such as boating, canoeing, snorkeling, and tubing. Tom has also made learning about water a fun and safe activity for friends, family, and newcomers alike.

Duty: Tom's work ethic has been second to none since the first day he started at Club Fit in the fall of 2015. Recently, Tom has secured a job as a special education assistant in Chappaqua and is committed to his career in education, which he believes goes hand in hand with his job as a lifeguard which he balances on a weekly basis. Since Tom is a teacher by profession, with the urging of peers and coworkers, he acquired his WSI certification in April of 2016. Tom is truly a man of many hats committed to his strong work ethic.

Honor: Tom's commitment to not only his family, but to his career and work ethic has truly made him into an honorable and valuable member of Club Fit. When Tom was 16, his guidance counselor in high school told him that due to his B and C grades, he would not be going to college. This would be a life alternating event for Tom, who thought that every child should have access to higher education. Tom would graduate college after 6 years with a master’s degree in education and a 3.87 GPA.


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