Raleigh Team


John Manison


  • Former USA Team Swimmer

  • First Aid/AED/CPR Certified

  • Lifeguard Certified

  • Level 3 Coaching School

  • Learn To Swim Certified Trainer

John Manison’s swimming addiction started when he played in the Ohio River at six months old. Growing up on Lake Erie, his love for the water grew and so did his lung capacity with swimming all summer long for many summers. Through his early teens, John competed in Triathlons excelling in the swimming portion and received several medals. When John was sixteen years old, he was struck with a rare disease, which permanently damaged his spinal cord and put him in a wheelchair. While still in the wheelchair, he decided to give competitive swimming a shot in High School. As John worked diligently to get out of his wheelchair, he also worked diligently on his swimming, advancing to the district level his senior year (without the use of his legs). John went on to compete at the USA level in disabled competitions where he was seeded first in the 1500 Freestyle, third in the 50 Breast Stroke, and sixth in the 50 Freestyle. He swam on the college level and served as the Head Swim Coach at Sierra Canyon. He is a USA Certified swimming Coach and continues to embrace and pass on his knowledge to young swimmers.


Coach John is ABSOLUTELY the BEST swim instructor. I cannot believe that in just a few short weeks my almost 3-year-old went from having zero swim experience to actually swimming! John has such patience to work through screaming cries and whining for Mommy. Nothing takes him off his main focus – teaching my kiddo how to swim safely. Not only is he a fantastic coach, but he also has fun songs to sing for each new technique. Warning: they WILL get stuck in your head. But my little one loves to come home and play swim lessons with her dolls, which only helps reinforce the lessons from John and its fun. Who could ask for more?! Highly recommend him.

Geraldine Belafsky


Kayla Ward

Senior Instructor

  • Former Competitive Swimmer,

  • First Aid/AED/CPR Certified

  • Lifeguard Certified

Kayla was born in the desert of Las Vegas, NV but had a natural attraction to the water. She began swimming in high school where she competed for 4 years then continued on to swim for personal enjoyment. She’s found a new love for swimming by becoming an instructor and enjoys passing on her knowledge to new beginners.​


Kayla serves all of Wake County


Really happy we found Sailfish. John and his life story is a true inspiration. Kayla is amazing with kids of all ages and skill levels. My 5-year-old can't wait to go to the pool! . Thank you guys for being responsive, responsible, and overall a great team!!!