Like previous years, Ronald Vaughan is coaching swimming morning, noon and night. This year, however, his coaching venues have changed.
Vaughan, a Middletown native, who previously coached at Xavier, Mercy and Wesleyan University, is now guiding athletes at Ridgefield Aquatic Club and Ridgefield High School.
After leading Xavier to the SCC swimming championship last season, Vaughan has joined the FCIAC coaching ranks, where he will soon begin his first season at the helm at Ridgefield.
Vaughan, a 2012 Middletown High School graduate, who swam at York College, was hired as head coach of the Ridgefield boys team — a position Emmanuel Lanzo held for five successful seasons. Lanzo, who also formerly coached the girls swim team at Ridgefield, is the head coach, senior national head coach and CEO of Ridgefield Aquatic Club, where Vaughan heads one of the club’s age group teams.
Vaughan also served as an assistant coach of Ridgefield’s girls swim squad this fall. Paul Marchese replaced Lanzo, who has focused his time on running Ridgefield Aquatic Club.
During his three seasons at Xavier, the Falcons won the SCC title in its 2019-2020 campaign, while making their mark in the Class L and State Open championships. He was also at the helm of Mercy’s girls team from 2017-2019.
“I want to thank everyone I worked with at Mercy and Xavier for giving me the platform for figuring it out and seeing what works,” said the 26-year-old Vaughan, who also served as an assistant men’s and women’s coach at Wesleyan for two years. We had talented swimmers and they bought into the culture that I set forth. I am very grateful for everything I was able to do at Xavier, Wesleyan and Mercy.”
Meanwhile, Xavier recently hired Nolan Silbernagel as its new swimming and diving coach.
Silbernagel, who swam for Fordham University, comes to Xavier after spending three years coaching at Gill St. Bernard’s School in New Jersey.
“It is an incredible honor,” Silbernagel said in a recent press release issued by Xavier “To take over such an elite program like Xavier, it is a huge step up and I’m thrilled to lead the team. It is a thrill to be part of Xavier.”
Vaughan whose 2019-2020 Xavier squad went undefeated during the dual meet season, before winning the SCC title, takes over a talented Ridgefied boys squad.
“Our team is pretty much returning everyone from last season,” Vaughan said. “We have a very talented and experienced senior class this year. I have my fingers crossed that they have the opportunity to compete in championship meet of some form during the upcoming season.”
Born and raised in Middletown, Vaughan moved from his home town to Bethel, after being hired to coach at Ridgefield Aquatic Club. He still keeps the same long coaching hours.
“Actually now instead of coaching five hours a day, I coach eight hours a day,” he said. “Early mornings, late nights, long weekends — we’re at the pool at the crack of dawn.”
Vaughan embraces the long coaching hours and is especially excited to experience the competition the FCIAC offers when he begins his tenure at Ridgefield.
“I am looking to bring over my culture — the way I like to establish a program to Ridgefield,” Vaughan said. “Culture breeds talent and I know there’s a lot of talent in this area already. I want to bring over some of my idealogies and team building and through that process, establish a family. I am interested in building a community within the team here.”
It’s going to be an honor to coach in the FCIAC, which has great teams like Greenwich and coaches like Terry Lowe,” (Greenwich’s coach).
Marchese enjoyed coaching the Tigers’ girls squad with Vaughan as an assistant on his staff. The roles will be reversed in the winter, as Vaughan will head Ridgefield’s boys team, wih Marchese working as an assistant.
“Ronnie has a lot of knowledge of the sport and a lot of passion for the sport,” said Marchese, who will serve as “He makes it known that he wants to be a leader and he did good things at Xavier and Wesleyan and I am sure he is going to do good things with the Ridgefield boys team. We were a good coaching tandem this year with the girls team and we are looking forward to the boys season.”