Meet aXis

Mark Smith, Founder
Masters Swimmer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

As President of Elite Professional Swimming, Mark is the main point of contact for dealers who are interested in carrying the ylon-a Axis Elite Snorkel.
An accomplished businessman, Mark attributes his success in business and in life to the lessons he learned while growing up as a competitive swimmer. Mentored by legendary Coach David Marsh, Mark’s swimming career blossomed while he was a member of Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta Georgia. There he won countless State Championships and participated in several National Competitions including both 1988 and 1992 Olympic trials. With Georgia State records in the 100 and 200 breaststroke he was recruited by and accepted a scholarship to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in 1988.

During his four year career he was voted the youngest team Captain in school history as a sophomore. His achievements included the school record in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, 9 individual and 6 relay Metro Conference Titles, 4 NCAA All-American honors, and 4 All Conference Teams. In addition to success in the water Mark twice earned Academic All-American honors.

As a graduate of the USC Moore Business School Mark has applied the skills he learned at USC to the competitive world of high finance. After selling several companies he helped create he started his own consulting company where he assists start-ups and early stage venture backed companies in creating their business model and launching their products and services.

Mark has worked with NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady (T-Mac), The Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) along with Affliction Clothing, Boxing World Champion Winky Wright, and is a founder of a community bank in Tampa Bay Florida. Now Mark sits on the SwimMAC Medalist Club Board supporting David Marsh and Team Elite, he is also the visionary and founder of amphibious exercise for improved swimming (aXis).

After being out of swimming for several years Mark has gotten back in the water and plans to compete in US Masters.

David Marsh
Swimming Coach, CEO & Director of Coaching of SwimMac
Team Elite Carolina is fortunate to have David Marsh at the helm. He is simply one of the most successful swimming coaches in history. Prior to Team Elite, Marsh exhibited that success while serving as the head coach at Auburn University, where his teams won a record-tying 12 NCAA Swimming Championships. Marsh came to the SwimMAC Carolina program in Charlotte, North Carolina in the spring of 2007 to serve as CEO/Director of Coaching and to lead the formation of an elite squad of Olympic-caliber swimmers. Some of his most successful swimmers at Auburn, Margaret Hoelzer and Mark Gangloff, followed their coach to Charlotte and earned their way to the 2008 Olympics while training with the newly-formed Team Elite Carolina group at SwimMAC.

Over the course of his 17-year coaching career at Auburn University, Marsh was named the National Coach of the Year a total of nine times and the SEC Coach of the Year 13 times. For his outstanding work with the men’s and women’s squads, he was awarded the 2003 National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy. It was the second time in his career that he was so honored, also garnering the distinguished award in 1999. Marsh is the first to ever receive this prestigious honor more than once. His accomplishments there include numerous NCAA Team Championships: seven men’s (1997, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and five women’s (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007). It is an unprecedented achievement that four of these Men’s and Women’s NCAA Championships were earned in the same season. His teams took home a combined 1,312 All-America honors by 276 athletes, along with 45 NCAA individual titles and 30 NCAA relay crowns. Internationally, 52 Auburn athletes won medals in 90 events including 27 during the summer of 2003. While at Auburn, Marsh developed 22 Olympians who won seven medals. Under Marsh, Auburn swimmers excelled at the national and international levels of competition athletically, and most importantly, in the classroom.

According to Marsh, success in the pool is success out of the pool. In 17 seasons, 200+ swimmers were chosen to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and 45 were named Academic All-Americans. In addition, 25 combined men and women’s teams were named CSCAA Academic All-American. He believes in establishing patterns of success not only at the top levels of swimming, but also as a professional, a family member and a quality citizen. In addition to his swimmers earning places on international teams, Marsh himself has coached on numerous international squads, including serving as the assistant coach for the United States men’s team at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal, Canada. In 2003, Marsh was named the men’s coach for the 2003 World Championships held in Barcelona, Spain, as well as coach at the inaugural Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool. He helped lead the United States team to defeat the Australians in a dual meet between the world’s national power-houses. Marsh has also represented the United States as a men’s team assistant coach at the 1996 (Atlanta) and 2000 (Sydney, Australia) Olympic Games, a men’s team assistant coach at the 1995 (Fukuoka, Japan) and 1999 (Sydney, Australia) Pan-Pacific Games, and as a women’s team assistant coach at the 1994 World Championships (Rome). A seven-time USA National Team Coach, Marsh has won numerous awards himself. He was named the 2005 Walter Gilbert Award recipient by Auburn University, the highest award for a former student-athlete. In 2006 he was given the Distinguished Service Award by the United States Sports Academy.

Marsh was a five-time All-American backstroker at Auburn and the 1980 SEC backstroke champion, ranked sixth in the world at the time. After earning a degree in Business Administration in 1981, he remained at Auburn as an assistant coach. In 1985 he left to accept the head coach position of the Dynamo Swim Club in Atlanta. Three years later Marsh moved west to coach the Las Vegas Gold Swim Team. During Marsh’s tenure in Vegas, he led ten swimmers to the 1988 Olympic Trials. A native of Miami, Florida, Marsh serves on the boards of the American Swimming Coaches Association of America as well as the Championship Performance Advisory Board. He is a highly regarded speaker, having delivered addresses at both local and national events, including the ASCA national convention. He has also authored articles for publications such as Swimming Technique and has provided commentary on a series of swimming technique videos. Most recently, in 2009, he was appointed to the highly acclaimed President’s Council on Physical Fitness. Marsh is married to the former Kristin Burke who was a swimmer at California-Berkeley. She earned her Masters degree in English Education at Auburn in March of 1995. They are the proud parents of three children: Aaron, Alyssa, and Maddie.


Developed 22 Olympians, producing seven medals…Developed 52 USA National Team members winning medals in 90 competitions…Seven Men’s NCAA team titles (1997, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007)…Five Women’s NCAA team titles (1997, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007)…Nine-time NCAA National Coach of the Year…45 NCAA individual titles & 30 NCAA relay crowns…1,312 All-America honors by 276 athletes…17 SEC Team titles (13 men’s – 10 in a row, and four women’s)…45 swimmers named NCAA Academic All-Americans…2005 Walter Gilbert Award recipient…2006 United States Sports Academy, Distinguished Service Award recipient…1999 & 2003 National Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy recipient…Eight-time USA National Team Coach…Two-Time USA Olympic Team Coach

Raphael Ruiz
Strength & Conditioning Coach
Raphael Ruiz was born in Ft. Huachuca, AZ, raised as a youth in Hawaii and lived the rest of his young life in Ft.Hood, Texas where his family still resides. He played football and ran track for C.E. Ellison H.S. (Killeen) and at Sam Houston State University (Huntsville). It was there where he began his career with the initial development of the concepts and forward thinking principles for an effective, comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to Strength & Conditioning (S&C); this program was titled Fitnecessity SP. Those were the beginnings of the 1Forty-Four1 Training Systems.

Raphael relocated to Tampa in 1998 and began work as a Performance Coach at Harbor Island Athletic Club. It was during this time that he branched out and worked with the S&C staffs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Minor League Program as well as the Director of Sports Performance at the Clearwater Tennis Academy. In the next step, Raphael became the Director of S&C for the University of Tampa where he helped to build an athletic program that resulted in 5 National Championships (M-Soccer, W-Soccer, M-Baseball back-to-back & W-Volleyball) during his long tenure at UT, in addition to more than 4 dozen athletes earning All-American status and one of the lowest prevalence rates of major & catastrophic injuries in all of the NCAA. He also served as the Director of Sports Performance for the MLS Tampa Bay Mutiny for their last season before the league contracted the organization. In 1999, he developed a football program specifically tailored for the needs of offensive & defensive linemen. The Lineman School has produced and helped to expand the physical, mental & skill sets of some of the top linemen in the NFL (John Welbourn, Ed Mulitalo, Jeff Mitchell, Chidi Ahanatou). In January 2005, the Sports Performance Clinic that Raphael developed was added as a division of the Musculoskeletal Institute [Established by Florida Orthopedic Institute]. In 2009 Raphael partnered with John Welbourn to create and teach CrossFit Football, a comprehensive S&C program that is taught on the CrossFit media platform. He finished out his career at the University of Tampa in December 2009 and merged 1Forty-Four1 w/ Khanomtom-Tampa Muay Thai. That move was a major event in the history of 1Forty-Four1, as it was the catalyst for the development of two separate but intertwined tracts: 1441 Gamespeed & 1441tfr (Tactical-Fire-Rescue). 1441tfr is a training system that increases the function of the human machine resulting in a more combat effective operator, prepared law enforcement officer (LEO) and situational ready rescue personnel. ”Protecting those who protect us” has been the public mantra for 1441tfr as we’ve helped hundreds of tactical athletes including Seal Team 1′s CO Tom DeJarnette, USAF CCT Instructor Mark Lauren, USMC SpecOp Sven Hestrand & US Army Ranger Ronnie Bush. In 2010 the 3rd major foci was announced as 1441 partnered up w/ Team Elite’s David Marsh (US Olympic Swim Coach) and Alan Tyson (PT of Architect Sports) to develop and teach dry-land training systems specifically focused on the special needs of aquatic athletes involved in competitive pool, open water and combat/rescue swimmers called aXis (Amphibious eXercise for Improved Swimming). The special considerations of water bred athletes are centered around reducing injuries (especially within the Shoulder Girdle), creating more effective & efficient streamlining positions and increasing skill acquisition for swimmers. Shortly thereafter, the 4th separate but intertwined foci was organized from raphael’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge, 1441 University. Not only for the continued development of the 1Forty-Four1′s training systems, but also to help bridge the gap between academia and the professional world, between different disciplines and also for the sharing of information and energy. As the Chief Quality Officer, Raphael is driven to research, develop, design & properly implement orthopedically sound, scientifically based and performance driven “prepared & readiness” training systems.

Peter Verhoef
Swimming Coach, Assistant Coach for Team Elite
Peter serves as an assistant coach for SwimMAC’s Team Elite high performance group. Prior to joining SwimMAC, Peter has served as a volunteer coach at Georgia Tech University while working as a software consultant in Atlanta, GA. He is originally from Newport News, VA where he began competitive swimming for the Coast Guard Blue Dolphins under Steve Griffin.

Peter attended the University of Georgia, graduating Cum Laude with a BBA in Management, a BBA in Management Information Systems, and a Certificate in Leadership Advancement. He competed for the Bulldawgs from 2002 – 2006 under coach Jack Bauerle, earning 4 varsity letters and leading the men’s team to a 9th place NCAA finish as a captain. While swimming at Georgia, he earned honors as an NCAA honorable mention All-American, NCAA Academic All-American, SEC Conference Championship finalist, and recipient of the Jeff Poppell award for leadership.

Peter competed in the finals of the 100m Butterfly at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Trials, finishing 4th and 7th respectively. Peter also represented team USA as a member of the 2005 World University Games team to Izmir, Turkey, and again at the 2007 World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand where he was named men’s team captain. He has also competed in multiple US National Championship finals in addition to his two Olympic Trials appearances.

Stephanie Turner
Strength & Conditioning Coach, Director of Certifications
Stephanie was born in Philadelphia, PA but grew up in Buffalo, NY where she graduated from Clarence High School. While attending Clarence she was a three sport athlete playing volleyball, softball and basketball earning her the Female Athlete of the Year award. She played club volleyball out of Rochester, NY for VolleyFX Magic and was recruited to play D1 volleyball at East Carolina University (2006-09). While there, Stephanie started every game from her freshman year and worked her way up to team captain during the 2008-09 seasons. During the 2008 season she was named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team.

Her senior season, she led the team with 256 kills, kills per set, digs and serve receive percentage. While not on the volleyball court, Stephanie was focused on graduating with her degree in Exercise and Sports Science. During her last semester, she did an internship as a sports performance coach at the Athletes Compound located in Wesley Chapel, FL under Jason Riley. It was here where she learned to develop and implement sport specific programs for MLB, NFL combine and youth training. Following the internship, she relocated to Tampa and came across 1441 TFR and Raphael Ruiz. She has been working with the 1441 TFR team for a year concentrating on youth training, volleyball programs and all women’s programs. Outside of 1441 TFR, she was the head volleyball coach for the Academy at the Lakes varsity team.