Head Coach & Club Founder: Danny Palma
Coach Danny Palma entered the coaching field in 2006 as an assistant swim coach at the Buckhead YMCA. He ascended to Head Coach for the YMCA Barracudas in the first year where he spearheaded new programming such as Intro to Swim Team, the inclusion of dryland fitness training, and the Buckhead Y’s entry into USA Swimming. Coach Danny also served as the Aquatics Director at the Chastain Park Pool and the Head Coach the Garden Hills pool prior to starting Buckhead Aquatics is 2013.
Throughout his years as both an athlete & coach, Coach Danny developed the vision of what a swim team COULD be. The combination of Coach Danny’s meticulous focus on technique, speed, endurance training, proper nutrition, and personal attention is what makes this program so special. Coach Danny's #1 goal is to make sure each of his swimmers has a full understanding of each stroke and has a whole lot of fun while they learn!
The founding of Buckhead Aquatics is a dream-come-true for Coach Danny.
Head Coach-Westminster Location: Bates Jones
Coach Bates started swimming at the age of 5 on the PDC summer league team. He continued on that team through the age of 14 which was the max age for the team. He also swam on the Chastain summer league team from ages 13-18, and was a coach for most of these years. Coach Bates also participated in middle school swimming all 3 years at St. Francis Middle School and then 4 years at Holy Innocence High School. At the age of 11 started swimming at the Carl Sanders YMCA where he was coached by Coach Danny, meeting him for the first time and continued through the age of 15. At the age of 12 started swimming year round at Swim Atlanta, regretfully a few years before Buckhead Aquatics had come into existence. He continued swimming there through the age of 19, having taken a gap year after graduating from high school.
He then went to Berry College, where he swam for 1 year before finally hanging up the goggles at 20. He continued on to get his degree from Berry in exercise science and is now coaching here at Buckhead Aquatics under his old coach from the YMCA, Danny. Some notable accomplishments in swimming are qualifying for state in the 100 breast, 200 breast, 50 free, 200 IM, and 100 back, setting the record for the 100 breast for Holy Innocence High School, qualifying for sectionals in the 100 breast, and placing 7th in the state in the 100 breast in the 2013 high school state championships with a time of 59.81.
Coach Claire started swimming at the age of 6 on a summer league team in Knoxville, Tennessee and continued on that team through the age of 18. She also swam on her high school varsity swim team and year round at Tennessee Aquatics through all her years of high school. She continued swimming in college on the Vols Swim Club at the University of Tennessee and was President of the swim club for three years. She started her coaching career in college where she coached age group swimmers at Tennessee Aquatics and the summer league swim team at Holston Hills Country Club. She received her BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Tennessee and then moved to Atlanta (yay!) to pursue an MPH in Epidemiology at Emory University. She defines herself as a freestyle distance and butterfly swimmer, has been with Buckhead Aquatics since December 2020, and loves being a swim coach!
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