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Coaching Staff

The Sparks Piranhas staff members are a professional group of individuals dedicated to providing the best, most positive experience possible for all team members.


This extremely dedicated group of individuals are an invaluable asset to our program.  Each day, the goal is to cultivate a positive environment which both challenges and empowers our athletes to not only achieve tremendous success in the pool, but also help them develop into dynamic people in the class room and community as well.


A bio and picture of each staff member is provided, as well as a link their email address should you need to get in touch with them.  If you have any general questions, please feel free to send an e-mail to Kati at

Mike Richmond

Team Owner & Head Coach

Mike Richmond took over as head coach of the Sparks Piranhas in October of 2001, yet only becoming full-time in May of 2013. He has been a member of the University of Nevada Wolf Pack Swim and Dive team since December of 1999, and became the head coach in 2008.  Before coaching at Nevada, he was a longtime head coach in various cities throughout Texas, with some of the most highly regarded teams in the state. He is well thought of as one of the nation’s foremost stroke technique coaches, and has written a manual on strength and conditioning, technique and motivation in the sport of swimming.


His athletic career highlights include all star nominations in both baseball and swimming, as well as engaging in semi-professional La Crosse. He has been blessed to have been coached by some legendary coaches, such as Olympic Gold medalist Doug Russell, who have helped mold his philosophy to this day.


The philosophy designed by coach Richmond combines an up-tempo / race pace, technique-oriented style of training in the water which engages athletes to simulate race performances on a daily basis, with a highly structured dryland program taking key concepts from the Crossfit philosophy and adapting them to the sport of swimming.  Motivation, commitment and the mental aspects of athletics are woven into a set of family values which create a culture and environment aimed at producing dynamic people, as well as elite athletes.  With a highly positive and structured philosophy, Richmond truly believes the Sparks Piranhas will be among the nation’s elite organizations.


Mike says, “I believe in creating a positive, upbeat and enthusiastic atmosphere at practices. Success is developed through a passion for the sport, and each practice session should be geared towards that goal. I believe God has blessed me with a wonderful career and life, and I am excited to see what He has in store for me at here at the Sparks Piranhas!”


Career hi-lites include:

  • was a seven-time Texas All Star coach

  • served on the Texas State Championship committee

  • served as the Committee Chairman for West Texas Swimming

  • middle distance coach and recruiting coordinator for the University of Nevada Wolf Pack Swim team from December of 1999 to 2008, before being named head coach in that same year.

  • named the WAC Coach of the Year in 2008.

  • coached numerous International and Olympic level athletes including:

    • Limin Liu, Olympic Silver medalist

    • Cathleen Rund, Olympic Bronze medalist

    • Li Bei, World Championship Silver medalist

  • coached successful swimmers at all levels from age group to high school to college including:

    • the number 1 ranked high school recruit in the nation

    • numerous conference champions

    • numerous high school and collegiate All-Americans


“Having coached all my life, literally since I was 18 years old, I’ve been blessed to experience success at all levels, from age groupers, to high school, to collegiate athletes, and even Olympians and Olympic medal winners.  God has been amazing to me, and given me more 

fantastic memories than I could ever imagine.


But for me, my motivation is not in the accolades, but in one quintessential moment when a swimmer touches the wall after a race, and they realize that all the hard work they’ve put in has all been worth it, and that huge smile jumps across their face!  For me, that’s my motivation.  Great success in the pool leads to learning positive life skills in the athletes personal lives, and I believe that’s what true coaching is all about.


Each day I get to be around great young people.  This is not a job, it’s a passion, and I can’t wait to get to work each day!  I’m proud being a Piranha coach, and I’m incredibly blessed and honored to be the team owner.


The Sparks Piranhas is not a job, it’s a destination.  I’m a Piranha for life, and I like to say to all Piranhas, past / present and future, ‘once a Piranha, always a Piranha!’



Atsuko Perkins

Tier I & Associate Head Coach

Atsuko Perkins has been with Sparks Piranhas coaching staff since September of 2008. She is originally from Yokohama, Japan. She graduated from Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama


  • Atsuko earned a Bachelor Degree in Art, majoring in English and American Literature.


Upon graduation, she taught English to students from 3 years old to adults.


“I’ve always enjoyed helping people grow and become better people, and tutoring people in English has always been very rewarding to me.  I’m still doing it today, and still find it very rewarding!”


Atsuko first began her coaching career at the U.S. Naval Station in Atsugi, Japan when her eldest son began his swimming career. She then moved to the U.S, Naval Station in Fallon, Nevada in October of 1996.


By the summer of 1997, she joined the Fallon Barracuda Swim Team coaching staff, soon assuming the head coach’s position, where both her sons were also on the swim team; her husband Robert became a stroke & turn official as well.


Atsuko coached the junior varsity volleyball team at Churchill County High School as a head coach, as well as the assistant coach for varsity team.


  • While under her coaching, the team won back to back state championships


She also coached the Churchill County High School Swim Team for 8 years. She had many talented swimmers throughout the years.  While a coach at the high school,


  • she received the Coach of the Year Award from the Nevada Interscholastic Athletics Association in both 2002 and 2004


She then joined the coaching staff at the University of Nevada Women’s Swim Team in 2008.  She spent 4 years as a member of the staff under then head coach, Mike Richmond.


“I just love coaching any level of swimmer and I get to see our young athletes improve every day. I fell in love with our head coach’s philosophy and enjoy working with all of our coaches and parents.  I am so fortunate to be on the Piranhas coaching staff with such an excellent group of people!”

Atsuko currently resides in Sparks with her husband Robert and she has two sons, Christopher and Brian, along with one grandson, Brody, and a dog named Daisy.


Team owner and head coach Mike Richmond says, “Man, Atsuko has not only been a member of coaching staffs at both the University of Nevada as well as Sparks Piranhas, but has been such a great friend for more than a decade.


She brings a passion to her daily coaching career, and likes to be a ‘CEO’ each day:  Chief Energy Officer!  She has fantastic energy, and a strong background in coaching at all levels of our sport.  She has a passion to see kids excel both in the pool and in their personal lives.  She is very loyal to the Piranhas, and every athlete, coach and parent is blessed to have her in their lives.


Atsuko is and always has been extremely eager to learn and grow as a coach, and her knowledge of our sport and our profession is truly remarkable.  She has never stopped pursuing a personal quest for excellence within our sport, and I’ve seen her career sore throughout the years.  She has always been a great resource for me in my coaching career, and has been a foundation for this program since the day she joined my staff.


I couldn’t imagine coaching without her, she’s been a huge part of my life for almost a decade, and I look forward to many more years with her as both a colleague and friend.”

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