Coach Mike Venos just finished his 35th year of coaching, his 20th year at Rice, and his 19th season as the head of the Warrior Swimming & Diving program. In the time that he has served as the head coach, Rice has an impressive record of 171 wins, 25 losses, and 1 tie. Mike’s teams have captured six Class A / Division I State Championships, and 18 Catholic League Championships, more than any other men’s swimming coach in CHSL history. He has coached 13 individual state champions, 15 relay-team state champions, over 100 All-State swims, over 50 All-American swims, and two United States Olympic Trial qualifiers. Mike is a member of the Catholic League Hall of Fame, a seven-time recipient of both the Oakland Press and Observer-Eccentric Coach of the Year awards, has been honored twice as the Michigan Interscholastic High School Swimming Coaches Associations Zone Coach of the year, and has been named Class A/Division I Michigan Interscholastic Swimming Coach of the Year five times. Mike has also been honored twice as the Michigan High School Coaches Association Swimming Coach of the Year and in 2017, was named the National Federation of High School Coaches National Coach of the Year. Mike’s teams have finished the season ranked Top 10 nationally in 17 of his 19 seasons, and over 50 of his swimmers have gone on to compete collegiately at the Division I, II, and III levels.
While the success in the pool has been astounding, it has been equally matched by success in the classroom. The Warrior swimmers and divers have never finished out of the top 5 in the Michigan Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Associations All-Academic awards, with a 19-year grade point average of 3.65.
Coach Venos teaches senior Theology at Brother Rice. He and his wife, Angela live in Bloomfield Hills and have four children: Kelsey (Mercy High School ’08, Xavier University ’12), Drew (Rice ’09, John Carroll University ’13), Jonah (Rice ’19) and Elijah (Rice ’21).
Coach Ciesielski ’02 begins his seventh season coaching Rice after an extensive career at the high school, age-group, and collegiate levels. A productive swimmer in his youth, “Mr. C” spent his time at the Sports Club of West Bloomfield while also swimming for Brother Rice. He was an integral part of the 2000 State Championship run and a repeat All-State and All-American swimmer at Rice.
After leaving Rice, he went on to captain Eastern Michigan University, helping win three Mid-American Championships while garnering many MAC awards and honors. Upon graduating, he spent three years coaching the 12-and-under age group with the Plymouth Canton Cruisers, where he developed numerous club and state record holders and four National Top 16 swimmers. Andrew has also worked with the Novi Sturgeons and assisted at Walnut Creek Country Club.
Mr. C teaches Spanish at Brother Rice. He is also in charge of the Kairos retreat program and is the leader of our annual mission trip to Peru where he and students work alongside the Christian Brothers and their school in Lima. Andrew lives in Canton with his wife, Hilary, and their German Shepherds, Roxy and Otto.
Assistant Coach Dan Israel
Coach Israel begins his fifth season as an assistant coach at Brother Rice. Dan was an All-American swimmer for Ann Arbor Pioneer High School (1985), where he held the varsity record in the 500 free from 1985-2012 and helped Pioneer win state titles in each of his years as part of the team. After graduating, Coach Israel attended Brown University (1989). During his time at Brown, he was named All-Ivy League seven times and All-Eastern Seaboard three times. He was a two-time captain at Brown and following his senior year was awarded both the Most Valuable Swimmer award and the Smith Trophy for outstanding leadership, sportsmanship, and character. The Smith Trophy is considered the highest award that can be received by a Brown swimmer. Coach Israel served as an assistant coach at Brown University in 1990, and in 1993, graduated from the University of Michigan Law School.
Dan has represented the United States in international competition in both 1985 and 1989 and still continues to swim today, setting a YMCA National Record in 2008 (40-44 age group) in the 1,000 freestyle.
Dan and his wife Molly live in Birmingham, Michigan and have four children: Matthew (U of D ’15, University of Michigan ’19), Ryan (Rice ’17, University of Notre Dame ’21), Rose (Marian ’20) and Kate (perhaps Brother Rice Swimming’s most avid cheerleader).