Chris Gleason, as an 8 year old, began his swimming career competing for the Newport County YMCA. He had an outstanding age group career winning numerous SENECY and RI State titles in the butterfly and freestyle events. Along the way he set many records, one of which – the Newport YMCA 100 yard butterfly record – is still held by Chris today. Chris moved to the Little Rhody Aquatic Club and competed successfully there as a 13 — 17 year old age group swimmer. In 1984, at the age of 15, he set an American Record for the 5000 meter in long distance swimming. That year, and in 1985, Chris also participated in Save the Bay Swims in 1984 and 1985. In 1984 Chris was the youngest swimmer to compete and finish the swim, finishing in 1st place. While swimming for Little Rhody, Chris also won the 500 freestyle at the Brown Interscholastic Meet representing Rogers High School. He also swam for West Virginia State University before ending his competitive career due to continued elbow injury. It was then that Chris began his coaching career which included West Virginia University, Mountaineer Aquatic Club, and Rogers High School.

As a coach Chris developed many all-state swimmers, state champions, and coached a state record holder. His teams won several division and class titles and were recipients of the John Stoyko Sportsmanship Award on two occasions. Chris was a Rhode Island Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association board member and served as the Board’s President from 2000 to 2008.