Coach Shields started swimming competitively for his father's Victor teams at the age of 6, started diving competitively at the age of 13 and playing water polo at 14. He was the Finger Lakes League Champion in 1m diving his Junior year of high school and was the 100 Free Champion his Senior year. His Victor High School teams went undefeated in the Finger Lakes all four years of high school, which lead to:
- 4 Finger Lakes League Titles
- 2 Section V Championship
Shields participated in Junior College Nationals 2 years straight for Monroe Community college under Steve Lochte, and swam at Nazareth College for the final two years of his NCAA career.
He also started water polo at the age of 14 with New York Empire State Games. He was frustrated for 8 consecutive years with his teams never winning a medal. This all changed in years 9 and 10 as he took over the coaching Empire State coaching reigns. As player/coach, Shields lead his teams to silver and bronze medals during these years.
Shields started coaching for the Victor swim club in college and worked with them for 10 years. Once graduated from Nazareth, he coached diving for the Canandaigua Academy women's team and then moved on to take a position at William Smith College as the Head Diving / Assistant Head Swimming Coach for 4 years. While here, he coached the dives to numerous top 10 finishes in the Empire Eight Conference and helped develop 2 national competitors while at William Smith.
In 2002 he accepted the position to be the Head Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Coach at Rochester Institute of Technology (Empire 8 Conference) after long time coach Gary Mauks retired. His success again followed him here as the Tigers had a highly successful season with a highlight win over Division 2 rival Lemoyne. Shields also had one of his swimmers qualify for Division III Nationals during his first year as coach at R.I.T.