Coaches & Directors

We are here to support your needs. If your questions are related to workouts, meets, events, goal setting, and other swimming related needs, please contact one of the coaches listed below.


Coaching Staff

Stephen J Pickell


Head Coach of SOCAL Aquatics

Coach of Senior 1 Group

Steve was a two time Olympian (1976 / 1980)  and won a Silver Medal For Canada in the 400 Medley Relay in the 1976 Olympics.  Set two world records in the 100 SCM Backstroke and 100 SCM Butterfly in 1977.  Seven time All-American, NCAA Champion and Team Captain at the University of Southern California.

Started coaching as an assistant to Hall of Fame Coach, Peter Daland, well attending graduate school at the University of Southern California.  From 1999 to 2015 coached swimming and water polo at Foothill HS.  In 2015 he became the Head Swim Coach at Tustin High School.   Current coach member of USA Swimming and is a ASCA Level 4 Coach. Selected as a National Junior Team Coach 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.

When not coaching Steve is managing the family insurance business, fishing, playing basketball and spending time with his wife, Shelley and his four sons, Blake, Nick, Paul and Cooper.

John Wright


Coach of the Senior 3 Group

John has coached water polo and swim since 1983.  He has been the Head Coach in swimming at Marina High School (1993 CIF D1 Champs), Golden West Swim Club, Golden West College (4 state titles), Santa Ana College (5th in state), SOCAL Aquatics, (since 2009), in addition to running the aquatics program for the city of Seal Beach for several years. He  has been the Head Coach for water polo at Marina High School (2005 boys runner up, 2005 girls Champs), Golden West Water Polo Club (3 JO and 1 x 20U Championship), SOCAL WPC, Irvine WPC, Golden West College (5 State Champs), Santa Ana College (5th in State).  In addition, was a coach with the USA Women’s National Team for 5 years and the Head Coach of the Women’s USA National Jr Team that won the World Championship in Perth Australia in 2001.  He referees water polo at the collegiate level and occasionally at the club and high school level.  His wife Lisa teaches 5th grade and have three kids Makenna, Jack and Bobby.  All kids swims for SOCAL.


Sean Mulville


Assistant Coach of the Senior 3 Group

Sean was born and raised in Laguna Beach, CA. Most would agree he was born with gills instead of lungs. He attended Laguna Beach High School where he was in Varsity Cross Country and Swimming, graduating in 2010. During high school, Sean swam for Nova under Coach Trevor’s directive and worked for the City of Laguna Beach as a lifeguard.
After high school, Sean attended Orange Coast College where he studied and swam for 2 years. Currently, he attends Saddleback College where he is pursuing a degree in business. In his free time, Sean enjoys watching or playing basketball and working out.


Nick Pickell


Senior Group Assistant Coach

Ben Dowswell


Head Coach of the Masters & Pre-Senior 1 Group 


Ben was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  A recent graduate of Minnesota State University where he swam varsity and earned a BSc in Exercise Physiology.  Swam competitively for 14 years.  Ben is the current MSU record holder in the 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 200 butterfly.  Also a ten time NCAA II All-American and a two-time NCAA II medalist in 100 fly and 100 backstroke.  Competed in the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle at the 2008 Candian Olympic Trials, placing 23rd in the 100 butterfly.

Began coaching in 2004 and has coached with the BCSSA  (British Columbia Summer Swimming Association) for 7 seasons.  Current ASCA Level II coaching certifiication.

When not coaching, Ben enjoys riding his motorcycle, exploring new places, camping, surfing, mountain biking, and enjoying the Southern California sun!

Vickie Oland



Head Coach Developmental Program & Coach of the Black Group

Coach Vickie was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. She graduated from Santa Ana High School in 1974 after playing varsity tennis and swimming varsity all four years. She then continued her swimming endeavors at Saddleback Junior College for two years earning the job of Team Captain her second year. She placed in finals at the State Championships both years. Vickie earned her AA degree in Psychology in 1977 from Saddleback College. After twenty years of working and raising her three children Vickie returned to college at Cal State Fullerton and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in psychology in 2000.

Most of Vickie’s work experience has revolved around children. She worked at Blue Buoy swim school for four summers during college. She coached age group swimming at SOCAL Aquatics, her club team, from 1975 until 2002. She coached two national record holders and numerous National top 16 swimmers and Junior Olympic champions. She has coach the Foothill Girl’s Varsity swim team for three years. Currently she works at Aqua Wave swim school in Foothill Ranch. Vickie is a coach member of United States Swimming and an ASCA level 3 professional Coach.

All three of Vickie’s children swam for SOCAL and attended Foothill High School participating in the aquatics programs. Bryan is finishing his CPA training, Kevin is a manager of sourcing for PetCo and Amber is an OT for Rehab Alliance. Vickie’s husband Rick is Vice President of Finance at Smith and Noble in Corona, Ca. and is very involved in youth sports in Tustin. Vickie and Rick were recently made Grandparents when Kevin and his wife had a baby boy.

Vickie’s favorite hobby is reading and keeping up with the busy lives of her children.


Luis Herbozo


Assistant Coach of the Black Group

Luis is originally from Peru where his love of swimming began at the early age of 4.  Eventually he made his way to California with his family and graduated from Tustin High School in 2014 where he played varsity water polo (Empire League Champions of 2011) as well as swimming. His specialty was freestyle where he qualified for CIF in his sophomore, junior and senior years. He also had some pretty impressive swims at THS in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 50 butterfly coming within seconds from THS alumni and olympian, Michael Cavic.


Luis also brings with him private lifeguarding experience before joining SOCAL.  He currently has a full schedule. Apart from coaching at SOCAL, he attends Orange Coast College where he is also part of the swim team. He plans on transferring to either SFSU or CSULB and majoring in Kinesiology.


Some of Luis’ hobbies include long distance road biking, ocean swimming, playing guitar, hiking, collecting vinyl records and music appreciation.

Shayla Wilcox


Coach of the Pre-Senior 2 Group

Shayla started off with swimming lesson at foothill high school from 1996-2000. Then  swam for Socal for two years where she went into water polo for another 3 years. In high school where she swam Varsity for  the first two years at Orange Luther High School. For the next 6 years she taught swimming lesson for the Tustin Unified School District at Beckman High School,  which  lead her to SOCAL Aquatics and a high school swim coach position. When she's not coaching she likes to read and go hiking.

Mykaela Garcia


Assistant Coach of the Pre-Senior 2 Group
Mykaela was born and raised in Tustin, CA. Her love of all things aquatic started with swimming and surfing at the beach. At the young age of 5, she joined her neighborhood swim team, The Tustin Dolphins. She competed with them until she was 12. On the ?rst day of middle school she joined SOCAL Aquatics were she was happy to be on deck everyday! Mykaela attended Foothill High School were she was able to swim under Coach Steve Pickell’s directive (SOCALs Yours Truly) and graduated in 2014. Her favorite events were the 200 IM, 200 Breast and the 100 Breast.
She currently attends Santiago Canyon College and plans to transfer to CSULB where she will major in nursing and sociology.  In her free time, she likes to eat (nom nom), hang out with friends and her beloved dog Piper, go to the movies, clothes shopping, always up for a concert or music festival, and she still loves the beach!

Graeme Flynn


Coach of the Barracudas Group

Alex Farraro


Assistant Coach of the Barracudas Group

Alex was born and raised in Irvine, CA. She began her love of sports with playing softball when she was 5 years old. She was a pitcher, catcher and did left ?eld all before retiring at age 12.  Alex graduated from Northwood High School in 2006 where she swam and played varsity water polo. After that she played water polo for Coach John Wright & Gabriel Martinez at Santa Ana College where she received her AA degree. During her time at SAC, she was voted All Conference Athlete and her team was ranked in the top 10. After that she kept her studies going with a water polo and swim scholarship at Vanguard University of Southern California where she graduated with a degree in Kinesiology and also studied sports training. Alex aspires to one day coach water polo at the collegiate level. 
Her professional background includes lifeguarding at Disneyland, head swim instructor at Waterworks Aquatics from 2008-2010, coach of the 12u girls SOCAL water polo team since 2011 where she was able to help capture 2 national titles for the team, and last but not least she is also the assistant Varsity coach for THS girls water polo team from 2014-present. She has been coaching the Barracuda (9-10y/0) group since 2010. 
Some of Alex’s hobbies include WINNING, surfing, and volunteering at the animal shelter.


Pristine S Moran


Coach of the Minnows Group

Pristine was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. Upon moving to the US in 2002, she started swimming for SOCAL in 2003 until graduating from Beckman High School in 2010. Her coaching began at a young age of 15 when she helped coach the pre-competitive group during the summer of 2008. She has been teaching swim lessons at Beckman through the Tustin Unified School District since her sophomore year of high school and was promoted as the program's head lifeguard in 2012. She also swam on Beckman's Varsity swim team for four years (2006-2010) and was the team captain during her senior year. Pristine graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing a teaching credential to become an elementary school teacher. While off the pool deck, she loves to bake, run, and go to the beach. 

Laurie Yorba


Coach of the Sea Turtles Group

Laurie has been at this aquatic gig for most of her life. She began assisting with the Red Cross- Learn to Swim Program at the age of 12.   She was a competitive age group swimmer from 11-16 yrs old.  Became a life guard and head swim coach of that same team at the age of 18.  They won the City of Phoenix Championship her 2nd year coaching.  She moved to Orange County and began teaching swimming at Blue Buoy Swim School and continued for close to 20 years.  She has also trained swim instructors at the Australia swim school and spent some time at Aqua Wave Swim School.  Her coaching experience:  Irvine Aquatics (before they mirged with Novas), head coach of Tustin Meadows Dolphins, Los Caballeros 8 & under coach, ORCA, La Quinta High, Mater Dei, and Villa Park.
She is also a  Special Ed Teacher for an elementary school in Fountain Valley.  She likes to spend her free time SCUBA diving or doing yoga or spending time with her son, Jeremy.