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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.

For all questions related to administrative, such as dues, safety, or policy issues, please contact the board members.

Coaching Staff

Stephen J Pickell

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Head Coach of Socal Aquatics

Head Coach of Senior Group

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 Buttterfly in 1977.  Seven time All-American, NCAA Champion and Team Captain at the University of Southern California.

Began coaching swimming at USC in 1981 while going to graduate school.  For the last 12 years he has been coaching swimming and water polo at Foothill High School.   Current coach member of USA Swimming and is a ASCA Level 2 Coach. 

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

Simon Harling

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Coach of the Senior 2 Group

Meet Coach Simon Harling. Our new Assistance Senior Group Coach. Simon is an enthusiastic Exercise and Sports

Science graduate from Concordia University Irvine. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Coaching and Athletic Administration at Concordia. We are thrilled he has joined our Socal family. Please give Simon a warm Socal welcome when you see him on deck!

John Wright

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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, two swim for SOCAL, Makenna, Jack and Bobby.

 

Vickie Oland

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Head Coach Developmental Program & 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 now plays baseball in the minor leagues for the San Diego Padres. Kevin is a graduate of Redlands University where he majored in Asian studies and Government. Amber is a graduate of Stanford University and playing water polo. 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’s favorite hobby is reading and keeping up with the busy lives of her children.

 

Brandon Zwirner

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Assistant Coach of the Black Group

Brandon was born in Southern CA and at an early age moved with his family to the Philippines

where he lived for the next 6 years. He started playing for Socal water polo in 2001 and fell in love with competitive water polo and swimming which he continued to do at Foothill. At Foothill he was coached by Vickie Oland and by Steve Pickell for water. His conditioning was influential to his success as a swimmer and winning  League Meet Swimmer of the Year later on. Brandon continued to play water polo and swim throughout his high school career making it to the CIF finals division 1 championship his senior year.Brandon graduated with a degree in Anthropology in 2009 from UCSB; after which he

taught English in Thailand for about a year and a half. Brandon has been involved in teaching kids about swimming and  water polo since 14 when he spent his summers as a swim instructor at Foothill. He enjoys surfing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and likes to pretend he can still swim at Masters Polo.

Ben Dowswell

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Coach of the Pre-Senior Group & Head Coach of the Masters

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!

Shayla Wilcox

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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.

Alex Farraro

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Coach of the Barracudas Group

Pristine S Moran

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Coach of the Minnows Group

Pristine 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 now pursuing a teaching credential, in hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher. While off the pool deck, she likes to go to the beach and spend time with her friends and family.

Mykaela R Garcia

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Assistant Coach of the Minnows Group

Laurie Yorba

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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 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.
 

 

Board of Directors

Randi Mackowiak

Secretary

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Rick Oland

Treasurer

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Robert Vaglienty

President

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Ruth Wang

Ways and Means

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Sara Hungerford

Communication/Advertising

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Shannon Valenti

Meet Manager

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Tom Slayton

Vice President

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