United is fortunate to have this high calibre coaching team. Our coaches are highly skilled and professional, personable and commited to supporting our swimmers achieve their full potential in a safe and fun team enviroment.
Igor is United’s Head Coach and has overall responsibility for the delivery of the club’s coaching programme. His philosophy is to drive the club's success by developing both individual performance and creating a positive team environment. Igor’s approach is based on excellent technique and skills, good discipline, smart training and the enjoyment that comes with being part of the successful United team. Igor coaches the Senior squad.
With his wife Larissa, Igor established the Waterlions Swim School and is experienced coaching the full swimming pathway from the Learn-to-Swim stage right through to the high performance level. In addition to being an excellent and experienced coach, Igor achieved the ultimate level in swimming with his keys achievements including: 1988 Seoul Olympic Games (Gold 200m backstroke, Bronze 100m backstroke, 4x 100m Medley Relay) 1986 World Championships (World Champion 100m, 200m backstroke, Bronze 4x100m Medley Relay) Five World Records in 100m and 200m backstroke 1987 European Championships (Silver 200m backstroke) 1986 Goodwill games (Gold 100, 200m backstroke) 1985 European Championships Gold 100, 200m backstroke).
Larissa coaches the Gold squad and has overall responsibility for United’s development and junior programmes. Her philosophy is to encourage and nurture interest in swimming from the early stages of development and junior swimming as the basis for progressing into advanced competitive swimming. She believes it is important to create a safe, positive and structured team environment with clear leadership and direction. Within this framework, the focus is on ensuring swimmers enjoy the process, build discipline and continually improve their skills and technique as this will best prepare them for the challenges that lay ahead, both as individuals and competitors.
Larissa also reached world class level as a competitive swimmer and her key swimming achievements include: 1983 Russian Nationals Bronze (200m breaststroke) 1984 International Competition (multiple medalist in breaststroke events) 1985 All world Student Games (Gold 200m breaststroke, Silver 100m breaststroke) 1985 European Championships (200m breastroke, 5th) 1986 Champion of USSR and Canada Multiple USSR titles and medals in breaststroke events
Khaled coaches the Silver and Multi-sports squads. He joined the United team in 2013 after coaching with Coast Swim Club and Sports Waikato. Khaled moved to New Zealand in 2001 and started a Civil Engineering career before moving into competitive swim coaching.
Khaled also had a distinguished competitive swimming career including swimming as part of the Egyptian national team for 7 years. He was ranked 1st in Egypt for 3 years and in the top 2 for 5 years. He swam as a professional marathon swimmer from 1996 to 1999 and represented Egypt in the World Cup series in these years. He was 3rd in the Lac St Jean World Cup final in 1998 and was ranked in the top 8open water professional swimmers 1997, 1998, and 1999.
Jen has responsibility for coaching the Bronze squad. Jen grew up in a competitive swimming environment in Hong Kong, where her main stroke was breaststroke. She has previously coached young swimmers in Hong Kong, Florida and New Zealand, including working with Larissa at Water Lions. Jen is particularly interested in coaching young competitive age group swimmers (8-12 years old) and enjoys their energy, curiosity, and competitiveness. She likes to challenge her swimmers everyday - not just physically but also mentally; helping them see that hard work never goes unrewarded and the importance of working on the little things and the key skills such as turns, underwater work, and starts. Most importantly, she wants her swimmers be proud of their achievements and have fun during training.
Outside of coaching, Jen is a nurse with paediatrics training. She also speaks Cantonese, Mandarin and Spanish.