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

Coaching Staff

Galen Diaz

Head Coach, Senior Swim Coach

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Coach Galen has been involved in aquatics for most of his life, beginning as an age group swimmer and a water polo player for several local clubs. Growing up in Yorba Linda, Galen attended Esperanza High School and played water polo and swam for the Aztecs all four years. Galen attended California State University at Fullerton where he played water polo and eventually graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice.

Galen joined the Esperanza aquatics coaching staff in 1987 and worked as an assistant coach under his mentor, Doug Kimberly, for several years winning California Interscholastic Federation championships in 1992 and 1994. In 1996 Galen took over the head coaching position and continued in the tradition of excellence at Esperanza by returning to the CIF finals in 2001 and winning the title in 2003. Galen has been honored as the CIF Coach of the Year on two occasions, Orange County Coach of the Year, and several top 10 finishes in CIF Division 1 swimming.

Galen was also asked to lead and organize the SOPAC regional development camps for United States Water Polo, during his tenure at Esperanza. Many of the athletes involved in those development camps went on to play at the major college level and the Olympic Games.

Galen has been married to his beautiful wife Beth for over 20 years and is the proud father of both his daughters, Jessica and Ashley who swam and played water polo together at Long Beach City College. Galen intends to carry on his philosophy of hard work, quality character, and team work to the EAST program and is excited for the future of our program and community.

Shardad Djahangiry

Head Water Polo Coach

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Jim Montrella

Coach/Advisor

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Annette Spicer Nielsen

Gold Swim Coach

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Annette Spicer Nielsen grew up as one of the youngest of seven children in an aquatic swim/water polo family. She began swimming at the age of 4 years, where her parents Donald and Anna Spicer helped in begin the Fullerton Aquatics Swim Team (FAST). After 14 years of club swimming, becoming an All American Distance High School swimmer, winning 3 consecutive CIF titles, Annette went on to receive a full scholarship to the University of Arizona.

Upon finding out her father was ill, she came home enrolled and competed at Fullerton College from 1987-1990. While attending Fullerton College she went on to win the State Championships in the 200 and 500 free events. In 2010, Annette was inducted to the Fullerton College Sports Hall of Fame. And to this day still holds team records.

From 1989 to 2013, Annette was the Head Age Group coach of FAST. There she developed and guided many swimmers to the Jr. Olympics, Jr. National, Sr. National and Olympic Trials.

Annette believes that technique and the focus on middle distance swimming will make a swimmer well rounded, with the opportunity to perform and excel in the events they love, whether it being distance or sprint swimming. She attributes a lot of her achievements and her love of coaching to her mentor, the late Kevin Perry, FAST coach 1991-2008 (coach/mentor of Olympic 2012 Gold Medalist, Tyler Clary).

Annette's biggest supporters are her husband Kory and 2 beautiful girls Nicolette and Paige. She is so happy to be a part of the EAST family values and the philosophies in which the team stands for.

Jessica Diaz

Water Polo Director, Senior Women's Polo

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Jessica grew up on the pool deck attending all of her dad's games, watching and learning as she went.  She played water polo for EAST and swam competitively with the Eastlake EagleRAYS through 8th grade.  She played water polo and swam at the varsity level for 4 years earning the Aztec Award for her success and leadership in and out of the pool.  As a Junior, she and her sister Ashley were part of a team that made the CIF Division 1 playoffs for the first time in 6 years.  She was named Team Captain her senior year.  She then attended Long Beach City College and played for the current Women's National Coach, Chris Oeding.  She was named Team Captain again as a sophomore and was twice named to the All-Conference Team.  After she finished playing water polo at LBCC, she was brought on to coach the Esperazna High School Frosh/Soph girls water polo team and coached the team to back to back league championships in her first two years.  This year she also coached the High School boys Frosh/Soph water polo and swim teams. 

Recently she was hired on at Cypress College as an assistant coach to the Women's Water Polo team.  She will be transferring to Cal State Fullerton in the fall as a History major and is studying to be a High School teacher.

Ashley Diaz

Swim Lessons Director, Sr. Women's Polo

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Ashley has been involved with swimming and water polo since she attended her dad's CIF water polo game at 2 days old.  She grew up primarily playing Soccer while playing Water Polo and Swimming in the off-season.  When entering high school, she chose to focus on Water Polo and Swimming.  She played water polo and swam at the varsity level for 4 years at Esperanza High School earning Most Valuable Player and 1st Team all League Honors.  As a sophomore, with her sister Jessica as a Junior, they were part of a team that reached CIF Division 1 playoffs for the first time in 6 years.  She is attending Long Beach City College and was named the Team Captain and earned All-Conference and All American honors as a Redshirt Freshman in water polo last year.  This year she was brought on to coach the Esperanza High School Frosh/Soph Girls Water Polo team along-side her sister.  They successfully coached the girls to their second league championship in a row.  Ashley has been granted early acceptance to Cal State Fullerton as a Business Finance Major and will attend both Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach City College in the fall so she can play water polo one more year.

Daniel Parahnevich

Silver Swim Coach

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Brock Railey

Bronze Swim Coach

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Brock was a four-year varsity letterman swimmer at Esperanza High School. He received the award of "Swimmer of the Year" all years he attended the school. He is currently a record holder at Esperanza for the 200 Medley Relay. After high school, he continued his athletic career at Cypress College and became an All-American in four events: the 200 Medley Relay, 200 Freestyle Relay, the 400 Freestyle Relay, and the 100 Backstroke. He also holds the school record in the 100 Backstroke. During his time at Cypress, he was named the Team Captain as well.  

Kyle M Cabotaje

Junior Swim Coach

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