All Aquazot Swim Club coaches are USA Swimming certified with extensive backgrounds in athletic education. They are specially trained to develop each swimmer's aquatic skills at the rate appropriate for each individual.

Coaching Staff

Brian L Pajer

Head Coach - Azot 3 Irvine


Azot 3 group

Brian Pajer founded the Aquazot Swim Club in 1999.  In the first year, Brian’s leadership and coaching led the Aquazot team to win the SCS Junior Olympic Championships and placed among the elite teams at the US Nationals. Over the past 19 years, Brian has coached Aquazot swimmers who have represented the USA at the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan Pacific Championships, & Pan American Games.  Aquazot has been named a USA Swimming 'Gold Medal Club' 5 out of the last 7 years.

Coaching Accomplishments:

·   2x U.S. Open Women’s Club Champions 

·   2x USA Swimming State Club Champions

·   5x USA Swimming Gold Medal Team Recognition

·   6x USA Swimming Sectional State Club Champions 

·   Three USA National Championship Individual Event Champions

·   2009 World University Games – One athlete

·   2009 USA World Championship Team – One athlete

·   2007 Pan American Games – Two athletes

·   2004 Olympic Games – Two athletes

·   2003-2009 Head Coach of the UC Irvine Men and Women’s Swim Team

·   2005 & 2007 Big West Conference- Coach of the year

·   2007 Big West Conference - Men’s Champions

·   2005 Big West Conference - Women’s Champions


Todd J Hickman

Coach - Senior 4 Irvine


Todd Hickman started competitive swimming at the age of 5. He was a well rounded swimmer holding records in Orange County in fly, free, and IM’s. At age 14 he broke the National Record in the 500 free and was first in the nation that year in 9 events. He won CIF in the 200 IM his senior year and was first in the nation in High School. He received a full ride scholarship to the University of Arizona and was an NCAA All American in 1987. After college he competed in his 3rd and final Olympic Trials in 1992 and was 9th in the 200 IM.

Since then, he was the athlete rep for Southern California Swimming for the National Convention; where he held positions in the Club Development Committee, Time Standards Committee, Officials Committee, and Athlete Accountant. 

Coach Todd’s everlasting devotion is that his swimmers realize and achieve whatever particular goals they set for themselves; and they find personal success and satisfaction in knowing they made the effort to do the best of which they are capable according to their own level of competency.


  • Helped make AZOT a USA Swimming Gold Medal team for 5 years 2013 to 2017.
  • 2017/2018 National Junior Team Coaches List
  • Qualified 1 swimmer for 2012 US Olympic Trials
  • Qualified 3 swimmers for 2016 US Olympic Trials
  • Coached National Age Group Record holder
  • Coached 3 relay teams to National Age Group Records
  • Coached 5 relays and 7 Individuals to Southern California Records
  • 3 Swimmers at National Select Camp
  • 1 Swimmer at National Diversity Camp


  • Olympic Trials qualified & finished top 16 3 times 1984, 1988, 1992
  • USA Nationals Qualified 9 years best finish 4th place 400 IM
  • Full Scholarship University of Arizona 1984 -1988
  • NCAA All American 1987
  • USA Junior National Team 1984-1985
  • Ranked top 15 in the USA and top 25 in the world 1984-1988 and 1991-1992
  • Age Group National Record Holder 13/14 boys 500 free
  • Member US National Lifeguard Team 1990
  • High School Swimming 1st in Nation 200 IM 1984
  • Athletes Rep. Southern California USA Swimming 3 years 1996 to 1998


Meredith Tichy

Coach - Zot 1,2,3 Irvine


Coach Meredith's "Mer" primary goal is to share her passion for swimming by helping her swimmers build a strong foundation in the sport and to help them become respectful, strong and confident individuals!  She chose to coach because she wants to inspire others. 

Mer’s own swim journey started when she was 9 years old!  Her age group training paved the way onto the varsity swim team at Yucca Valley High School and then to the California Baptist University Swim Team where she was recruited as a scholarship athlete. At CBU she earned the All American Swimmer Award in the 100 yard backstroke (2011) and was a member of two NAIA National Championship swim teams (2010 and 2011).  After earning she earned her BA in Communication Studies from California Baptist University and MBA from Everest University, she continued to train and compete as a Masters Swimmer in open water events. 

Mer’s favorite memories revolve around her high school swim experiences with her teammates and friends.  When times were hard, swim practice made life better. Being able to surround herself with positive friends brought more life out of her and she wants her swimmers to have the same experience. 

Outside of swimming, Mer loves a range of activities from hot yoga to running, rock climbing and competing in Spartan mud races.  However, her most favorite thing to do is to spend time with her 3 year old son Honza.

Coach Mer’s favorite quote - “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift”.

Vanessa Manalastas

Coach - Azot 2 Irvine


An Aquazot Alumna, Coach Vanessa has been active in the sport of swimming since she was a child starting out as an age group swimmer for Head Coach Brian Pajer.  After graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, she returned to the pool and earned an Infant Toddler Instructor Education Program certificate from the United States Swim School Association.  She transitioned back into age group swimming and was recruited to join the Aquazot Coaching staff in 2013.  In 2017 Vanessa joined the JSerra High School coaching staff where she currently leads the freshman/sophomore swim program. 

Combining the knowledge she obtained through the certification program, her years as an age group swimmer and high school coach, Vanessa delivers effective instruction and training to children with a wide range of personalities and learning styles.  This is reflected in her ability to help most of her AZOT 2 swimmers achieve Blue, WAG, JAG and JO times. 

In her free time Vanessa enjoys swimming, surfing, and spending time with her husband and friends.

Kendall Brown

Coach - Azot 1 Irvine


Coach Kendall’s goal is to give back to the sport of swimming by encouraging as many kids as possible to find the lifelong benefits of swimming as well as the competitive and collegiate opportunities it provides. "This isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle!"  She wants to instill in her swimmers a desire to improve and to appreciate the benefits of swimming.  She believes that swimming keeps kids healthy and focused and trains them to be great students in and out of the water. 

Kendall is an accomplished swimmer in her own right with an impressive 20 years of experience. She attended Laguna Hills High School where she won three Seaview League Championship events and helped her team win the Seaview League Championship. Kendall was a finalist in both the 500 free and 100 fly at the 2011 Division 1 CIF SS. An Aquazot Alumna, she trained under Coach Brian Pajer where she qualified for the 400 IM and 200 Butterfly at the 2012 Olympic Trials. She was also the back-to-back point scorer at CA/NV Sectionals in 2012 and 2013. 

Kendall was recruited to swim at Northern Arizona University and contributed to 3 Western Athletic Conference Championship Teams.  While at NAU she won 3 Gold medals in the 1650 Freestyle, gold in the 500 free (2016), 3 silver medals and 1 bronze in the 400 IM, and a silver medal in the 500 (2015). She has broken pool and school records and is among the top 5 times in four events at NAU.

Kendall graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Strategic Communications in Public Relations and Advertising with a Minor in Cultural Anthropology.  When she’s not in the water she loves going to the beach, surfing, sketching, sailing, and hiking.

Coach Kendall's favorite quote - “Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Gabriel Phillips

Coach - Senior 1,2,3 Irvine


Coach Gabe brings a wide range of experience as the Coach of the Senior 1, 2 and 3 groups.  An accomplished age group and high school swimmer, Gabe started his collegiate swimming career at Wayland Baptist University and Concordia University in Irvine where he received a BS in Biology.  He competed in multiple NAIA Championships placing in the top 8 in 100 Butterfly, 100 Backstroke and 100 Freestyle. 

Along the way, Gabe developed as a coach working with teams in Texas and Southern California.  His goal is to instill in his swimmers an ethic of hard work through the N.E.G.U. (Never, Ever, Give Up) principles.  He enjoys sharing his swimming experiences (both failures and success) and passing on to his swimmers the wisdom he has gained through his own journey in and out of the pool.

Gabe’s passions and hobbies include reading about history and philosophy of science, science journals, and tinkering with science research. He also goes on hikes and small road trips, enjoying the natural gifts California has to offer!

Coach Gabe’s favorite quote – "The only moments I look to are those yet to come. The present and what I will accomplish are the best moments life has to offer. The past is just a memory of what I was and will always remain that."

Rian Wise

Head Developmental Coach - Zot 1,2,3