August 4, 2013
Kevin Lai returns to Orinda Aquatics after five years coaching abroad in Asia and one year in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Kevin was a former nationally ranked swimmer and coach for Orinda Aquatics and is very excited to be back home. Kevin’s local career included Sleepy Hollow, MCC, MVP, Campolindo and Miramonte High School. Kevin was very impactful in all of these programs.
In Asia, Kevin was the Head Age-Group Coach for the Hong Kong Island Stingrays, a highly competitive team of over 500 swimmers. Over the span of two years the age-group program had a consistent flow of swimmers competing in the top divisions of Hong Kong Swimming and at Hong Kong Nationals.
Kevin then traveled to Phuket, Thailand to accept a job as the Head Coach of the Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club Silverfinz. Thanyapura was a brand new state-of-the art sports club with designs on starting a competitive year round swimming program. In two years, Kevin built the club from less than twenty casual members to a team with over eighty serious student-athletes from all around the world. His swimmers qualified and competed in high level competitions such as Singapore Nationals, Malaysian Nationals, Northern Thailand Championship and Thailand National Championships. In his tenure, Kevin also had swimmers qualify for exclusive sports scholarships to some of the top Schools in UK and Australia.
In 2012, Kevin and his wife, Sophie decided to move back to the United States and accepted a job as the Head Age-Group Coach for the Ridgefield Aquatic Club (RAC). Over the span of a year Kevin built the age-group program into the best in Connecticut with four swimmers from the program qualifying for “Super-Sectionals”, multiple individual and relay state records, over twenty National Top Ten times and also coached a National Record breaking swim in the 11-12 boys division.
As an athlete, Kevin held numerous national top ten rankings and was one of the original swimmers on Orinda Aquatics. Kevin is very excited to be back at his “home” club and hopes to help the team in any capacity needed.
Sophie Lai is the newest addition to the Orinda Aquatics staff and brings a wealth of international swimming experience and knowledge to the club.
Originally from Sweden, Sophie was the Swedish Junior National Champion in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke. She was also a member of the Junior National Team which traveled all throughout Europe for training camps and competitions.
After her swimming career, Sophie became the age-group Coach for Neptune Swim Team in Stockholm, Sweden. She developed swimmers who competed in Swedish Regional Championships and Swedish National Age-Group Championships.
Sophie then moved to Thailand and accepted the position of Head Age-Group Coach for the Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club Silverfinz. She grew the age-group program to over fifty swimmers who competed in competitions throughout Asia.
Sophie then moved with Kevin to Ridgefield Aquatic Club and was hired as an age-group coach for the developmental program at RAC. In her short time at RAC, she was a very positive influence on the swimmers and provided great technical background to the age-group program.
Sophie is very excited to be a part of the OA family and she is looking forward to her new life in sunny California!