Coaching Staff

Head Coach Mike Merrell

Mike Merrell joined the Lightning in 2016.  Mike's history as an international championship swimmer, combined with his real-world experience and terrific coaching attitude, make him a vital part of the Lightning family.

Mike originally hails from Charlotte, NC.  He was a 7-time All-American at the University of Southern California, where he holds top ten times in both the 100 and 200 Fly. In fact, his USC record in the 200 Fly stood for two deades, falling only in 2015.  Mike competed twice in the Olympic Trials, in 1992 and 1996.  He placed 3rd in 1992, missing an Olympic berth by just 0.02 seconds!  Mike also competed--and medaled--at the Pan Am Games, the Pan Pacific Games, and the Summer Universiade Games.  You can read more about Mike’s stellar swimming history at his Wikipedia page:

After a successful tenure in commercial real estate, Mike left the corporate world to follow his passion for swimming.  He was most recently the Assistant Coach with the Sleepy Hollow Sea Lions.

Mike sums up his approach this way:  "I believe that having fun and keeping a good mindset will help kids swim fast.  Starting with the youngest swimmers, I want to instill great technique and the joy of swimming so they can grow to be confident and strong swimmers.  I believe that the team is a big family, and will strive to instill that in every swimmer so it becomes a permanent staple for the community.  Practices will be challenging, but will still be fun!"

Mike is married to Erika, and they have three boys--Chase (11), Cooper (8), and Brody (5).  When he is not coaching, he enjoys spending time with the family and attending Warrior games.


Assistant Coach Kelsey O'Dea

Kelsey rejoins the Marin Swim League for her 8th year coaching in the MSL. She previously coached the Lucas Valley Lightning as well as the Strawberry Seals.  Kelsey also coached for Sequoia Aquatics US Swim team in Lucas Valley. Kelsey is an ASCA certified coach.

Kelsey is excited to be back at the pool where she grew up swimming. She has many fond memories of her coaches and the way they postively impacted her life at Lucas Valley.  She is excited to help contribute to a swim community that she knows to be close-knit, caring, and strong. She is also looking forward to her daughter Taylor joining the LVST community.

Kelsey swam and played waterpolo into college. She currently enjoys swimming Masters with the Swymnuts. When she is not coaching you can find her spending time outdoors with her daughter, reading, hiking, running, and enjoying the movies.

Kelsey has a passion for fitness. She believes that we can never underestimate the power of what physical movement can do for the mind; it can provide an outlet for stress, improve concentration, and build confidence in all areas of life. One of the best things about learning how to swim is that it’s a sport you can do for life!

Kelsey believes that swimming provides numerous benefits to a child. It provides a place for children to be safe and healthy outdoors. Children can be a part of a community of people who care about their well-being. The child is able to work with a group of coaches who provide valuable technical instruction and help build physical and mental strength in partnership with the child. A swim team provides a place where a child can have fun and be social. She is so excited to be a part of LVST again. Go Lightning!