SwimNation Aquatics SNAP! 

Competitive Swimming, Water Polo, AND Water Safety Programs! 

Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Steven Riches Head Coach/Director of Aquatics

Coach Riches has been a resident of Irvine since 1976. He swam competitively and played water polo in high school. Steve has been a certified lifeguard, swimming instructor and swim coach since 1969. He served as the Aquatic Director for the Conejo Valley YMCA in Ventura County, and formed their Dolphin Swim Team, also serving as their Head Coach. Steve also developed aquatic programs for the Saddleback Valley YMCA here in Orange County, and lead their 'Learn-to-Swim' program. Steve also worked as an SCAF high school and NCAA swimming and water polo referee. Steve has been the Head Coach of the Irvine Swim League (ISL) Courtside Stingrays for nine years. He was previosuly a member of the boys and girls swim coaching  staff at Northwood High School in Irvine, Ca.

Coach Riches has a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and is currently a member of the Boys and Girls swim coaching staff at Portola High School, in Irvine, Ca.

CERTIFICATIONS:
2012 Irvine Swim League (ISL) "Coach of the Year"
USA Swimming Coach Member
American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) Coach Member
ARC First Aid/CPR/AED For the Professional Responder
ARC Safety Training for Swim Coaches
ARC Certified Lifeguard
ARC Certified Lifeguard Instructor/Trainer
ARC Water Safety Instructor (WSI)
American Red Cross Authorized Provider - Learn-to-Swim Program

Mark Alvarado Head Coach-SNAP Water Polo

Coach Alvarado was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. A natural swimmer, he swam competitively for most of his life and started to play water polo in 7th grade. Coach Alvarado continued to play water polo into high school, attending St. Ignatius College Prep, where his passion for the sport grew exponentially. He was named Illinois State Player of the Year in 2011 and helped win his team two state trophies: 3rd place in 2010 and 2nd place in 2011.

Coach Alvarado attended Chapman University to play water polo and study Mathematics. While at Chapman, he earned Water Polo All-American honors for three season, second-team All-SCIAC honors his junior year, and first-team All-SCIAC in Water Polo his senior year. Coach Alvarado has been the Assistant Varsity Coach for Portola High School’s boys’ water polo team since 2019. When Coach Mark is not on the pool deck, he can be found lifting at the gym or playing video games on his Xbox.

Coach Alvarado has a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics from Chapman University and is a USA Water Polo certified coach.

CERTIFICATIONS:
USA Water Polo Coach Member
ARC First Aid/CPR/AED 
ARC Safety Training for Swim Coaches

Hannah McIlrath Senior Coach-SNAP Swim

Coach McIlrath played water polo and swam for Northwood High School, and is an avid softball player. Hannah attended Saddleback College, where she was a member of their swim team and water polo team. Hannah is also a certified lifeguard and swim instructor at the Mission Viejo YMCA. She has been the Assistant Head Coach for the Irvine Swim League's "Stingrays" swim team for three years and she has been a coach for the Stingrays for six years. Coach McIlrath is also a member of the coaching staff of the Portola High School Boys and Girls Swim Team.

Coach McIlrath has a Bachelors Degree in Communications from Cal State Fullerton, and is a USA Swimming certified coach.

CERTIFICATIONS:
ARC First Aid/CPR/AED
ARC Safety Training for Swim Coaches
ARC Certified Lifeguard
USA Swimming Coach Member
USA Swimming Safe Sport Representative

Kathryn Avery Senior Coach-SNAP Water Polo

Originally from Northern California, Coach Avery swam competitively from age 6 until she was 18, and graduated from high school. She played water polo at Division 1,  Acalanes High School, in Lafayette before committing to Chapman University to study education and play water polo for coach Eric Ploessel. Her senior year at Chapman she was Team Captain and earned 2 nd -Team All SCIAC for her defense. She also set two school records for most career assists and steals.

Coach Avery has been the head coach for Portola High School’s boys and girls water polo teams for five years. She is also an English teacher at Portola High School! When she’s not in the classroom or on the pool deck, Coach Avery can be found binge-reading the next book on her “To Be Read” list or binge-watching  Harry Potter  movies. She is excited to join the SNAP! Aquatics coaching staff!!

Coach Avery has a Masters Degree in Education from Chapman University and is a USA Water Polo certified coach.

CERTIFICATIONS:
USA Water Polo Coach Member
ARC First Aid/CPR/AED 
ARC Safety Training for Swim Coaches

Madison Choi Assistant Water Polo Coach

Maddie Choi attended Northwood High School and played Varsity water polo as well as being a member of the Northwood HS Swim Team. After graduation, Maddie attended Sonoma State for a year and played club water polo. She then transferred back to Saddleback College and was a member of their Water Polo and Swimming Teams. Maddie served as team captain for both programs at Saddleback College. Since 2017, Maddie has been the Northwood High School Head Frosh/Soph Water Polo Coach, and has managed their summer Frosh/Soph Water Polo program.

Maddie is currently completing her degree at Cal State Long Beach, majoring in Exercise Science.

 

 

CERTIFICATIONS:
USA Water Polo Coach Member
ARC First Aid/CPR/AED 
ARC Safety Training for Swim Coaches

Veronica Heidke Assistant Water Polo Coach

Veronica played water polo and swam for Irvine High School, and is currenty attending Santa Barbara City College, where she was a member of their water polo team. Veronica is also a certified lifeguard and certified swim instructor. Veronica is a member of our Learn-To-Swim staff, and an assistant waterpolo coach.

CERTIFICATIONS:
ARC First Aid/CPR/AED
ARC Safety Training for Swim Coaches
ARC Certified Water Safety Instructor
ARC Certified Lifeguard

Mae Altarac Assistant Swim Coach

Mae started with SwimNation Aquatics as a Learn-to-Swim Instructor, but transitioned into our competitive swimming coach staff. She swam competitively in high school and is currently one of our junior age group coaches. Mae is a certified USA Swimming coach.

CERTIFICATIONS:
ARC First Aid/CPR/AED
ARC Safety Training for Swim Coaches
USA Swimming Certified Coach

 

Yoav Weber Assistant Swim Coach

Coach Weber was a varsity swimmer for Woodbridge High School and has been a club swimmer for years. Along with coachiing and teaching swimming at SNAP!, he is also a certified State of California lifeguard, working at Crystal Cove State Beach. Coach Weber is also on the coaching staff of the Portola High School boys and girls swimming team.

CERTIFICATIONS:
ARC First Aid/CPR/AED
ARC Safety Training for Swim Coaches
CA State Certified Lifeguard

Zoe Altarac Learn-to-Swim Instructor
Jennifer Clancey Learn-to-Swim Instructor
Alexander Phipps Learn-to-Swim Instructor
Finn Sapeta Learn-to-Swim Instructor
Yat Long Alfy Wong Learn-to-Swim Instructor
Board of Directors