Coaches and Directors

Coaches and Directors
Coaching Staff
Richard Romero Head Swim Coach

Our  Head Coach/Swim Team Director Richard Romero has been leading the Herndon Aquatic Club (HAC) Swim Team at Herndon Community Center in Herndon Va for the past 2 years.

Romero, “Coach Rich,” is responsible for the overall management of the Herndon Aquatic Club training swimmers and supervising the coaching staff.  His coaching experience has made him a tremendous asset to the team. This is Coach Rich's second full year with Herndon Aquatic Club and Herndon Community Center.

With more than 25 years of swim coach experience and 27 years experience in aquatic administration, Coach Rich has experience coaching for all the swimming levels from Novice swimmers to College levels including Master swim, National swimmers and Water Polo programs.  Coach Rich built and coached swim teams in Puerto Rico for 11 years, coached in New Jersey for 12 years.

Coach Rich started swimming lessons at 5 years old and his competitive swimming career at age seven, participating through his college years. He was a member of the Puerto Rican Swim Team and Water Polo Team, representing his country in international swim meets and water polo tournaments, including Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships and Caribbean Island Swimming Championships.

Coach Rich has extensive experience both as a USA and YMCA swimming coach, and is an Olympic trial qualifying coach.  His coaching philosophy is "good technique builds great swimmers"  and this has held to be true for a lot of his swimmers participating in Sectional championships, National championships, and Olympics trials. 

At the moment, after 2 years building HAC, already we have several young swimmers qualifing to Junior Olympics and Zone championship and several 14 and older qualifing for Sectionals, TYR Pro Series, Junior Nationals, Winter Nationals, Speedo Nationals, Open water Championship, Futures Championship.

Next Olympics trials... Go HAC!

Brittany Kartchner Assistant Coach

Coach Brittany is joining the Herndon Aquatics Club Commanders as the Assistant Head Coach.  She is coming to the team with 14 years of experience working with people of all ages and especially enjoys coaching age group children.  Brittany's mom taught her to swim at the age of five and began competing at 10 years old with the Aquia Harbour Dolphins in Stafford, VA.  From there, she joined the Quantico Devil Dolphins (QDD) and then swam varsity for Brooke Point High School.  It wasn't until Brittany left for college and swam for the University of Bridgeport that she truly understood the dynamics and stroke mechanics of swimming.  Brittany further cemented her love of the sport while swimming with the University of Bridgeport and saw man personal improvements and time drops.  After college,  Brittany began coaching for Occoquan Swimming working with the age group children and a few years later moved to Mason Makos Swimming. 

 Brittany took about 4 years off from competitive coaching to work overseas and found she terribly missed being around water and working with children.  It is now with the Herndon Commanders she can continue growing her passion of swimming and hopefully pass that love onto the swimmers.  Go Commanders!

Sheila Houle Assistant Coach - AGP PM

Originally from Upstate New York, Sheila moved to Herndon in the fall of 2017 and not long after started with the Herndon Commanders .  Sheila currently works at the Virginia Tech Marion duPont Equine Medical Center as a Lab Specialist and Client Coordinator.   Her background in swimming began when she started swimming for the Glens Falls High School swim team, earning a top spot in the medley relay specializing in backstroke.  Sheila continued her successful swimming career by taking command of other strokes like the butterfly and contributed to breaking a 15-year old high school record in the 200 free relay.  Upon graduating high school Sheila set aside the more competitive aspects of swimming to focus on completing her degree in Biology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  Prior to moving Sheila worked as a Lab Manager for the Neural Stem Cell Institute and in tandem, part-time, for the Delmar Dolfins Swim Club for almost 8 years .   Sheila is excited to be working with the AGP PM group and hopes that her experience working with varying age groups alike will flourish swimmers on deck and in the water.  She has found a real niche in the swimming community and would like to share her interest with others.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their three cats and dog going on adventures.

Kathy McLaughlin Senior Prep PM and Master Swim Coach

Coach McLaughlin is a graduate from Syracuse University where she swam on a swimming scholarship for 4 years. She currently teaches 9th grade PE/Health at Herndon High School.  She is also in her 11 years as Head Coach of the Herndon High School Swim/Dive Team.  She has been coaching over 30 years. She has coached many years for Solatar Swim team and HAC.  She was also the head coach of the Kingstream Kahunas summer league program for 17 years. She currently coaches the HAC Senior prep group, 3 nights from 8:30 to 9:30 and is the Mastersswim coach.

Summer Lui Assistant Coach

Hi parents and students, as a certified American Red Cross swim instructor, helping children to stay safe in, on and around water is capital and rewarding. I have experience with ages 6 months to adult. I assisted my coach and taught other children learn how to swim for 5 years. In addition to that, my 6 year experience in the medical field has prepared me to be patient, organized and self-sufficient. I understand the importance of children’s physical, social and emotional developments have implications for their swimming lessons. Every learner needs a helpful friend and an instructor who will motivate and encourage them!


Melody Walter Assistant Coach

Passionate about swimming, fitness, and children; Coach Melody is excited to be part of the Herndon Aquatics Club (HAC) as a swim coach currently and for the past 2 years. Born and raised in Colorado, Melody found her love for swimming, fitness, and working with children. As a competitive student athlete, Melody ran varsity track and swam varsity throughout high school as well as continuing to compete in amateur swim and running events as an adult while living in Colorado. Health and fitness continued to be an important value in Melody’s life which led to her earlier profession as a personal trainer (NASM), catering to adult and child athletes for over eleven years.

In 2013 Melody moved with her family to California where she continued to work with children as a nursery director and later a teacher. While in California, Melody was excited to influence and share her passion for swimming with her then five year old son, Jaydon, who swam for a competitive swim club there and is currently swimming for the Herndon Aquatic Club today.

Melody and her family have just recently moved to Virginia and she is overjoyed that she has finally found the perfect opportunity to join her passion for swimming and fitness with mentoring children as a HAC coach.   

Betty Cook Assistant Coach

Betty was an age group swimmer and worked in aquatics through college. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from William and Mary, she began teaching and later practiced law. Her children brought her back to aquatics as a volunteer manager for summer swim team in the early 2000s. She began teaching swimming again in 2006. She has taught all ages, infant through adult, and taught individuals with learning and physical differences. Betty became an Instructor Trainer in 2015. She has led a variety of training and planned swim lesson curriculum, as well as served in other aquatic professional positions. Betty began coaching with HAC in 2019 and enjoys applying her knowledge of stroke analysis and correction in her coaching role. 

Coach Betty have been a great coach and we are happy to having her in our coaching staff.

Morgan Fries Assistant Coach
Board of Directors
Richard Romero Head Swim Coach