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 3 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 third 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 3 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!

Kathy McLaughlin High School Lead 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.

Sheila Houle 12 and under Lead Coach

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.

Jason Porter Coach

Coach Jason is returning to Herndon Aquatic Club.  Jason has been involved with USA Swimming since the age of 10 starting with Heartland Swim Association in San Diego dating back to 1981.   He has coached at all levels to include eight and under, age group, senior level swimmers and master’s programs dating back to 1988.   Jason has worked with two Olympic level swimmers Kate Ziegler (HAC) and Inge de Bruijn (Solotar).    

My experience in Potomac Valley Swimming started in 1994 working with Ashburn Village Swim Team, Solotar Swim Club, and the Herndon Aquatic Club.  I’ve coached summer league teams; Hiddenbrook Swim Team and High School swimming at Potomac Falls finishing first in our District our first year.  He has been selected as a PVS Zones coach on three different occasions and presented at the ASCA coaching conference on new techniques for stroke development.  

Jason is very excited at the opportunity to share my knowledge, experience and give back to the sport by coaching athletes who are looking to grow and excel in the sport of swimming. 

Amy Ruhlin Coach
Board of Directors
Richard Romero Head Swim Coach