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 decades, 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 (14), Cooper (11), and Brody (8). When he is not coaching, he enjoys spending time with the family and attending Warrior games.


 Assistant Coach Kriste Johnson…….…………….…………                                     ………………          

Kriste is a Marin native and grew up in Mill Valley. Her love for swimming started at a very young age—She started swimming competitively at the age of 8 with a USA swim team. Her local swim career includes Scott Valley, Marin Pirates, Tam High School and College of Marin.

After graduating from college at Chico State University, she focused her swim career on teaching and private instruction for kids and adults in her community, both in Marin and in Boulder and Denver, Colorado. In Marin,  Kriste coached the Redwood High School girls team and in Denver, she created, implemented and ran a swim program for kids age 6 all the way up to adults. Her experience also includes coaching women for the swim part of triathlons, both in the pool and in the open water.

Kriste brings more than 20 years of coaching and teaching experience to the LVST and is thrilled to be back on deck doing what she loves - coaching!