I believe Coach Michael Collins from the Irvine Novaquatics deserves the SPMA Coach of the Year award  for 2001.

Michael Collins joined our team as the Masters’ Coach in November of 2000.  In only 8 months the team has doubled in members. He has turned the  program into a fun and efficient way to workout, and led  the Novaquatics to win its first SPMA Regional Championship ever.

Triathletes, competitive swimmers, and people that just want to get in shape, have all found a place in the program. Coach Mike always seems to have time to coach everyone’s needs in the pool.

As a retired competitive swimmer, who would do anything but swimming to stay in shape, I am now excited about swimming again.  I feel that Coach Mike uses unique ways of motivating and helping his swimmers give the best of themselves in order to reach their goals, and the goals of the team.  

Included are a list of accomplishments and what people are saying about the Irvine Novaquatics program and coach Michael Collins. 



Gabriela Hickman



Michael Collins -  Irvine novaquatics

2001 Accomplishments:


Club size:

Began coaching the team in November of 2000. Doubled the number of registered USMS swimmers from 75 in 2000, to over 150 in 2001.

Team moral and workout atmosphere seems to be at an all-time high.

Participation in SPMA & USMS events has increased significantly.


Competition Results:

USMS Hour Swim Postal Championship - 30 participants. 6th in Medium Team Division.


USMS 3,000 & 6,000 Postal Championships – 30 participants.

3000 Team Scores: 1st in Men’s, 2nd in Women’s & Combined

Broke 4 USMS National Records (1 individual & 3 relays)


SPMA SC Regionals - 2nd place overall (1st place team from SPMA).

25 participants


SPMA LC Regionals - 1st place overall. 29 participants


SPMA SCM Regionals – 3rd place overall. (1st place team from SPMA)

24 participants


Contributions to USMS/SPMA:

Hosted SPMA SC Championships. The best run Masters meet in SPMA for quite some time.

Offered Stroke Improvement Clinic Series for Masters in the winter.

Regularly attends SPMA Committee Meetings




As a Triathlete, I want to thank you for the tremendous enthusiasm and expertise you bring to the Nova Masters Program.  I have swum with Nova for the past 12 yrs., and this is as good as it has ever been.  The technical advise and non-boring workouts, have made it enjoyable to swim 4 days a week in the pool.  With the increased yardage I have produced some great early season swims, like a 31:01 swim(1.5 miles) at the “Escape from Alcatraz”, third out of the water in my wave in San Jose Int’l, and second in San Diego.  Also, I might add, Mike  encouraged me to swim in my first swim meet in 30 yrs., where I had the awesome experience to see my High School swimming coach, Lee Arth, plus had a fun time competing.

Dan Neyenhuis, 63


Before coming to NOVA I could barely swim on lap in a pool, but now my technique has improved to the point where I just completed a ½-Ironman and the swim portion was without wetsuits...

David Nicholls


I push myself harder at workouts when swimming with Novas than when I do lap swim on my own.  Having Coach Mike give the workouts makes sure I get in the yardage.  Having other swimmers my speed to race, makes me try to swim fast.

Mike Hsi


Venturing over to speak with that Masters coach was the greatest infusion of adrenaline into my swimming career. The workouts at Masters practice are spiced with variety, creating a curiosity and desire to return to the pool rather than become bored with the same old self-constructed workout found in lap swimming. I’m hooked on Novas!!!

Denise Berger


I was a “beginner” swimmer finishing in the last 1/3 of triathlon swims. Now I finish in top ½ due to the coaching, stroke analysis and focus on technique.  Although it is a large group, I always feel that I get individual attention. I drive from Redondo Beach 2-3 days a week to swim with the Novas because of the coaching style and environment.

Judy Pitman




More quotes:


A fresh approach to swim workouts. Very creative! Each with a purpose and fun. I can see why my friends have been improving their swim.

Bill Leach



Being in the Nova Masters Program has been beneficial to my swimming workouts.  Not only has it helped improve my stroke, but I feel it is making me a stronger swimmer.  Having a coach giving specified workouts, having the ability to ask technique questions throughout the workout, and the camaraderie of the swimmers are just a few reasons I benefit from being part of Masters.  Not only do we have a well respected and talented coach who helps with swim technique and continues to give beneficial workouts daily, but the members of Nova Masters are also very friendly and helpful to their fellow swimmers. One other benefit from being affiliated with Nova Masters is receiving e-mails on upcoming events, information, etc.

Marcia Z.



I trimmed 5 minutes off my 0.5 mile time and 8 minutes off my 1500 M times in triathlons with only six months of swimming with Nova coaches.

R.J. Kern



I first joined NOVA Masters 9 years ago to get back into shape after many years of doing very little physical exercise.  About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with cancer to my head-neck region and after many radiation treatments and surgeries, the NOVA program took on a whole new meaning.  It afforded me the opportunity to build up strength and a sense of wholeness after radiation and radical surgery to my neck, however, my “physical therapy “ sessions at 6 AM in the pool have now evolved into friendships, great exercise and a sense of well being that I treasure and look forward to.

Ellena Peterson