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Meraquas of Irvine Coaching Staff PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sabine Heidel   
Thursday, 03 June 2010

Candy Hipp

Head Coach Candy Hipp has coached the Meraquas Junior Team to the National Championship, is a 1982 United States Junior Team Champion, a Senior National Finalist, and a gold medalist in Masters Competition ages 35-39 Team, Duet, and Trio.

To contact Candy Hipp: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it or 949/903-6512

Kay Burton

Kay has an extensive background in Synchronized Swimming. She swam for Glendale YMCA in her teens after competing in the Los Angeles City Parks program. In 1982 Kay started coaching for Meraquas of Irvine and has periodically consulted with San Dieguito Synchro and L.A. Synchro. She has been a presenter at Coaches College and a clinician at Age Group Nationals.

She is currently the Education Chair for the Southern California Association and is a Level 2 Figures judge.

Before coaching synchronized swimming, Kay taught swimming for the L.A. Unified School District and the West Valley YMCA.

At age 8, Kay started studying ballet at the Rozanne Zimmerman Ballet school and continues to enjoy dancing. In addition to being a fully certified Pilates instructor, she is a certified instructor of GYROTONICÒ and GYROKINESISÒ. She was a conditioning teacher at Maple Conservatory of Dance 2008-2012.

Prior to coaching synchronized swimming she earned her J.D. and worked for several firms after passing the bar in 1979.


Jared Gray

Jared Gray focuses on speed swimming technique and conditioning for The Meraquas of Irvine.  He is an experienced trainer, having coached and played water polo since 2004.  In addition to his work with The Meraquas, he currently coaches water polo or both the Irvine Kahuna Club and Woodbridge High School.  Jared is a graduate of Bucknell University where he studied Business Administration and played water polo. 


Tiffany Harless

Coach Tiffany Harless has 8 years of coaching experience and is currently coaching our 10 & under team.  She swam for Laguna Hills High School and the UC Irvine Masters team. Currently she is training for a triathlon.


Irene Hawes

I am a former synchronized swimmer who swam for the Buffalo Swimkins, the Huntington Beach Aquabelles and The Ohio State University.  While at The Ohio State University, I earned 3 National Championships. 

My coaching career began in the late 70’s during the summer’s when I was home from college with the Huntington Beach Aquabelles and during my senior year at The Ohio State University.  After College, I continued to coach for the Huntington Beach Aquabelles as their head coach, then Long Beach Synchronettes as head coach, a one-year stint at the Meraquas of Irvine as head coach in 1988.  I returned to coaching after a 13-year layoff and coached for the Riverside AQuettes and then with the Meraquas of Irvine after a 3 year layoff. 

I have help coach numerous AG National Finalists, AG National Champions, a Junior National Figure Champion, Junior National finalists and numerous athletes who swam on National Teams.  Four athletes I helped coach went onto Olympic Teams for the US and Canada. 

Judging has been a part of my life since I was 16.  I became an Association Level judge at 16 and a Regional Judge at 17.  While at The Ohio State University, a new Zone Level Judge was created and I became a Zone Judge.  At the age of 21 I began the two-year process of obtaining my National Rating.  In 1996 I was named to the FINA (International) Judges list effective 1997.  In 2004 I achieved the A Level rating, which allows me to Judge at all World Championships and the Olympics.  I have judged at the Beijing Olympic Qualifier and the London Olympic Qualifier.

All of this was done since 1981 while attending Law School and working full time, getting married and having 2 kids.  I currently work full time for the Automobile Club of Southern California, working in excess of 40 hours a week while coaching 13 hours a week.    


Hailey Hipp

Hailey Hipp teaches our class members. Hailey Hipp is a  former team members of the Southern California Coralettes and The Meraquas of Irvine. She competed in the US-Open and on National Age Group Level.


 Shannon Kelly Jones

As a swimmer, Shannon competed for RAQ at the National level and earned many National age group titles. As a coach, she has been tremendously successful in developing the skills of young athletes to follow in her footsteps. She also competes in Masters, with the Unsynchables of La Mirada, where her team took the high point award and National title in 2010 and 2011. Shannon still performs and has appeared as a synchro swimmer in several music videos, commercials, and most recently she worked on the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger tides, as a coach/choreographer for the mermaids. We are very happy to have her coaching with us.


Valerie Williams

Coach Valerie Williams became involved in the sport about 8 years ago. Unable to return to competition because of an injury, she began coaching for Los Angeles Synchro during her freshman year of college. In the past five years she has primarily focused on the Meraquas  of Irvine 12 & under age group swimmers and intermediate swimmers and has been to Age Group Nationals three times.

Last Updated ( Friday, 09 January 2015 )
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